‘We’ve been let down by Ofsted’s inadequacies for too long’

This Friday, Ofsted’s consultation on changes to its inspection framework closes. The Lib Dems’ Layla Moran writes in Tes.

The changes have been much lauded by the watchdog itself, which claims that it will trigger a shift away from the culture of narrowly focused inspections that heap pressure onto teachers beforehand.

However, the reaction from the profession has understandably been more lukewarm. There is a fear that the reality of the proposals won’t match the rhetoric: that they’ll do nothing to “reduce stress or increase the reliability of judgements.”

I completely agree.

Simply put, these reforms do not go nearly far enough. At best, they are tinkering around the edges of a system that is fundamentally broken. Ofsted lost the faith of the teaching profession long ago.

Ofsted was once supposed to support educators to improve, but it’s become something that strikes genuine fear into the hearts of even the most capable and dedicated teachers. Something has gone terribly wrong here and I don’t think such a harmful culture can be easily unpicked.

One of the proposals, for instance, is that teachers will be given much less notice of an impending inspection.

It may cut weeks of wasted time that teachers and school leaders currently spend preparing for an upcoming inspection, but it will do nothing to reduce the sense of dread that teachers feel.

I’m also concerned about the emphasis on cracking down on low-level disruption – schools in which children are found to be swinging on chairs or checking their phones are to be marked down. Now, don’t get me wrong – as a former teacher, I know how frustrating this kind of behaviour can be. But it does not determine whether or not a school is providing a high-quality education. More often than not, these are students being failed by the cuts to children’s and youth services or to universal credit. Happy kids don’t generally misbehave.

Read more from Layla Moran ‘We’ve been let down by Ofsted’s inadequacies for too long’

What do you think of the reforms? Will they make any difference? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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