ASCL comment on Ofsted’s changes to online inspection reports

Pepe Di’Iasio, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to Ofsted’s move to display inspection sub-judgements at the top of the report web page along with the overall effectiveness grade.
“While we welcome the intention to give parents a more rounded picture of a school than just the headline single-phrase judgement which is the cause of so many problems, this is just a cosmetic change.
“The problem with the inspection system is not presentational but the fact that reducing everything that a school does to a blunt label is inherently flawed and deeply destructive. It raises the stakes of an inspection to a level that is certain to cause stress and anxiety, drive people out of the profession, and which is often counterproductive when a negative grade stigmatises a school.
“It is disappointing that Ofsted’s Big Listen does not actually ask respondents for a view about single-phrase judgements when this is the single most pressing issue. We understand that scrapping these judgements is a matter for the government rather than Ofsted, but there really should be a conduit for views on this matter. We are encouraging school and college leaders to share their views on single-phrase judgements in their response to the Big Listen, despite this not being explicitly requested.
“The government must stop digging in its feet over this issue, listen to the virtual consensus in favour of scrapping single-phrase judgements, and act now.”