Ofsted grades don’t affect teacher retention – how headteachers manage does.

Yes, Ofsted can improve. Yes, it is beginning to listen to school leaders. Yes, they are regularly looking at ways to make the process fairer and less threatening. A primary teacher writes in Teachwire.

I have worked for nine headteachers – all of them very different in their approach. I have worked in ‘good’ schools where the atmosphere is dreadful. I have worked in ‘requires improvement’ schools where the atmosphere is extremely positive.

Teacher retention has very little to do with your school’s Ofsted grade. It has everything to do with how your school is managed and how the head copes with the pressures to improve the school.

My summary of how three particular heads managed their school:

School A: ‘Requires improvement’

“I will improve this school by introducing non-negotiables that suffocate teacher autonomy. I will carry out excessive book looks and learning walks. I will put teachers on support plans over the slightest imperfections. I will tell staff what to put up on display boards and how they should be presented. I will regularly test children for data purposes. I won’t invest in teacher wellbeing or fully understand the pressures involved teaching in this particular catchment area. Y6 pupils will spend the year in booster groups at the expense of the wider curriculum. I will do whatever it takes to get a good Ofsted grade.”

Sound familiar? Read more to find out how different heads managed their schools? Ofsted grades don’t affect teacher retention – how headteachers manage does. 

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

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