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OFSTED Inspections

Major changes were made to Ofsted inspections in January 2012 with further changes due to be implemented this September.

Schools will now face ‘no notice’ inspections where inspectors turn up without prior warning.

Inspection judgements are also getting more punitive-from September schools previously judged to be ‘satisfactory will be labelled ‘requires improvement. These schools will then have three years in which to be become at least ‘good’ or face being placed in special measures and possibly forced into becoming an academy.   

In future, no school will be able to be judged as ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ without the quality of teaching also being rated at the same level.  

It is important that schools are accountable and can prove they are providing a good standard of education and care for their students. External inspections are an important part of this process but concerns are increasing at the power Ofsted is exerting over pupils’ education.

Concerns include:

  • Schools judged on a ‘snapshot’ - By their very nature Ofsted inspections can only be a “snapshot” of a school on a particular day. They cannot be an accurate assessment of the quality of teaching and learning yet Ofsted’s judgment has huge implications for a schools’ future;
  • Diverts teachers’ focus - teachers are increasingly reporting that they are spending huge amounts of time preparing for inspections. This distracts them from focusing on the needs of pupils;
  • Inspection drives teaching - the high-stakes inspection system creates a tick-box culture which inhibits teachers from delivering a stimulating and innovative curriculum;
  • Breeds competition not cooperation - the nature of the Ofsted regime and the public grading system sets schools in competition against each other rather than striving to work together for the good of all children;
  • Divisive - the system creates winners and losers with schools judged to be outstanding left alone while schools labelled satisfactory or inadequate threatened with a change of staff and forced to become an academy, often run for private profit.