How teachers view Ofsted: 7 things we learned today

Less than a third of teachers think that inspections help individual schools to improve, according to a survey

John Roberts

Ofsted's annual report has been published today

Ofsted’s annual teacher survey has questioned more than 1,000 teachers on their perceptions and attitudes towards the school inspectorate.

The survey shows increased awareness of Ofsted’s attempt to “myth bust” but shows concerns among the profession about whether the inspectorate is reliable and whether inspection helps schools to improve.

Here are seven key findings from the survey.

1. More teachers are aware of Ofsted’s myth-busting campaign

The survey reveals that 36 per cent of teachers have heard something about Ofsted’s attempts to dispel myths about what they want to see at inspection.

This figure is up from 27 per cent who were aware of the myth busting campaign in 2017.

The survey also shows that eight out of 10 teachers knew that Ofsted generally has to give a half day’s notice before inspection and eight of 10 knew that Ofsted inspectors do not grade individual lessons.

2. The vast majority of teachers think 'outstanding' schools should be reinspected

"Outstanding" schools are currently exempt from routine reinspection – something that Ofsted itself wants to change.

The survey shows that the watchdog has the support of the majority of teachers. Of those questioned, 86 per cent supported the idea of "outstanding" schools having a cut-off point where an inspection judgement is seen as being out of date.

Since 2011, "outstanding" schools have been exempt from routine reinspection. Ofsted inspectors can inspect these schools where concerns are raised about standards or safeguarding issues.

3. The longer you have been a teacher, the less likely you are to trust Ofsted

In the survey, 51 per cent of those questioned either strongly or slightly disagreed with the statement, “Ofsted acts as a reliable and trusted arbiter of school standards across all different types of schools in England.”

The figures also show that the longer a teacher has been in the profession, the less likely they are to think that the inspectorate is reliable. Only 17 per cent of NQTs or teachers in their first year disagreed with the statement that Ofsted was reliable.

This proportion increased to 47 per cent of teachers who have been in the profession for up to six years, 53 per cent of teachers who had worked for seven to 15 years and 58 per cent of those teachers who had been in the profession 16 years or more.

4. Most teachers think Ofsted’s inspection judgements are fair

The survey reveals that more than six out of 10 teachers (62 per cent) whose school had been inspected felt that the final judgement reached by Ofsted was fair.  

This was an improvement on 2017’s results, when 57 per cent of teachers questioned thought it was fair.

This year’s results also reveal that 25 per cent of teachers thought that Ofsted inspectors were too harsh and failed to see positive elements and 11 per cent thought the inspection judgement was too lenient and missed some problems.

5.  Half of teachers say school inspection is needed

Half of the teachers questioned said that they agreed that school inspection is an important and necessary method of monitoring performance and holding schools to account. 

This was an increase from the 44 per cent who agreed with this view in Ofsted’s teacher survey in 2017.

Thirty-five per cent of teachers disagreed with this view in 2018, the same figure as the year before.

6.  But most do not accept that Ofsted is a force for improvement

Teachers were less positive about whether inspections help schools to get better.

Of those questioned, 31 per cent agreed that inspections help individual schools to improve and 45 per cent disagreed with this view.

And just under a quarter of teachers (24 per cent) agreed that Ofsted inspectors have the relevant frontline experience skills  and qualifications to carry out inspection while 41 per cent disagreed with this view.

7.  Most teachers think inspection leads to huge amounts of unnecessary work

The survey reveals that 54 per cent of teachers believe that Ofsted inspecting their school will mean a huge amount of unnecessary work.

This figure was slightly higher among secondary school teachers, of whom 58 per cent thought it would lead to unnecessary work compared with 51 per cent of primary school teachers.

A quarter of teachers felt it would mean some extra work but that this would be manageable, 16 per cent said they expected to carry on doing their job as normal and 3 per cent said they were looking forward to demonstrating how good they were.


Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

Latest stories

New headteachers - here are 9 things you need to know

Headteacher wellbeing and sources of 'streth'

Former headteacher Chris McDermott set out to find out the true causes of leader stress and support – and in doing so coined a whole new term, as he explains here
Chris McDermott 2 Dec 2021
Transdisciplinary learning: how to embed it in your school

Why you need a transdisciplinary curriculum

At the Aspirations Academies, six hours a week are dedicated to applied transdisciplinary learning - but how does it work? And should you apply something similar at your school?
Steve Kenning 2 Dec 2021
Expert governors can now come and help schools and trusts

Why schools and trusts can now hire 'expert governors'

Providing access to expert governors for struggling settings - or those willing to pay £500 a day for their insights - could have a huge benefit across education, claims the National Governance Association
Emily Attwood 2 Dec 2021