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Ofsted needs to focus on its core purpose, says NAHT

Amanda Spielman will use a speech today to announce support for a ban on mobile phones in schools and a tougher line on behaviour.

Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of school leaders’ union and Chair of NAHT’s Commission on Accountability said: “Good behaviour is key to enabling teachers to teach and pupils to learn. It is right that inspectors should be interested in this. But as Ofsted themselves acknowledge, there’s only so much that they can observe during an inspection.

“As the National Audit Office (NAO) has said, Ofsted cannot show whether its school inspections are having a positive impact on standards. This should be Ofsted’s focus for the coming twelve months, not rumour-driven investigations which could further erode public confidence.

“Whilst behaviour may be a problem in a minority of schools, there’s no evidence that it is a problem everywhere. ‘Taking a firm stance’ is not necessarily the right approach in every case and school leaders need to feel confident that Ofsted will back their approach to behaviour, whatever it may be, so long as it is working.

“Schools get less than a day’s notice of inspection, so it is extremely unlikely that a school trip for a group of unruly pupils could be organised in that time in order for the school to avoid their behaviour being scrutinised.

“On Monday, I’ll be giving evidence to the Public Accounts Committee about whether Ofsted is taking the right approach to inspection and whether this represents the best use of public money. We need an accountability system that parents, and schools can have faith in.”

Press and Media contacts:

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

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363

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