Long read & Video: Should we take a promise to abolish Ofsted seriously?

Imagine a world without Ofsted inspectors, where schools were not forced to become academies, and none were named and shamed in league tables. Tes reports. 

It may sound like a distant paradise for many teachers working in England’s education system, but it is just the sort of future the Liberal Democrats will envisage if their spring conference approves a new education policy this weekend.

The committee that drew up Every Child Empowered: education for a changing world had been meeting for more than a year before former teacher Layla Moran was appointed party education spokesperson after being elected to Parliament last year, but the document bears her unmistakable fingerprints.

But do the more detailed policies contained in Every Child Empowered live up to the promise of those bold statements? How different would a Lib Dem world be, given that inspection, assessment and comparison would be reformed, rather than removed altogether?

While Moran is keen to discuss the whole range of policies contained in Every Child Empowered’s 44 pages, the sections on Ofsted, league tables and Sats stand out.

“I always said that if I ever get elected and I get hold of any kind of education policy, those are the three things that I really want to change,” she says.

The document talks tough when describing the problem with Ofsted, but the proposed alternative does not feel so radically different.

“We would replace Ofsted with a new HM Inspector of Schools,” it says, “drawing on the best traditions of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Schools”.

The outcomes of inspections would come in a “report card format”, covering areas such as attainment measures, curriculum breadth, feedback from parents and pupils, pupil welfare, leadership and management, longer-term pupil outcomes and teacher workload.

Read the full article and watch the video  Long read: Should we take a promise to abolish Ofsted seriously?

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

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