Ofsted reform is needed now to rebuild trust in inspections

Our letter stops short of calling for Ofsted to be scrapped, writes Colin Richards, but reform is required now to make the inspectorate fit for purpose.

As a former HMI, I have gladly added my signature to the Positive Ofsted Reform open letter addressed this week to Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman.  

Ofsted has grown in power and influence since its creation 30 years ago. Initial reactions mostly involved suspicion. But that soon grew into anxiety. Later, outright fear. Today, it’s rare to find a school leader without a personal anecdote to tell of emotional turmoil when thinking about an Ofsted visit.

Ofsted now stands in need of fundamental reform, and I support every effort to get its leaders to listen to concerns from educationalists and teachers on the ground.

Last week, Ofsted’s national director for education claimed that a return to routine inspections after the Covid-19 pandemic was “the best way for Ofsted to support the [education] sector”. Almost simultaneously, the government committed an extra £24 million to support an acceleration of  inspections – and this at a time when schools are having to cope with ongoing Covid-related disruption and the long-term effects of closures.

Read more of ex-HMI Colin Richards’ article here on Schools Week

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