National Audit Office – Value for Money Study: Ofsted’s Inspection of Schools

A response from ASCL.

ASCL recognises the existence of Ofsted as an independent inspector of schools. The intended function of inspection is, as Ofsted states, to “achieve excellence in education and skills for learners of all ages.” In doing so, it is appropriate that schools face external scrutiny and that inspection acts as a safeguard of children’s interests by investigating educational standards at both school level and across the system, providing insight to support improvement within the school-led system.

However, the paradigm within which school inspection currently operates is increasingly at odds with a school system which has undergone significant change and is now, according to the inspectorate’s own metrics, operating at a ‘good or better’ standard across the overwhelming majority of schools (89%). The growing distance between how inspection operates and what the system needs is in danger of undermining the very standards Ofsted seeks to uphold. Significant changes to the way schools are inspected are essential if we are to redress the damaging compliance culture generated in part by current inspection methods and unleash the potential which exists in an increasingly school-led system.

Read the full response here.