The education secretary has urged schools to “call out” Ofsted when its inspectors demand inappropriate amounts of data.
Damian Hinds spoke after hearing from an academy leader that some inspectors “quite frankly do not get the plot” on reducing workload.
Mr Hinds was speaking at a meeting at the Conservative Party conference this morning, jointly hosted by Tes.
Ros McMullen, executive principal of the Midland Academies Trust, said Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman “says some wonderful things” on workload, but added: “There are some [inspectors] who quite frankly do not get the plot on this, and if you don’t have the truckload of data, they start punishing you.
“In this system driven by fear, it makes people very, very exposed, and headteachers are called on now to be really brave.
“Being really brave in an accountability system driven by fear isn’t easy.”
Mr Hinds, who earlier said data collection, planning and marking could involve an “inordinate” amount of time for some teachers, told the meeting that “a whole-system approach” was needed to reduce workload.
He said: “It does involve Ofsted reaffirming, and to be fair I think they do reaffirm frequently, that we do not need to see these things.
“If that happens on the ground, as a profession, we need to call that out and bring it up, and Ofsted I think welcomes that.”
See his comments 61 minutes into the Facebook Live video of the meeting.
“School standards: is the system safe in head teachers’ hands?”, with education secretary Damian Hinds at a Tes, EPI and NAHT event at Conservative Party ConferencePosted by Tes on Monday, 1 October 2018
When challenged by Ms McMullen, who said that Ofsted did not like receiving complaints, Mr Hinds said: “I meant to tell them that it is happening, because that is the first step to changing it.
“Clearly, there is still too much data collection, there is still too much data analysis, going on in the system out of proportion to the beneficial effect that can have on the kids’ education.
“That’s not the same thing at all as saying data does not have value. It’s a question about proportion and what it is going to be used for.”