John Roberts

What’s the point of Ofsted?

The watchdog appears to have the backing of government, but serious questions are being raised about its future. Critics claim its inspections are unreliable and biased against schools in poor areas, and that it is driving teachers from the profession. As the inspectorate struggles with a shrinking budget, John Roberts asks: what is Ofsted for?

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On the face of it, Ofsted is an organisation that is flying high.

Not a week goes by without a bold new announcement from chief inspector Amanda Spielman. Whether it be pledging to put multi-academy trusts under more scrutiny (see bit.ly/OfstedAcad), tackling the “off-rolling” of pupils or focusing on disruptive behaviour in schools, the inspectorate has appeared firmly on the front foot across a range of issues.

Meanwhile, the watchdog’s central role in the school system looks more secure than ever. When education secretary Damian Hinds announced that it was only Ofsted – and not his own ...

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