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Inspections are inconsistent and too dependent on data, warns former Ofsted chief

School inspections produce inconsistent results and are too reliant on data, a respected former head of Ofsted has told TES.

Sir Mike Tomlinson, chief schools inspector between 2000 and 2002, wants to see a debate about the future of inspection, raising new questions for the embattled watchdog.  

“Inspection is so important to the profession, it is so important to young people, it is so important to the parents of those young people, that maybe after 20-odd years there is every reason to look at it and say, ‘Have we got it right?’?” he said.

Ofsted judgements had become more high-stakes since he ran the inspectorate, Sir Mike said. Heads’ jobs often depended on the outcome so there was “a need to readdress the whole question of consistency of judgement”.  

“The question is, how do you ensure that subjectivity is at the minimum possible level?” added Sir Mike, who has been appointed by ministers as Birmingham’s education commissioner, to lead schools in a city coping with the aftermath of the Trojan Horse controversy.

To read more, see the full article in the 3 April edition of TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.   

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