An Ofsted inspection system worthy of teachers’ respect

It is good to see this meeting of minds between Ofsted and the country’s headteachers, who too often in the past have been at loggerheads

Share

After weeks of controversy over the performance of Ofsted, the education standards watchdog was the focus of some welcome consensus yesterday, with a future mapped out for schools inspections that should better serve the interests of teachers and parents.

At the beginning of the week, the conservative think-tank Policy Exchange published a report disparaging Ofsted inspectors’ ability to rate teachers, suggesting it should move to a system of less frequent inspections for schools rated good or outstanding. These concerns were echoed yesterday by the Association of School and College Leaders in a pamphlet published to coincide with its annual conference. And in addressing the conference, the Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, caught the mood.

In future, schools rated outstanding or good – which at present are subject to a week-long inspection once every five years – will receive only a one-day visit once every two or three years. There are conditions attached, but the logic is obvious: if schools are maintaining a high standard, why should they be weighed down by the anxiety of preparing for an inspection? The threat to headteachers’ jobs posed by an unfavourable report is such that would-be applicants for the top positions are becoming harder to find, which was reason in itself to rethink the system.

Policy Exchange went too far in suggesting that inspectors might just as well “flip a coin” as carry out observations of teachers during lessons. But Sir Michael acknowledged concerns over the quality of inspections, announcing that he would carry out a review of a system which at the moment involves the majority of inspections being outsourced to one of three private contractors. He rightly argued that such a system did not give Ofsted enough leverage over the quality of inspections.

It is good to see this meeting of minds between Ofsted and the country’s headteachers, who too often in the past have been at loggerheads. Not that everything will be plain sailing as a result of Sir Michael’s announcement. There are always going to be instances when inspectors and those inspected disagree. But at least we now have the basis of an inspection system which has headteachers’ respect.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

I don't blame parents who move to get their child into a good school

Chris Blackhurst
William Hague, addresses delegates at the Conservative party conference for the last time in his political career in Birmingham  

It’s only natural for politicians like William Hague to end up as journalists

Simon Kelner
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent