Ofsted should judge schools on teacher workload, union demands

But delegate says teachers lie to inspectors so their school does not get a poor grade

Concerns have been raised about Ofsted's curriculum research

Ofsted should judge schools on the workload their leaders place on members of staff, teachers have said.

NASUWT delegates this afternoon heard how teachers at one school suffered panic attacks when inspectors returned for a second inspection.

Others outlined how Ofsted was contributing to teacher workload, despite publishing a ‘myth buster’ document to stop heads giving teachers unnecessary paperwork to provide evidence for inspectors.

Sian Hunt of Herefordshire told delegates about the effect of inspectors returning to her school days after an initial inspection gathered “insufficient evidence”.

“I have staff now who are having panic attacks; coming into my classroom and have full-on panic attacks because they now don’t know what to do,” she said.

The conference also called for the inspectorate’s questionnaire for teachers to be reformed to make it easier for staff to raise concerns about workload.

However, Jacqueline Moore, of Central Befordshire, said: “I have learned that, to be honest we all lie to Ofsted. We don’t tell them the truth.

“We don’t tell them the truth because we don’t want to be the one that hands them the stick that they can then beat our school with.

“We know what happens when we fail, and therefore we don’t want to fail.”

She said she could have told Ofsted during four inspections that she was overworked, but she didn’t “because I didn’t believe that that would make the situation better. I thought it would make the situation worse”.

Colin Surrey, a member of the union’s national executive, said many schools were not adhering to Ofsted’s ‘myth busters’ document, and government attempts to reduce workload had “blown away in the wind”.

He told delegates: “It is untenable when teachers and schools leaders are overworked and browbeaten by an unjust inspection system.

“Therefore, whilst the Ofsted inspection framework remains in its current form, we will not see any meaningful, valid assessment of the quality of schools, or any meaningful attempt to tackle workload, recruitment or retention.”

The motion called for the union’s executive committee to campaign for Ofsted to include school leaders’ responsibility to reduce workload in its leadership and management judgements, and to “take into account the context of an educational setting when making judgements”.

It was passed unanimously.

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