NASUWT: Ofsted makes it up as it goes along

Commenting on the Ofsted Annual Report, published today, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers' union, said:

"As with every other Chief Inspector's Annual Report published during Ofsted's two decades of existence, this year's edition claims that the education system in England is improving but is falling significantly short of the mark.

"While Sir Michael Wilshaw's reprise of this well-worn assertion will come as no surprise to teachers and school leaders, it does beg important questions about the role Ofsted has played in maintaining and enhancing the quality of education offered in England's schools.

"It is rather absurd for Ofsted to continue to seek to justify its existence by claiming that it has played a critical role in securing school improvement whilst repeating year-on-year its 20-year-old mantra that the education system in England simply isn't good enough.

"If the observations Ofsted makes year-in and year-out about standards in the education system are accepted at face value, they surely invite reflection on the extent to which it has any meaningful role to play in raising levels of pupil progress and achievement.

“The shortcomings in the current Ofsted inspection framework are evident from some of the emphases in the Annual Report. On behaviour, for example, today the report blames school leaders for poor discipline while only recently the Chief Inspector blamed poor teaching. The public will be right to question whether Ofsted makes it up as it goes along while schools pick up the pieces of Ofsted’s inconsistent approach.

“It is telling that the Annual Report, while continuing to apportion blame for alleged problems in the education system to others, yet again fails to examine Ofsted's own culpability, given its self-styled role as a principal driver of higher standards in schools.

"The simple facts are that Ofsted has peddled a high stakes and punitive system of school inspection that has created a climate of fear among teachers and school leaders.

“No other education system, including those often cited as high performing and fast improving by ministers, has resorted to use of such crude approaches to holding schools to public account for their work as those in place in England.

“Today's publication of the Ofsted Annual Report should provoke a public demand that the development of an alternative, more positive, supportive and effective system of school inspection is now long overdue.”


Lena Davies
Press and Media Officer
0121 457 6250 / 07867 392746