It seems schools are not the only ones being assessed by Ofsted. Ofsted’s inspectors have been under the microscope and four in ten have been found to be ‘below par’. The results of these assessments have led to Ofsted firing 1,200 school and college inspectors.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the Head of Ofsted, announced last year that Ofsted would no longer use “additional inspectors”. The idea behind this is to try and improve the consistency and bring inspections in-house. Ofsted previously had been using approximately 3,000 additional inspectors, contracted in via inspection service providers. Sir Robin Bosher, Ofsted’s Head of Quality and Training stated that one of the key reasons for showing the door to so many of these inspectors was their lack of skill in writing reports, an area that has been a source of concern for many schools across England.
Last October it emerged that a senior school inspector had been accused of inappropriate copy and pasting in his reports, leading to him to be one of the first to be shown the door. If senior figures in Ofsted are doing this, this cause doubt for the rest of the inspectors and their reports? Sir Robin explained that he was confident that the new approach would calm head teachers fears over quality and consistency and that his absolute aim is to have the highest quality inspectors possible… But what about the schools they inspected? What now?
The dismissal of so many school inspectors led to key authority figures speaking out such as the NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby believes so, claiming that if “you look back, for the last few years we’ve been inspected by a group where 40% of inspectors weren’t up to the job”. After all these inspections can decide the future path of a school. Dr Mary Boustead general secretary of the ATL union said “it is unacceptable that these inspectors have been judging school quality – and coming to conclusions which, too often, lack validity and reliability”. All of this comes after education secretary has slammed “coasting schools” stating that any school not rated ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ by Ofsted facing being turned into academies. Will this still be carried out now that Ofsted’s inspectors have been found to be below standards themselves?
Sir Robin has said that Ofsted stand by the ratings given out by previous inspectors over the past few years. Yet how can this be the case with almost 40% of inspectors being deemed not good enough? Surely this means that 40% of reports are not valid? What do you think? What should Ofsted do now? Should schools below the ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ grade have the threat of being turned into an academy still? Or should they be reviewed once again when the inspectors are of appropriate quality? Have your say…