Headteachers look to ease stress with Ofsted alternative

Headteachers are to set up their own alternative school inspection service to Ofsted after claiming the watchdog is responsible for a dramatic increase in stress levels in the profession.

Leaders of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) will launch their own service – which they will call "Instead" – in the autumn term. Heads will inspect each other's schools – and pass on tips about good practice if they see areas in which the schools can improve.

The move comes ahead of a string of motions critical of Ofsted inspections at the NAHT's annual conference in Birmingham, which starts today. A hotline set up by the union for heads who need help has received 250 calls a week – largely as a result of concerns over the regulator.

Under its new Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted has toughened up its regime, introducing shorter-notice inspections and abolishing the "satisfactory" grade. It has been replaced with "requires improvement".

Russell Hobby, the NAHT's general secretary, said the pilot scheme would be independently evaluated and if successful, would be offered to a new government as an alternative school inspection system.