This afternoon was jam-packed with lively debate around our motions. Key issues on the table included Ofsted, small schools, online safety, supporting staff dealing with online harassment and SEND provision.
Ofsted judgement: the right to appeal
While NAHT recognises the need for a certain level of accountability in schools, it is not right that Ofsted polices its own complaints. Today conference agreed to pass a motion to campaign for the establishment of an independent review panel to give schools the opportunity of a statutory right to appeal against an Ofsted judgement where they believe the outcome is irrational or unfair.
The importance of small schools
We need to strengthen the case for the invaluable contribution of small schools to their communities and the world of education, at a time when their very existence is under threat. NAHT will seek to work with suitable organisations, such as the National Association for Small Schools and the Chartered College of Teaching to champion the work of small schools in local communities.
Social media statutory duty of care
To protect children online, NAHT will campaign for a statutory duty of care for social media companies to protect and safeguard children and to improve age verification systems.
Supporting staff dealing with online harassment
Safety and well-being can be put at risk by online harassment and victimisation of staff. Comments posted on social media and other online platforms can also damage professional reputation. Further support should be available for school leaders in both preventing and dealing with such issues. Conference has called for clear advice on steps which school leaders can take to prevent these issues, including effective social media, parental engagement and complaints policies. Guidance on how to deal with such incidents when they do occur should also be made available, including how to have comments removed from such platforms and any other recourse which may be available.
Government support for specialist SEND provision
Special schools are in danger of becoming a one-size-fits-all provision. Conference has called on NAHT will urge the government to demonstrate its support for specialist SEND provision, including resourced mainstream schools and specialist support services, before we lose the expertise and environments which enable some pupils not only to survive but to thrive.
You can read all the motions discussed and passed in this afternoon’s session in the conference guide below.
First published 04 May 2019