Heads can report Ofsted inspectors on new workload hotline

New phone line will allow schools to highlight 'breaches' of inspectorate's commitments to tackle workload

John Roberts

Ofsted is setting up a new hotline to allow schools to complain about inspectors increasing their workload

Ofsted is to launch a new hotline for headteachers to report inspectors who unnecessarily add to their school’s workload.

The new service will allow schools to flag up if and when the inspectorate fails to meet its commitments to ensure that it does not contribute to increased workload.

The plans have been revealed in the government’s new Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, published today.

It says that Ofsted has committed to tackling teacher workload through its new inspection framework by:

  • Checking whether workload is unnecessarily high as part of its leadership and management judgement;
  • Looking unfavourably on schools that use burdensome data collection;
  • No longer looking at internal school data as part of its new inspections.

The Department for Education said that Ofsted will be introducing a new hotline “for headteachers to report breaches of these specific commitments directly to their central office.”

It follows education secretary Damian Hinds urging schools to “call out” Ofsted when its inspectors demand inappropriate amounts of data.

Mr Hinds spoke out at an event in October last year after hearing from an academy leader that some inspectors “quite frankly do not get the plot” on reducing workload.

Ofsted aims to tackle teacher workload

The new DfE strategy also says that no “arm of government” will ever ask schools for data tracking systems, specific evidence of lesson planning and marking or pupil targets and predictions.

Earlier this month, Mr Hinds praised Ofsted’s new framework for its commitment to tackle teacher workload.

This marked a shift in his position from last year, when the education secretary had warned that the introduction of a new inspection framework might increase teacher workload – echoing concerns of headteachers.

In August Mr Hinds told Tes that that plans to overhaul Ofsted’s school inspections needed to be balanced against the effect it would have on teacher workload.

Launching the consultation for its new inspection framework earlier this month, chief inspector Amanda Spielman said: “Workload has, of course, been in front of us in letters of fire as we have worked up these proposals.

"While we know that any kind of accountability necessarily involves some irreducible workload, we have to do what we can to make sure that inspection adds no more burden than it must.”

Ofsted's plans include a proposal to no longer look at schools' internal data during inspection, as part of an attempt to cut down on unnecessary work for teachers.

It is also proposing to judge school leaders on how well they take into account the workload and wellbeing of their staff “in order to deliver a high-quality education, while also developing and strengthening the quality of the workforce”.

Ofsted is consulting on plans for its new education inspection framework over a 12-week period.



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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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