Today (Tuesday 21 January), as Ofsted publishes its annual report, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“As in previous years, Ofsted reveals a picture of a system that we can be proud of, with 86 per cent of schools rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’. Nevertheless, the rising tide of improvement has not lifted all boats, with 2 per cent of schools not having met Ofsted’s criteria to be judged ‘good’ for more than a decade. The pupils in these schools are not benefiting from a generally high performing system.
“To make a difference, we must urgently rebalance holding schools to account with helping them to improve. This would go a long way to addressing the assertions of ‘gaming’ the system that the Chief Inspector has made today. I don’t recognise schools choosing to ‘game’ the system. Although I do see some schools finding it impossible to balance the competing demands of government policy and inspection. It should be remembered that this is happening in a tiny minority of cases, so it would be wrong to assert that it is a widespread problem.
“Schools will perform best when policy, accountability measures, inspection and improvement support are properly aligned. With a strong majority in parliament, the government has the opportunity to solve this problem – we hope they take it.
“Ofsted still hasn’t made connection between funding and standards – but they must. An annual health-check of the nation’s education system is incomplete without a view about whether the demands placed on schools can be met within the current financial picture.”
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