Let teachers teach, not pore over Ofsted folders

Inspections are a charade. Heads should strive for excellence, not ratings

Lucy Kellaway, Comment

Sunday December 18 2022, 12.01am, The Sunday Times

This year Ofsted inspectors marched into 500 of the best schools in the country, each of which had previously been declared “outstanding” and given a holiday of up to 15 years from further visits. More than 80 per cent were stripped of their top grade, and a few went straight to the bottom of the class, rated “requires improvement”.

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Ofsted pulls provider’s ‘inadequate’ report in unprecedented move

Re-inspection ordered six weeks after publication

Ofsted has taken the unprecedented step of unpublishing an ‘inadequate’ report for a training provider – and now plans to carry out a reinspection following an appeal.

UK Training & Development Limited (UKTD), based in Hemel Hampstead, was handed the lowest possible judgement in a report published in October. The outcome opened up the provider to contract termination from the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

The company’s owner threatened the inspectorate with legal action after saying she was “shocked” with the damaging report, which failed to consider the impact of Covid-19 on the hairdressing industry that her provider delivers apprenticeships to.

Read more here

The Times Education Commission calls for Ofsted to be reformed

Times Education Commission calls for schooling reset

Times report ‘brimming with good ideas’, says children’s commissioner

Dame Rachel de Souza, the children’s commissioner for England, said the report was “brimming with good ideas” and that she supported its calls for more digital inclusion.

She told Times Radio’s breakfast programme: “There’s some good stuff there and it’s a great time now to be thinking about it and being ambitious about education in this country.”

To read recommendation 9 about Ofsted reform, click here

MP accuses Ofsted of sending ‘inspection hit squad with pre-arranged agenda’ to Kettering school

The school was downgraded to requires improvement

The education watchdog has been accused of sending an ‘inspection hit squad with a pre-arranged agenda’ to a Kettering school.

Last month Bishop Stopford School was downgraded by Ofsted from outstanding – a rating it had held since 2008 – to requires improvement.

The Headlands school’s headteacher said she was ‘extremely disappointed’ by the report, with a formal complaint lodged over the inspection process.

Read more in the local newspaper here