‘If Ofsted wants to earn our trust, it should make these three positive changes’

We must have high expectations and standards of what takes place in the classroom every day – I don’t think anyone would dispute that. It’s important that schools and teachers are properly held to account for our role in education. Children only get one chance to go to school and the quality of their education has an impact on the rest of their lives.  Tom Rees, executive headteacher at Simon De Senlis Primary School writes in Tes.

Although teachers are almost entirely well-motivated people who want to do the best job they can, it’s no different from any other walk of life in that, without regular and effective monitoring, things slide and people can stop doing some of the things that they are supposed to do. It is important that we have checks and balances in the system and I have always been happy to be held to account in a thorough and systematic way for my work.

 But accountability has gone wrong in schools: processes are often clumsy and the stakes are too high.
It’s easy to blame everything on Ofsted and, while they are clearly a central part of the accountability problem, it’s important to acknowledge a positive change in tone and approach in recent years.

The way forward for Ofsted

It really does feel like those at the top of Ofsted understand the issues that inspections cause and that there is a much more positive dialogue taking place around school improvement and accountability. With rumours now afoot that there are more changes ahead, here are three things I’d like to see as positive reforms to the inspectorate.

1. Audit safeguarding in every school, every year 

Over 1,200 schools in England have not been inspected in the past seven years, and almost 100 have not been inspected since 2006. With so many schools not having faced external inspection for so long, it is completely unacceptable that their safeguarding processes have not undergone external audit or inspection during this time.

2. Depersonalise school reports

While information on how well schools are performing should, of course, be in the public domain, the current process of written reports describing school leaders who can be identified either by name or by description places unnecessary pressure on individuals. This is often why people avoid taking the next steps into leadership posts. There’s no problem with leaders being held to account for improving their schools, but I don’t see why public and personal descriptions of leaders (positive or negative) must be a part of the process.

Read the full article ‘If Ofsted wants to earn our trust, it should make these three positive changes’

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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