ATL wants Ofsted to end its inspection system that gives schools an overall rating, claiming it should be radically overhauled.
This is not the first demand for Ofsted ratings to be reformed. Earlier this month a headteacher said that the ‘outstanding’ judgment carries too much weight and that the ‘inadequate’ rating should be replaced with ‘not good enough’, the Telegraph reports. New research shows that Ofsted’s tougher inspection regime may have contributed to the departure of one in four academy heads during the past year.
In a new report ATL says that the current system, with the one overall judgment of ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ does not reflect differences between and within schools. “The focus on a producing a single overall grade is meaningless and outmoded; data on pupil achievement in schools falling below current floor targets shows little difference between schools that Ofsted says ‘require improvement’ and those schools Ofsted has judged ‘good’,” the report says.
ATL’s alternative is for the inspection team to produce two documents which would be publicly available, setting out what is well done, where improvements could be made and any agreed action to be taken. “Both documents would have a clear focus on highlighting strengths, areas for improvement, steps the schools and its partners have agreed to take to address areas for improvement and sustain or boost strengths, including a monitoring timeline.”
Last week Ofsted’s Sean Harford repeated the watchdog’s intention to introduce frequent, shorter inspections of schools rated good, so that signs of decline can be spotted early and action taken. “The focus of these inspections will be on ensuring that the school continues to provide a good education, that leaders have identified key areas of concern, and that they are able to tackle them,” he said. “These shorter inspections, solidly based on a professional dialogue between school leadership and inspectors, will remove the ‘cliff-edge’, which we know can be a stressful experience for some.”
Do you agree that Ofsted’s system of giving schools an overall rating should be reformed and if so do you think their alternative would be better?