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NAHT welcomes the government's proposal to end the exemption of outstanding schools from routine inspection

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NAHT has welcomed the proposal to end the exemption from inspection for outstanding schools, meaning that in future Ofsted will be required to inspect all schools on a transparent cycle of inspection. This meets one of the key recommendations of NAHT's Accountability Commission.

Members tell us that too often the outstanding label acts as a brake on development and impedes innovation. Parents are confused by reports for a school that may have been last inspected more than a decade ago, and exemption can act in combination with the high-stakes of inspection creating a barrier to recruitment.

Our response urges the Department for Education (DfE) to put fairness and prudence at the heart of inspection policy.  It calls for all formerly exempt schools, regardless of the length of time since their last inspection, to be reintegrated into the cycle of routine inspection through a section 8, rather than a section 5, inspection.

We also urge the DfE to take the opportunity to make further progress with inspection reform by removing the outstanding judgement altogether and replacing it with a more robust system for identifying specific excellence within individual schools - another key recommendation made by our Accountability Commission.

You can read our response below. 

First published 18 February 2020