As headteachers in a successful local authority, we have embraced many of the changes expected of schools in recent years. However, the new Ofsted inspection framework is not going to help us to improve secondary schools further in Hertfordshire.
The old framework was generally motivating and encouraged high aspirations; the new one is both strategically and practically flawed. It is also thoroughly demoralising and creates both frustration and resignation.
Compliance with government guidance and procedures should not be enforced by punitive judgments. The limiting factors on judgments should be revised to create an even-handed approach to all schools, irrespective of attainment on entry or deprivation factors.
Taken together, we lack confidence in the judgments being made by inspection teams, not because of their capability, but because of the constraints placed on them by the new framework. The above concerns represent a real barrier to school improvement and risk reversing recent advancements in our secondaries.
Peter Baker, Chair, Hertfordshire Association of Secondary School Headteachers (HASSH).