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Teachers asked to 'inspect' Ofsted

Teachers are being given the opportunity to “inspect” their own Ofsted inspectors through an internet site being launched today by a teaching union.

The NASUWT wants teachers observed during an inspection to go online immediately afterwards and critique their inspector. They will be able to report on the inspector’s behaviour and whether they followed Ofsted’s inspection rules.

“The online tool we have launched today is a major step in the strong resistance that now needs to be mounted against punitive accountability,” said Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary.

“It will empower teachers and school leaders to take back some professional control.”

The move is the latest in a series attacks on the embattled inspectorate, which yesterday was condemned by Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers union (ATL), as “a busted flush” in need of radical transformation.

The NASUWT plans to use information submitted on Ofsted through its website to identify recurring problems with particular inspection teams or lead inspectors and assess the consistency of judgements.

The tool will also allow school staff to evaluate the entire process after an inspection has finished.

The union is developing similar programs to evaluate school inspections by Estyn in Wales and ETI in Northern Ireland. It fears the two inspectorates are following the Ofsted model that it is so unhappy about.

“The accountability system must be fit for purpose and secure public trust and confidence,” Ms Keates said. “Ofsted meets none of those criteria and disappointingly inspection systems in other parts of the UK are emulating this flawed model.

“The Ofsted brand is now seriously tainted. It is increasingly seen not as an independent regulator, acting in the public interest, holding government to account, but the highly-politicised agent of the secretary of state, enforcing coalition education policies in schools.”

On Saturday, delegates at the union’s annual conference in Birmingham are expected to vote for a motion describing Ofsted as “not fit for purpose”.

Earlier this week, ATL members said Ofsted needed a new charter to improve the reliability of inspection and voted that it had lost “almost all credibility with the teaching profession”.

The NASUWT is not the first teachers’ organisation to encourage its members to evaluate Ofsted’s performance.

In 2012 the NAHT heads' union said that it was launching a website called School View to allow heads to have a say on inspectors’ performance.

Ofsted declined to comment.

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