Independent review of Ofsted ‘urgently required’

The BBC is reporting that local government leaders have said Ofsted is in urgent need of independent review in light of concerns about its objectivity and reliability…

A series of leaks and U-turns have thrown the independence of England’s education watchdog into question, said the Local Government Association.

A review would “restore faith”, Cllr David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said.

Ofsted said doubts about its reliability were “simply incorrect”.

But the LGA said cases such as Ofsted’s re-inspection and downgrading of five of the “Trojan Horse” schools in Birmingham have undermined the watchdog’s credibility.

It said these inspections, after the schools hit the headlines, downgraded them from “good” or “outstanding” to “inadequate”, in some cases in less than a year.

“Which verdict is to be believed?” asked Cllr Simmonds.

The LGA also cast doubt on the downgrading of Haringey Council’s children’s services “from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’ once the Baby P scandal broke in the media”.

It said these cases “raise questions as to the validity of the inspectorate’s judgements as it is quick to re-inspect and often downgrade schools which are embroiled in a scandal, even if it is an historic report”.

Cllr Simmonds said Ofsted had been the subject of “too many controversies”…

“Ofsted’s knee-jerk response to a scandal seems to be to re-inspect school and declare it failing, but not every scandal will be true.

“We want to know that when Ofsted go into a school, they are being fair and impartial and are not playing to the court of public opinion.”

The call for a review has drawn support from some teachers’ unions…

An Ofsted spokeswoman responded that it was the watchdog’s job “to hold every institution to account and to report without fear or favour…

More at: Independent review of Ofsted ‘urgently required’


Valid concerns from the LGA or trying to settle a few scores? Please tell us how you see and the likely significance of this call for a review it in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Local authorities.


  1. GillespieAidan

    SchoolsImprove This is interesting as ‘Praise’ has been a mantra that it would seem is dished out thoughtlessly. Praise due is honest

  2. stevesheehan52

    SchoolsImprove ofsted spokesperson said it their job to hold every institution to account. Who holds this institution to account?

  3. TW

    Hmm, so it was ok for Ofsted to rampage around schools causing destruction and vast damage to children’s education but when it started directly picking on local authorities the LAs are suddenly concerned.  Better late than never I suppose.

  4. Janet2

    The perception that Ofsted is not objective is supported by evidence: 

    1  The lead inspector who contradicted her own findings about improvement at Downhills within weeks after Gove said it was ‘failing’; 

    2  The appointment of Wilshaw as Gove’s hand-picked man (although they’ve fallen out since then); 

    3  The several redrafts of the Baby P report; 

    4  The appointment of Ofsted chairs who are connected with academy chains; 

    5  The constant moving of goalposts to put more schools in the ‘failing’ category (ie satisfying the criteria downgraded to not good enough) thereby making them ripe for academy conversion.

    6  Wilshaw’s praise of sponsored academies as a way of improving schools (though the evidence shows this is not a magic bullet).

    7  Grilling the B’ham schools investigated as part of Trojan Horse on their engagement with the anti-terrorism strategy Prevent when other schools aren’t asked about this.

    8  Inspectors who moonlight as consultants.

    9  Inspectors linked to academy chains who inspect schools near their own academies – surely a conflict of interest?  (For details of this story see:

  5. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Why is this even a debate? Ofsted should be open to independent review just like everyone else has to be. Do it!

  6. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Ofsted’s response seems fairly typical, head in the sand stuff, claiming that everything’s fine, no review required.

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