Need to know: Amanda Spielman

Amanda Spielman will unveil her second annual report as Ofsted inspector tomorrow at the end of a year when the inspectorate has found itself firmly in the spotlight. Tes reports.

Ofsted has found its capacity, reliability and role questioned in recent months as it balances funding cuts with its own plans to rethink how it inspects schools.

So what will Amanda Spielman’s annual report focus on as the inspectorate prepares for the year which could define her time in this post?

This year she has faced criticism from the Commons Public Accounts Committee for not being outspoken enough. The committee was unhappy with her response when asked about the impact of funding cuts on education. And their concerns were compounded when she said the inspectorate has not seen evidence of funding cuts impacting on the quality of school education.

The National Audit Office said that Ofsted could not demonstrate that it provides value for money and warned that its reduced budget meant that the level of assurance it provided about school standards had fallen.

On the back of a NAO report, The Public Accounts Committee went further. It warned that Ofsted’s credibility “would evaporate” if the level of school inspections continued to be cut back.

In her first report last year, Ms Spielman warned of intractable schools which have not been rated as “good” for up to a decade.  In a letter to the Commons Public Accounts Committee, the chief inspector said Ofsted would carry out research to understand why interventions in these school had failed.

While schools have a role to play in preparing children for adult life, Ms Spielman is expected to challenge parents not to “abdicate” their responsibilities to schools.

At the launch of the annual report tomorrow, she is expected to say: “Yes, schools can and should teach children about the importance of healthy eating and exercise in line with their core purpose; their PE lessons should get them out of breath.

“But beyond that, schools cannot take over the role of health professionals – and above all parents.”

Singled out for criticism was the exemption on “outstanding” schools being reinspected – something which Ofsted itself has warned the government is unsustainable.

In recent weeks Ofsted has also warned that it needs to be able to do more to assess how independent schools are being inspected and be given more powers to carry out criminal investigations into those running suspected unregistered schools.

Ofsted may face funding pressures and mounting criticisms of its work. But throughout this year it has been on the front foot. Observers will watching to see if that continues tomorrow.

Read more details of the coming report  Need to know: Amanda Spielman

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

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