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Ofsted is 'unlikely to win any popularity contests', Wilshaw says

Sir Michael Wilshaw has admitted that Ofsted is “unlikely to win any popularity contests”, in response to criticism from council leaders today.

The chief inspector made his comments in a speech to councillors, as he hit back at claims from the Local Government Association that the watchdog had “lost credibility”.

Earlier today, the LGA called for an independent review of Ofsted over concerns about changes to school judgements. It pointed to the inspectorate's “habit of re-inspecting schools when they hit the headlines” and highlighted the recent Trojan Horse scandal in Birmingham. 

But, speaking at the National Children and Adult Services conference in Manchester, Sir Michael insisted that he was standing up for headteachers who were trying to raise standards for their pupils.

"Those of you who would question why outstanding schools in Birmingham could so quickly decline to inadequate have very little understanding of how things can go so badly wrong, when sudden changes in leadership trigger a set of events that lead to failure," he warned.

"Those headteachers who had spent their careers improving schools in Birmingham were intimidated and marginalised out of their jobs and received little or no support from the local authority.

"Have you learned the lessons of Birmingham and the way in which you should listen to what teachers and headteachers are saying about what's going on in their schools?" Sir Michael continued. "Is a spot of Ofsted-bashing displacement activity?"

Too often, he added, local authorities had been seen as “obstacles to change” by those in power.

"You know that there are those who would say that you have spent too much time over the years conceding to vested interests and championing the supplier over the consumer – the children and young people in our schools,” he said.

Related stories:

Councils call for review to prove Ofsted is 'independent and credible' - October 2014

Head was 'mistakenly' warned ahead of inspection, Ofsted admits - September 2014

Ofsted launches wave of no-notice inspections - September 2014

Ofsted scraps grades for individual lessons - August 2014

Ofsted must scrap 'quality of teaching' from inspections - July 2014

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