Ofsted's 'unsupportive' agenda provokes nationwide fire

11th December 2009 at 00:00

This study mentioned in "Majority of teachers still have no appetite for headship" (December 4) reflects a well-established trend in attitudes towards headship. What continues to puzzle me is why such studies do not seem to make any correlation between the declining applications for headship and the impact inspection can have on heads' job security and career prospects.

Findings from research I conducted last year showed that two out of three deputy heads who responded to the survey said the current Ofsted inspection arrangements made it less likely they would apply for headship.

As Mike Kent put it in the same edition, "knowing Ofsted is on the way often terrifies teachers". Some of the interviews I conducted with heads conveyed a similar anxiety. The impression arising is there is simply too much at stake for headteachers when their school is inspected.

It seems, to say the least, unfortunate that such dedicated professionals cannot have their leadership of schools assessed in a more refined way. The consequences of this blind spot about Ofsted for central and local government would seem to be clear: more and more unfilled headship vacancies.

Phil Goss, Senior lecturer, counselling and psychotherapy, School of Nursing, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire.

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