Headteacher Rachel Hornsey deplores the shifting goalposts of school inspections. Plus letters from Dr Chris Pyle, Yvonne Williams and Prof Nick Megoran
Ofsted is forcing talented leaders and their teams into chronic stress (‘I can’t go through it again’: heads quit over ‘brutal’ Ofsted inspections, 27 November). As a headteacher, my vision must be maintained amid shifting goalposts. Prior to 2019, a school’s raw attainment data was enough to make or break an inspection grade. Since the new framework, it is whether your planned curriculum matches exactly what is in the books that is the deciding factor. And there has been a pandemic in between.
Meanwhile, a crisis in children’s services adds more responsibilities. Due to a 60% increase in referrals to the Oxfordshire multi-agency safeguarding hub and its lack of resources, work with vulnerable families has now fallen to schools. There are 25 full-time vacancies for health visitors in Oxfordshire. Since the pandemic, there have been no child development checks at year 1 and year 3 in our area. Children are arriving at school with a multitude of problems, and we are the first professionals to identify these.