Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “We are pleased to see that the government agrees with us that exemption from inspection for previously ‘outstanding’ schools should come to an end. All schools should be inspected on a regular and transparent cycle This was one of the nine recommendations of NAHT’s ‘Improving School Accountability’ report published in September 2018. NAHT has also recommended that the ‘outstanding’ judgement should be replaced with a more robust system for identifying excellence in schools.
“The important thing is that this policy is applied fairly to all currently exempt schools. Unfortunately, under the current proposals we will see a two-tier approach to schools that are currently exempt from inspection, so we will use the consultation to outline our reservations about this.
“The initial approach should be an inspection to check whether there are signs of decline, and only where problems are identified should a full inspection follow. This would mean that currently outstanding schools are treated in the same way as good schools.
“We already know that unnecessary workload and stress amongst school leaders is commonplace. Given the current problems in retaining school leaders, it would be counter-productive if improvements to the cycle of inspection meant that leaders in outstanding schools suddenly found themselves under unnecessary and unjustifiable pressure.
“We welcome the chance to share our views and knowledge in this consultation, so that we can help build an inspection system that is fair and reliable and commands the confidence of parents, leaders and policy-makers.”
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