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NEU: Ofsted is 'weapon of fear' that has to go

Joint-general secretary Mary Bousted says union will push Labour to include pledge to abolish Ofsted in its manifesto

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Ofsted is a "weapon of fear and terror" for teachers that "must be abolished", the joint-general secretary of the country's biggest teaching union has said.

Mary Bousted said that Ofsted is at the centre of a "dysfunctional and toxic school accountability system", and that the NEU teaching union would be lobbying Labour to include a pledge to scrap it in its manifesto.


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Addressing the NEU's annual conference in Liverpool today, Dr Bousted said: "Our system is built on a lack of trust".

She said that teachers "are under constant surveillance" and "obsessively monitored".

"They are policed by an inspection agency, Ofsted, which lives up to the intention of its founding chief inspector, Chris Woodhead, who wanted Ofsted to be a ‘weapon of fear and terror’ to teachers."

Dr Bousted said: "It is our dysfunctional and toxic school accountability system which is poisoning our schools, the education professionals working in schools, and our children.

"And at the centre of this dysfunctional and toxic school accountability system is Ofsted.

"Ofsted, more than anything else, creates mistrust in our schools. It creates divisions between leaders and teachers.

"Ofsted drives teachers and school leaders from the profession."

She said the inspectorate had to be scrapped: "Ofsted has to go. Ofsted must be abolished.

"The Greens and the Liberals have pledged to abolish Ofsted. We want Labour to make that pledge too and put it in its manifesto."

Dr Bousted added that schools should be held accountable "but in ways which are proportionate, focused and intelligent...which build teacher and school leader professionalism and keep them in the profession".

"Because no education system can succeed when it burns teachers and leaders up, and then throws them out."

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