Call to halt Ofsted inspections for heads’ wellbeing

Pressure of ‘toxic’ graded inspections during the pandemic is driving school leaders from profession, the education secretary has been told

Graded Ofsted inspections during the Covid pandemic are “toxic” to the wellbeing of headteachers and should be stopped, a support service for school leaders has warned.

The organisation Headrest has written to education secretary Nadhim Zahawi and Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman to demand that inspections be halted over concerns that they are causing health problems and driving heads out of the profession.

Ofsted began some graded inspections last term and returned to a full programme of inspection in September.

The Headrest group said it has received calls from school leaders who need medication to manage their anxiety and workplace stress and that an impending Ofsted inspection is “often a key contributory factor”.

Read more in TES.

Teachers condemn Ofsted ‘reign of terror’

Ofsted has been accused of conducting a “reign of terror” in schools and wanting teachers to act like robots.

Dame Alison Peacock, head of the professional body for teaching, said teachers faced pressure to “stick to the script” in classrooms when they should be “inspired” and “joyful”.

The chief executive of the Chartered College of Teaching told an evidence session of the Times Education Commission yesterday: “Teachers are constantly looking over their shoulder, whether it’s about Ofsted judgments, whether it’s about attainment, whether it’s about workload — teachers are being driven.”

Of the regulator, she said: “Ofsted, frankly, it’s a reign of terror. They come in, they start to talk in highfalutin language about research outcomes and so on and curriculum coherence.

“It’s designed

To read more, see the Times article by Nicola Woolcock, Education Editor | Holly Papworth

Ofsted tells MFL teachers: don’t expose pupils to “unfamiliar” language as it is likely to demotivate them

Education Uncovered writes about how Ofsted has set out a vision for major changes to the way modern languages should be taught, in contrast to national curriculum. Ofsted’s ‘research review’, published in June, was not subject to much scrutiny but it sets out a vision whereby “novice” learners concentrate on basics of vocabulary, grammar and phonics, not engaging with naturalistic language until later. As quoted by Education Uncovered, “that seems to be a huge change for an inspectorate to be putting forward as an ideal, as is clear in this document, without this having been subject to any real debate, or consultation”. To read more, see the analysis here.

Zahawi wants Ofsted to help raise school attendance

Education secretary asks DfE to do a ‘deep dive into absenteeism’ as new figures show more than one in 10 pupils was off last week

Nadhim Zahawi has said he wants work with Ofsted to raise attendance levels as new figures showed more than one in 10 pupils was out of school last week.

He told an event at the Conservative Party conference tonight that one of his first acts as education secretary was to ask his department to do “a deep dive into what’s happening with absenteeism”.

To read more, click here (TES)