Pull the plug on a monstrous quango

30th January 2009 at 00:00

What a joy it has been to read Mike Kent's articles on Ofsted. It's about time that the profession pulled the plug on this monstrous, self-policing quango. Mike is quite correct in his assertion that there is not a shred of evidence that Ofsted has raised standards in schools.

What your back-page columnist correctly states (but under-emphasises) is the distress it causes to individuals and to whole communities when its judgments - which are unchallengeable and based on shifting parameters - record that a school is failing.

Fear of inspection has led to illness and, in some cases, tragedy.

I recently attended a national conference on community cohesion in which a senior Ofsted official proudly asserted that its inspectors had been fully trained in this aspect. When questioned further, he revealed that this consisted of "one day's training plus a little on-line training".

Quite rightly this was met with hoots of laughter. But it begs the question: what training did the Haringey team have? Because Ofsted operates to a data-led formula, it does not genuinely explore the context.

In these times of recession and cutbacks, if Mr Balls reads this letter, perhaps he could find a quick, effective and vote-winning cut that would do no harm whatsoever to education.

Alun Pelleschi, Shipley, West Yorkshire.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today