ASCL launches discussion on replacing Ofsted grades with report cards

ASCL has today published a discussion paper which considers how inspections might work if based upon ‘report cards’ rather than single-phrase judgements.
Coming at a time when Labour has committed to ending graded judgements – which are widely recognised as being too blunt and driving disproportionate stress and anxiety among education staff – the paper explores different models of report card-based systems. It also considers how the government could continue to identify schools in need of support.
ASCL’s view is that a new model should do three things. Firstly, it should be based on a new, slim set of statutory standards, which all state schools would be expected to meet or exceed. Secondly, inspections should carefully and consistently judge whether or not schools meet these standards. Thirdly, schools which do not meet these standards should generally be supported to do so by their trust or local authority unless there are concerns about the capacity to provide the support required.
Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “There is widespread consensus on the need to move away from graded inspection judgements, and much warmth towards an approach based on report cards. However, as with any major policy change, the way in which this is implemented is crucial. The last thing we need is the replacement of one flawed system with another flawed system.
“This paper sets out ASCL’s current thinking and represents an invitation to others to contribute to our ongoing work in this area. It is imperative that the profession and the new government work together to develop a strong, collaborative and more humane approach to school inspections.”

The full discussion paper is available to read here.