Listen and change ‘problematic’ plans, Ofsted told

NAHT voice disappointment that inspectorate 'does not look like changing' its new inspection framework

John Roberts

The Conservatives are backing Ofsted but the inspectorate is unlikely to be popular in working-class areas where the party won votes, says Nick Brook, of the NAHT heads' union

The largest headteachers' union has said that Ofsted has “more work to do” to arrive at a satisfactory new inspection framework.

The warning came after chief inspector Amanda Spielman addressed the NAHT's annual conference in Telford today, provoking laughter when she said England had one of the lightest inspection regimes in the Western world.

The NAHT’s deputy general secretary Nick Brook said heads were mystified by Ms Spielman’s claim. He also expressed disappointment that Ofsted does not appear to be “planning to change much about their proposed new framework”.


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Heads at the conference passed four motions voicing concern about Ofsted today.

They included a motion against the new framework including government EBacc targets and another calling on the union to challenge the use of exam results and test scores in forming judgements about schools.

The NAHT expressed major concerns about Ofsted’s plans for a new framework focused on curriculum earlier this year.

The inspectorate plans to create a new quality of education grade which will replace teaching and learning and pupil outcomes as inspection grades.

The quality of education grade will look at teaching, exam results and the intent, implementation and impact of the school curriculum.

However, the NAHT has said it does not think all of this can be “boiled down" to a single inspection grade.

Ms Spielman acknowledged the NAHT’s concerns during her speech and said they were being carefully considered.

She said Ofsted was due to publish its new inspection framework later this month after 15,000 responses to its consultation.

Speaking after her speech, Mr Brook commented: “The ambition in Ofsted’s proposals is sound, but the reality is problematic.

"We recognise the good intent, but school leaders are unconvinced by the detail. After every change of framework, unintended negative behaviours and practice have emerged as by-products of high-stakes scrutiny.

"This framework will be no exception. Ofsted must listen to the profession on their concerns.

He added: “It is disappointing to hear Ofsted’s renewed commitment to a four-grade judgement. Boiling complex judgements down into single adjectives for public consumption has significant negative consequences, limiting the usefulness of inspection itself as a force for improvement. So many experts agree – Ofsted must listen.

“Conference debated no less than four motions relating to accountability today, all of which were overwhelmingly passed, reflecting the strength of feeling among school leaders that there is clearly more work for Ofsted to do to arrive at a satisfactory new inspection framework.”

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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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