Less than one in five teachers say Ofsted is reliable

Annual survey shows less than half of teachers think inspection is needed to hold schools to account

John Roberts

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Less than one in five teachers now regard Ofsted as trusted or reliable according to the inspectorate’s own survey.

Ofsted’s annual Teacher Attitude Survey, published today, also reveals there has been a drop in the proportion of teachers who think that school inspection is necessary and important to hold schools to account.

The proportion of teachers who agree that Ofsted is a reliable and trusted arbiter of standards has fallen from 35 per cent last year to just 18 per cent in this year’s survey.

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A YouGov poll found 55 per cent of teachers disagreed with the statement and 21 per cent said they neither agreed or disagreed.

The poll also reveals a drop in the proportion of teachers who think that Ofsted acts independently of government – falling from 30 per cent last year to 19 per cent in 2019.

However, the majority of teachers (61 per cent) felt that the final judgement reached by inspectors at their school was fair and accurate. Ofsted said this figure remained the same as last year.

The survey findings published today also reveal that the proportion of teachers who agree that inspections are important and necessary to monitor performance and hold schools to account has fallen from 50 per cent in 2018 to 38 per cent this year.

Ofsted’s findings show that the majority of teachers, 58 per cent, say that their own experience of inspection is what shapes their perception of Ofsted.  Teachers in primary school are more likely to say this (62 per cent) than those at secondary (54 per cent).

Around a quarter of teachers (23 per cent) say their perception of Ofsted is shaped by “the general reputation the inspectorate has gained for itself over many years.

Tes reported last month that Ofsted’s own annual report revealed five out of six teachers think Ofsted brings “unacceptable levels of burden into the system”. This was based on findings from the annual survey, and the complete set has now been published today.

The online YouGov survey was developed with Ofsted and carried out among teachers between March 20 and April 10 this year.

The total number of respondents was 1,007 teachers; 397 teachers working in primary schools and 610 teachers from secondary schools.

The inspectorate said the figures were weighted and were representative of all teachers in England by their age, gender, school type and phase.

An Ofsted spokesperson said: “Since we published the new inspection framework in May, we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from teachers and heads about its focus on the curriculum and the shift away from internally generated data.

"We’re looking forward to seeing how the new inspections are received by school staff from September. We know from this survey that teachers who have been inspected more recently tend to be more positive and we hope that trend continues under the new inspections.”

Ofsted’s survey also found that:

  • Only 27 per cent of teachers feel inspections help individual schools improve (compared with 31 per cent in 2018) but there has been an increase in perception that Ofsted inspectors have relevant frontline experience.
  • 41 per cent of teachers currently feel that their school places a greater emphasis on getting good results than the content of the learning. This is significantly higher than the equivalent figure for parents of 24 per cent.
  • Seven in 10 (71 per cent) continue to feel that their last inspection was pretty much in line with what they expected.
  • Just over half (52%) still feel that the inspection team were "professional but detached".
  • 88 per cent of teachers now know Ofsted does not grade individual lessons, up from 80 per cent last year.

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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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