Teachers have voted to continue a campaign for the abolition of Ofsted and league tables and to develop an alternative framework for accountability based on self-evaluation.
Teachers at the NEU annual teaching conference this morning backed a motion that noted how demands created by accountability were “the most significant cause” of teachers’ and school leaders’ excessive workload leading to nearly 40 per cent of teachers leaving the classroom within five years of qualification.
Moving the motion, Dan Austin said the new Ofsted framework was creating “unbelievable” levels of work, especially for primary schools.
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NEU executive member Deirdre Murphy, a former headteacher who seconded the motion, said: “We need a very clear alternative for evaluating schools and one that is fit for purpose and recognises that we [schools] are accountable…but which gathers information in a non-threatening way to provide insight.”
“There is a growing commitment to abolish Ofsted but now [amid the pandemic] there is a very real chance to provide an alternative.”
The motion rejects Ofsted’s claims that its new inspection framework was fairer to schools in disadvantaged areas and also states that:
- Ofsted and league tables place schools in competition with each other, leading to growing inequality between schools.
- Ofsted’s own report (June 2019) illustrates the lack of reliability between inspectors, questioning the accuracy of Ofsted’s findings.
- The new framework is not fit for primary schools, where teachers may have accountability for subject areas while receiving no TLR payment, and freedom of information requests have revealed that no special educational needs and disability expert groups were involved in its development.
- Ofsted cannot “match” inspectors who are qualified and experienced in subjects/phases to judge the curriculum through “deep dives” and “work scrutiny” in those subjects/phases.
The motion also calls on the union to “build support for an alternative vision for school accountability, working with all political parties to achieve a framework that supports social justice in and through education”.
Ofsted has been contacted for comment.