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School leaders are worried about Ofsted’s new proposals for school inspection

Today (Fri 8 Feb), NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman will use his speech at the Leading Schools in the 21st Century Conference to warn that ‘imposing a new framework that is full of flaws could kill off the green shoots of trust that have started to emerge between Ofsted and schools.’

Mr Whiteman is expected to say: “Now that school leaders have had the chance to look at the detail in the new framework, they are worried by it.”

Mr Whiteman will acknowledge the work Ofsted has done in the last eighteen months to ‘make a break from the past’ but he will also say that “a system that has promoted fear, driven perverse activity and increased workload over many years has left trust in the inspectorate at a low base. It will take time to rebuild that, but at least the journey has started.

“One thing that would accelerate this process is a new inspection framework that commands broad support from the profession.”

NAHT has several areas of concern, including proposals to implement a new ‘quality of education’ judgement. Mr Whiteman will say: “Nothing has been taken away from what’s in the current handbook and much more has been added, giving inspectors too much ground to cover in a single judgement.

“As it is currently worded, the ‘quality of education’ judgement could accidentally promote just as much fear, drive just as much perverse activity and increase workload just as readily as the old set of judgements have done.”

Mr Whiteman will urge school leaders to take part in Ofsted’s consultation, saying: “Let me be clear; I’d like to see a new inspection framework, but the detail needs to support the broad ambition. If not trust will be lost and we will have missed a golden opportunity. We will be back to the start with imperfections that are destructive rather than supportive of school improvement.

“My appeal to everyone interested in accountability is to fill out the consultation. My appeal to Ofsted is that once all the views are in, they are not dismissed as unhelpful or a frivolous critique of the inspectorate itself.”

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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