Nick Brook, NAHT deputy general secretary, said: “We were pleased to hear from HMCI Amanda Spielman on a range of subjects. Overall, however, it doesn’t sound like Ofsted are planning to change much about their proposed new framework after their consultation period. This would be a shame.
“The ambition in Ofsted’s proposals is sound, but the reality is problematic. We recognise the good intent, but school leaders are unconvinced by the detail. After every change of framework, unintended negative behaviours and practice have emerged as by-products of high-stakes scrutiny. This framework will be no exception. Ofsted must listen to the profession on their concerns. Few things cause as many sleepless nights for leaders as inspection. It is critical we get this right.
“Delegates were mystified by the suggestion by the Chief Inspector that England has one of the ‘lightest touch’ inspection systems. In fact, England has one of the most highly regulated education systems in the world, which is limiting schools’ ability to deliver a first-class education. If we want to compete with the very best countries in the world, we need to urgently rebalance holding schools to account with helping them to improve. With limited resources, the inspectorate should be focusing the majority of its time and energy on the small minority of schools that are struggling whilst maintaining a light touch approach to the majority of schools providing a good quality of education.
“It is disappointing to hear Ofsted’s renewed commitment to a four grade judgement. Boiling complex judgements down into single adjectives for public consumption has significant negative consequences, limiting the usefulness of inspection itself as a force for improvement. So many experts agree – Ofsted must listen.
“Conference debated no less than four motions relating to accountability today, all of which were overwhelmingly passed, reflecting the strength of feeling among school leaders that there is clearly more work for Ofsted to do to arrive at a satisfactory new inspection framework.”
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