ASCL comment on Labour plans to reform Ofsted

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson’s planned speech to ASCL Annual Conference outlining how Labour would consult on a new ‘report card’ to replace Ofsted’s four headline grades.
“Labour is clearly putting more flesh on the bones of its education policies as we approach a General Election, and the direction of travel it is setting out is very refreshing. The current system of Ofsted graded judgements of schools and colleges is too blunt and reductive. There is so much more to a school or college than a single descriptor, and when that judgement is negative it is actually stigmatising and makes it more difficult to secure improvement. That is totally counterproductive and the system must change. A report card has the potential to provide a much fuller and fairer picture of schools and colleges while also being more informative for parents and carers.
“An annual review of safeguarding is also an idea that we welcome. This is such a vital area that it makes sense to detach it from the normal cycle of educational inspections, and give schools, colleges and families an annual assurance that the correct processes and systems are in place over the welfare of pupils. Safeguarding is the number one priority of everyone in education and this proposed approach reflects that.”