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'Scrapping school inspections is a bad idea', warns Finnish expert

For teachers struggling with the stress of Ofsted inspections, Finland has long been held up as an educational nirvana. It is a land in which schools are not inspected and teachers are trusted to get on with the job.

But Pasi Sahlberg, Finland's leading advocate on the global stage, has cautioned other countries against scrapping school inspections. In this week’s TES, Mr Sahlberg, a former Finnish government official, advises against their wholesale removal.

Although the policy has proved to be a big success in Finland, life without inspection could pose risks in countries such as the UK, Mr Sahlberg said.

“In some places, where there are a lot of teachers from Teach for America or Teach First who will only be in the classroom for a couple of years, I can see why you wouldn’t want to get rid of inspection,” he said.

“If anybody is considering doing away with inspection or doing away with the old inspectorate function, one thing to consider is that you can get rid of inspectors but don’t throw away the inspection.

"Turn it into a self-evaluation. I don’t think it is the right message to schools to say: ‘You can do whatever you want to do.’ You need to have the same function but in a different way.”

For more on this story, read this week's TES on your tablet or phone by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up in all good newsagents.

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