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Structures, inspection and accountability


School leaders understand the need for public accountability. Parents, politicians and the wider public want to be sure that schools are doing their very best for the children they serve.

However, we also recognise that the current low-trust accountability system is based on a narrow range of measures that drive a range of perverse incentives and unintended consequences and that the current high-stakes inspection system all too often instils fear and stifles innovation. 

NAHT is committed to securing fairer methods and measures of accountability, so that pupils’ performance and school effectiveness are judged using a broad range of information, including the school's broader context and performance history, rather than a narrow focus on data.

Ensure published performance data are calculated and used fairly

  • Press the government to take action to ensure understanding across the sector of changes to primary progress data from 2020
  • Engage with the DfE to ensure that the reception baseline assessment is a valid baseline for progress 
  • Work with the DfE to ensure the methodology, publication and use of performance data is accurate, proportionate and appropriate.


Press for a transition from vertical high-stakes approach to accountability to a lateral system with greater ownership by the profession itself

  • Further develop, articulate and argue the case for a new approach to school accountability, building on NAHT's Commission, and working with other partners
  • Campaign against a hard accountability measure on exclusions
  • Make the case and lobby for a wholly independent complaints process for appeals against Ofsted inspection judgements
  • Lobby for the publication of all training materials for inspectors to ensure transparency and equity
  • Lobby Ofsted for greater transparency regarding the experience, skills and training of inspectors for specific phases and settings
  • Monitor members' experiences of the new inspection framework, holding Ofsted to account for the consistency, reliability and behaviour of inspectors, particularly around curriculum and the quality of education judgement.


Ensure any changes to school structures or systems benefit all pupils within a local community

  • Continue to oppose any form of forced academisation
  • Continue to oppose any expansion of grammar schools
  • Promote and advance local accountability, transparency and democracy in school structures and governance so that schools are best able to serve their wider local community
  • Make the case for centrally coordinated place planning to ensure all new school provision meets demand
  • Promote the full variety of school collaboration from Trusts to informal collaborations. 

Ofsted annual parents survey 2020 results

Ofsted has published the results of its annual parent survey, conducted by YouGov. 

The findings are also published in Ofsted's annual reports and accounts 2019 to 2020.  

The survey was carried out between the 12 and 25 February 2020, with 1,101 parents responding, of which 1,002 had a school-aged child and 99 had a pre-school aged child. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all parents in England by family, age of family reference person, social grade and region.​

Key findings

  • More than four-fifths (82%) of parents found the inspection report they read to be useful
    • NB: the report does not specify when they read the inspection report, an important point to note given the new style of the written report being produced since September 2019
  • Three-quarters (75%) of parents think the information that Ofsted provides is reliable
    • Of those who do not think the information is reliable, the top three most cited reasons are as follows:
      • The school or college is different during the inspection (55%, an increase from 51% in 2018)
      • Inspections are too short to provide a meaningful picture of the provider (53%, an increase from 52% in 2018)
      • Inspectors aren't looking at the right things (50%, an increase from 40% in 2018)
  • More than two-thirds (69%) of parents think that Ofsted is a valuable source of information about education in your local area
  • Almost two-thirds (65%) of parents think Ofsted's work helps to improve standards of education
  • More than half (63%) of parents think Ofsted provides a reliable measure of a school's quality
  • None of these measures has experienced a year-on-year change since the 2019 annual parents survey
  • Only a third (34%) of parents think that Ofsted acts independently of the government
  • More parents were likely to state they know a 'fair amount' in 2020 than in previous years, with 62% knowing 'a lot' or a 'fair amount'
  • Around seven in 10 parents have read an Ofsted report
  • 81% of parents found the report they read useful, which increases to 88% among parents who read a report from a recent inspection
    • NB: the report does not specify what is defined by a recent inspection
  • 80% of parents thought the report portrayed an accurate picture of the school, which increases to 83% among parents who read a report from a recent inspection
    • NB: the report does not specify what is defined by a recent inspection
  • Less than half (44%) of parents with school-aged children identified the Ofsted judgement as a decisive factor in choosing the school, in contrast to 59% indicating the proximity to their home as the decisive factor
  • Of the parents who had a child in a school that was inspected in the last six months, 65% said they had read the report
    • NB: the report does not provide the underlying data indicating how many parents surveyed had a child in a school that was inspected in the last six months
    • Less than half (43%) of these parents had the opportunity to provide feedback and did; 26% had the opportunity, but they chose not to provide feedback
    • 72% of all parents say they are likely to provide feedback at the next inspection
    • Parents are keen to retain their anonymity when providing feedback
    • Most parents would be happy to provide feedback outside of inspections, and they would like this to be shared with the school to help it improve.

Access the full summary here​.

First published 30 July 2020