Education secretary Damian Hinds has warned that plans to overhaul Ofsted’s school inspection framework need to be balanced against the effect it would have on teacher workload.
The news comes amid growing tension between the Department for Education and the inspectorate over Ofsted’s plans to put a new inspection regime in place in 2019-2020.
Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman has made it clear that the changes, which are expected to give more weight to how broad a school’s curriculum is and less to exam results, are her top priority.
However, the education secretary told headteachers in March that he wanted to strip away work that does not add value to the classroom, and has previously said that the sector needs "a period of less change" after a wave of recent exam reforms.
Now, in an exclusive interview with Tes, Mr Hinds has said that it was right for Ofsted to review its framework, but he revealed concerns about “what that does to workload".
What will the Ofsted review do for teacher workload?
Mr Hinds repeatedly said it was right for Ofsted to “review” the framework, but, when pressed, he avoided saying that he supported a new framework being implemented.
Asked whether Ofsted should introduce a new regime, he said: “I think they should review the framework, and that is allowed for.
“We are at that point in the cycle, as it were, and I think we do need to think about some of these considerations around breadth of curriculum, breadth of experience, some of the non-academic learning aspects around being at school.
“I think it is absolutely right that we look at that again.”
But Mr Hinds also said: “Whenever there is change, there is a question about what that does to workload and some of the effects that can have on the system, and those things have to be balanced."
Earlier this month, Tes reported that Ms Spielman is said to be determined to “fiercely resist any efforts to undermine the inspectorate's independence on how it judges schools”.
An Ofsted spokesperson said: “We absolutely agree with the secretary of state’s comments, and are pleased he recognises the importance of ensuring our framework measures the real substance of education.
"We will be consulting on a new framework in the new year.”
You can read the full exclusive interview with education secretary Damian Hinds in Tes' 31 August magazine