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NAHT comment on new Ofsted short inspection system

Ofsted has today decided to press ahead with its plans for changes to short inspections despite a lack of support from school leaders and inspectors.

Less than half (46%) of head teachers are in favour of Ofsted’s proposed changes, whilst 25% of Ofsted’s own inspectors have also expressed concern at the proposals.

Ofsted’s message is that the new short inspection process will be ‘a more supportive and collaborative approach’ but NAHT believes that the proposals will be anything but.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, which represents leaders in the majority of schools in England said: “It is deeply disappointing that Ofsted has chosen to press ahead when so many senior voices in education are clearly sceptical about their plans. NAHT has consistently argued against these proposals and we will continue to make our reservations clear. It is highly unlikely that this new approach would have the positive impact that Ofsted claims.

“If, after a one day visit, inspectors are not able to determine that a school is still ‘Good’, they will now mark it out for re-inspection. This could be up to three years later - an unacceptably long delay. A cloud of uncertainty will linger over the school until Ofsted can arrange a return. At present Ofsted cannot guarantee how long schools will have to wait. No matter how the interim verdict is communicated, parents will be uncertain that their children’s school is still good. The uncertainty about the quality of education provided could become the single biggest barrier to improvement that the school in question will face.”

Mr Whiteman continued: “There are enough senior figures in education expressing reservations here to cause Ofsted to think again. Everyone in education agrees that inspection is necessary, but not like this. The inspectorate has a duty to provide clarity. Ofsted’s focus should be on getting inspection right the first time rather than putting schools and their communities through unnecessary and unhelpful periods of uncertainty.”

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

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