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Ofsted reluctant to introduce new school check on teacher workload

Amanda Spielman says she doesn't want inspectorate to become "a wedge between staff and management"

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Amanda Spielman says she doesn't want inspectorate to become "a wedge between staff and management"

Ofsted is reluctant to formally assess schools on their approach to workload, the chief inspector said today.

Amanda Spielman said that adding workload to Ofsted's inspection framework could result in "perverse incentives", though she said the inspectorate would not rule out "taking a closer look at workload on inspection".

In September Ofsted, added a new question to its staff questionnaire, asking teachers whether leaders and managers take workload into account when developing and implementing new policies and procedures so as to avoid placing unnecessary burdens on staff.

Speaking at the Association of School and College Leaders conference in Birmingham this morning, Ms Spielman said that initial findings showed that 77 per cent agreed or agreed strongly that leaders do take workload into account, with only 8 per disagreeing or strongly disagreeing. 

However, she said this information was not used by Ofsted to "downgrade" judgements, but as "part of that discussion with you about the way you run your schools”.

On the question of whether Ofsted could take a more formal approach to workload during its inspections, she said: “I’m loath to go any further just at the moment to commit Ofsted to directly judging leaders approach to workload.

"I’m sure there is room for us to look at more under the leadership and management judgement, but adding something to the Ofsted framework rarely has a subtle impact.

"Unless we think through our approach carefully, perverse incentives will follow, and the very last thing I want is for Ofsted to become a wedge between staff and management".

However, she added: "I’m not ruling out taking a closer look at workload on inspection, but I want to do this gradually and in discussion with the sector.”



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