Sir Tim Brighouse: 'My three-part plan to radically rethink Ofsted'

22nd November 2014 at 06:00

A radical overhaul of Ofsted is needed to address concerns about inconsistency between inspectors, Sir Tim Brighouse claims.

Writing exclusively for TES, the former London schools commissioner calls for a new inspection system based on self-evaluation, in response to “growing disquiet about Ofsted’s reliability and independence”.

“Doubts have been raised about the unreasonable variability in inspectors’ judgements of individual schools,” he writes. “The way in which the organisation itself may be unduly influenced by government is also under scrutiny."

He calls for key three changes:

  • Redefining inspection. Schools should be graded on the basis of their own self-evaluation, as well as attainment levels. "It is worth reminding ourselves that we are the only developed country with such an elaborate system of school accountability, based essentially on professional mistrust," he writes.
  • Redefining evidence. Ofsted should focus on collecting reliable evidence on the state of education across the country. This should be achieved through carrying out surveys of subjects and sectors. "In effect, Ofsted's role would be the educational equivalent of the Office of Budget Responsibility," Sir Tim adds.
  • Redefining advice. Ofsted should provide independent evidence to the education secretary to inform policy decisions, based on its own data and external research. This, Sir Tim says, would mean "no education secretary can ever be in any doubt about what the evidence says".


Read the full article in the 21 November edition of TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.

Related stories:

Ofsted data reveals 'weakness and inconsistency' of inspections, headteachers say - November 2014

‘Ofsted and the DfE must take a look at themselves before analysing how we manage our workload’ - November 2014

Ofsted is 'unlikely to win any popularity contests', Wilshaw says 31 October 2014


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today