Brexit has dominated the headlines during Amanda Spielman’s two years as chief inspector of schools at Ofsted. Here she speaks to Huff Post.
But between funding cuts, teachers’ growing workloads and a sharp rise in pupil exclusions, education has never been far from the spotlight.
“The biggest concerns we have seen in inspection has been about the treatment of girls,” she tells HuffPost UK.
Spielman says there are some faith schools, both “state and independent” of varying faiths, where “segregation [is happening] in a way which is setting girls up for a narrow and restricted adult life.”
She says she finds it “very concerning, where we see girls’ lives being shut down.”
“It is happening in a small number of state schools but also in an increasing number of independent schools, where we have quite a lot of concerns about the narrowness of experience, girls in particular are really not being prepared for life in modern Britain,” she says. “This is something I would pick out as an area of concern.”
Appointed by ex-education secretary Nicky Morgan, Spielman spoke to HuffPost about a wide range of issues, from food poverty to female equality.
One area requiring improvement, Spielman says, is how schools are handling mental health.
She believes there is a “great deal of confusion” around the scale and seriousness of the spectrum of mental health issues and it is in some cases damaging children’s development.
“As a nation, we have started taking mental health much more seriously, which is a good thing, but we haven’t yet quite grasped what are the minor lumps and bumps that actually don’t need professional treatment and what are the things that do,” she says.
Read the full interview Ofsted Chief on equality, school cuts and the widespread ‘confusion’ over mental illness.
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