Ahead of Ofsted’s planned consultation, school leaders’ union NAHT believes the time has come to stop tinkering with school inspection and instead transform it to make it fairer and more accountable.
Russell Hobby, NAHT general secretary said: “Ofsted's legitimacy hangs in the balance. Schools can no longer learn effectively from its adversarial approach. The current model of inspection has reached the end of its useful life and now holds the education system back.
“The regime stifles innovation, provokes unnecessary bureaucracy and damages recruitment. Small changes will not be enough: we desperately need a brand new approach to emerge from the consultation. Inspection only has a future if it can work with schools to help them improve.
"Inspection should be part of the dialogue that sets a school onto the path of improvement. Currently schools are investigated, not inspected. School leaders are expected to prove there’s no wrong-doing, not to showcase excellence. The recent trend of no-notice inspections has to stop. Head teachers have a right and a need to be present during inspection and a small amount of notice is required to make this possible. At present the period of notice is only half a day: anything less risks making the inspection invalid. Inspection teams will have questions about data and school policies, and this requires the head's presence.
"NAHT also believes that Ofsted should stop investigating complaints against itself and use an independent body to adjudicate these. Ofsted has taken steps in recent years to reduce transparency and make complaining harder. This does not befit a public body and these steps should be reversed.
“NAHT’s Manifesto for Education contains positive suggestions for a new approach to inspection. We’d like to see a system of peer review, where school leaders lead rigorous and accredited reviews of other schools. Ofsted should be limited to intervening in cases of failure and to moderating these peer judgements.
“Ofsted has expanded its remit relentlessly. It does not see itself as just an inspector of standards, it is seeking to set policy, which is a task that should be reserved for elected officials. When we look back on this era, we will see that, far from delegating authority to schools, government has only delegated it to Ofsted. This massive, unwelcome and antagonistic over-reach creates a strong case for a complete rethink.
“NAHT urges all political parties to make a general election pledge to reform Ofsted.”
Link to the Ofsted report:http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/news/ofsted-consults-radical-changes-inspection-0?news=23533
You can read the NAHT manifesto for education in full here: http://bit.ly/1BLx3cZ
Page Published: 09/10/2014