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Bell tells staff to smarten their act

Right, listen up. There will no jeans, combat trousers or leggings, and absolutely no plunging necklines or mini-skirts. And no alcohol or smoking.

You have been warned.

This might sound like the exhortations of disciplinarian head, or sergeant-major but the rules deserve close inspection. The man overseeing their implementation is David Bell, the chief inspector.

Ofsted employees, including office staff, child care inspectors and Her Majesty's Inspectors, are to get their own dress code. The organisation's 2,500 employees are also to be issued with strict rules on drugs and alcohol. Drinking is to be banned in or out of work during office hours as is smoking near an Ofsted building.

Extracts of the draft dress rules, to be released today to Ofsted staff, list "acceptable minimum standards" for office staff and inspectors. These include "tailored trousers, skirts and dresses", "tops designed to be worn under a suit jacket", "tailored shirts with a collar (with or without a tie)" and "smart religious dress".

The Public and Commercial Services Union described the proposals as "Cromwellian", saying they would do little to lift morale. Last year, The TES revealed a survey showing one in five members of Ofsted staff said they had been bullied in recent months.

The draft guidance is also understood to say that Ofsted employees who have to take a day off work for an emergency - for example, to be with their child in hospital - will be docked pay.

An Ofsted spokeswoman said: "This guidance reflects the organisation's desire to maintain the standard of professional service which the public expects of us."

News 14

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