Exclusive: 'Apologise or resign,' heads tell Spielman

Headteachers’ school funding campaign incensed by Ofsted chief 's suggestion that some schools have 'squandered' money

spielman

A group representing thousands of school leaders is calling for Amanda Spielman to either apologise or resign for suggesting that some heads have "squandered" their funding. 

The Worth Less? Campaign, which led a march of 2,000 head teachers on Westminster in 2018 over school funding, says the Ofsted chief inspector's comments are "utterly disgraceful" and that if she doesn’t resign she should at least make an “unreserved apology”.

Campaign coordinator Jules White said he had been contacted by dozens of heads expressing their outrage. He said: "Heads are incensed. I believe that Amanda Spielman should either make an unequivocal apology or resign.

“Her comments and the use of the word squander go beyond a mere misjudgement.


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“They feed an entirely misleading narrative that highly-skilled headteachers cannot manage their budgets even after we have put up with ten years of real terms cuts and still kept our schools afloat.

“Ofsted is meant to provide evidence-based assessments rather than playing out unsubstantiated and derisory personal views.

“The independent cross party Education Select Committee has written withering reports on the state of school budgets and the woefully inadequate funding for children with physical and learning disabilities yet the chief inspector of schools suggests that we will waste taxpayer’s money rather than use it to further the best interests of the children and families that we serve.”

Ms Spielman's comments were in blog published online by Ofsted yesterday morning but swiftly taken down. 

She said that Ofsted had responded to funding pressures by "reducing staffing, cutting back on non-essential building maintenance, and limiting additional provision for pupils, not least those with SEND".

"In many cases, we found that schools were making these decisions in an informed way, using benchmarking and other evidence," she wrote.

"However, too often we found that decision-makers were not sufficiently monitoring the impact of their decisions on the quality of education and on their most vulnerable pupils."

She added: "Poor decision-making in response to financial pressure is potentially harmful to quality of education. But this could be as big an issue when funding is increased.

"Funding can still be squandered when it is plentiful, meaning taxpayers’ money could be wasted for little benefit."

Ofsted said her blog had been published in error and wasn’t due to go public for another two weeks to coincide with the publication of the inspectorate’s research into how schools are coping with school funding pressures.

The inspectorate was approached for comment. 

 

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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