Three-quarters of school leaders are unhappy with Michael Gove’s track record as education secretary – even though almost half think standards have improved over the last four years.
And although two-thirds think Ofsted’s judgements are inaccurate, most agree when it comes to the verdict on the quality of teaching at their school.
The survey of school leaders and governors, carried out by Ipsos MORI for school information and advice service The Key, found that 47 per cent declared themselves “very dissatisfied” with the government’s performance on education, with another 28 per cent “fairly dissatisfied” – an overall disapproval rate of 75 per cent.
This contrasts with the 54 per cent who said they were very or fairly dissatisfied in a 2010 survey, and the 40 per cent who felt the same in 2004.
But, despite this level of unhappiness, only 20 per cent thought the quality of education had declined since the coalition came to power, with 47 per cent saying it had got better.
There was a similar contradictory attitude towards Ofsted. Overall, 64 per cent said its judgements were inaccurate, but when it came to their own school there was more agreement with inspectors’ findings.
In schools rated outstanding, 79 per cent of heads said the quality of teaching was excellent or good. This fell to 63 per cent in schools rated good, 34 per cent in schools classed as in need of improvement and only 10 per cent where schools were judged inadequate.
The survey also found that 72 per cent of school leaders overall were happy in their job, with the figure highest in outstanding schools (82 per cent) and lowest in schools rated inadequate (57 per cent).
But 66 per cent believed morale nationally was poor and 82 per cent thought it had got worse since 2010.
Perceptions of pupils’ happiness varied according to type of school. In non-academies, 72 per cent of school leaders thought their pupils were very happy, while in academies it was just 59 per cent.