Diary of a headteacher: Ofsted: Signs of change?

The SecEd reports that high-stakes inspection and accountability have long plagued our system, but having just experienced Ofsted, our headteacher diarist is happy to see signs of change.

The level of responsibility that weighs upon the shoulders of headteachers is significant. Most people in education know and accept this, but until you have had the experience of actually running a school, you never really know just how it feels.

For headteachers who choose to work in schools that are in difficult circumstances, or areas of high social and economic deprivation, their roles are even more complex.

I know many colleagues who prefer to work in these types of schools because they feel like they can make a bigger difference to the lives of their students. But for headteachers it can be a very risky career move.

Job security for heads isn’t great at the best of times and when things don’t go to plan for a school, the head’s head is often the first on the block (comparisons with the world of football management are not far off the mark).

Taking on a school with declining results, a falling roll, financial difficulties or in special measures could be career suicide for talented leaders. Why take such a risk and put your career on the line?

Questions such as this shouldn’t really come into our minds, but the high-stakes, high accountability culture that schools in England work within has resulted in a real paucity of leaders who are prepared to take this plunge. Indeed, it has led to a shortage of those even willing to make the transition to become headteachers in the first place.

Are we going to see this culture change anytime soon? The signs are there but it is going to take more than a couple of myth-busting Ofsted blogs for things to change. As school leaders we readily accept the responsibility that comes with headship and we are duty-bound to ensure our schools provide our students with a great educational experience.

Read the full article Diary of a headteacher: Ofsted: Signs of change?

Do you think Ofsted has improved or have they still got a long way to go? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Categories: Employment, Ofsted, Teaching and Uncategorized.


  1. “Are we going to see this culture change anytime soon?”

    No. What Ofsted is actually doing is confirming what it always lyingly denied i.e. that inspection outcomes are determined before inspectors arrive at the school. Short one day inspections are now planned to only convert to a full two day inspection if Ofsted thinks it can downgrade the school’s rating thus putting it on the high road to privatisation (aka academisation). Schools will have no chance of being upgraded to Grade 1 unless Ofsted decided in advance that they might have to upgrade it – and then the inspection is effectively just an excuse to find fault. Ofsted remains a disgraceful organisation that gets paid to wreck children’s education,

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