Crying out for a break from Ofsted's 'overblown regime'

15th January 2010 at 00:00

'With its latest report, the children, schools and families committee has again hit the nail on the head, recognising what is obvious and practical to schools but which the Government cannot or will not see ("Ofsted told to shift focus from results to teaching", January 8). Schools are being smothered by a suffocating tide of initiatives, targets and tests from a headline-obsessed government, and inspected by a creaking, overblown bureaucratic regime.

Schools are crying out to get away from teaching to tests and for a "period of stability and a chance for their own efforts to improve performance to bear fruit", as committee chair Barry Sheerman put it.

Teaching and support staff are professionals and should be treated as such, and allowed to use their own judgment and training, rather than being patronised, herded and force-fed by targets, tasks and toolkits from Whitehall and Ofsted.

I am delighted the committee believes that the school report card "should not carry an overall score". Voice agrees that "a report card can never be a full account of a school's performance", which should be about more than tests and targets. Schools are already the most over-inspected, over-accountable, minutely examined institutions in the country, so a "B-plus, could do better" style of mark would be shallow, pointless and meaningless.

Philip Parkin, General secretary, Voice: the union for education professionals, Derby.

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