ASCL comment on launch of inquiry into Ofsted inspections

Tom Middlehurst, Curriculum, Assessment and Inspection Specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the announcement that the Education Committee has launched an inquiry to examine the way in which Ofsted inspects schools.
“We welcome this inquiry and in particular its focus on single-phrase judgements. While this has been an area of concern among school leaders for a long time, it has been brought sharply into focus following the death of headteacher Ruth Perry. It is simply not right to label something as complex as a school or college with a single phrase, with major consequences for those involved. We know there are better ways to hold schools accountable, and provide information for parents, which are both more accurate and less damaging to the mental health and wellbeing of teachers and leaders.

“Although Ofsted has announced some positive changes to the inspection process this week, they have continued to duck the vital issue of single-phrase judgements despite almost unanimous agreement from the education profession that things must urgently change. Neither Ofsted nor the Department for Education seem willing or able to face up to this problem and we are pleased that this issue will now be given parliamentary scrutiny.”