Ofsted ratings do more harm than good, say head teachers
OFSTED should scrap its “outstanding” rating because the current system limits ambition, according to a head teachers organisation.
The system incentivises self-interest, diverts attention from teaching and learning, and limits ambition, states a report published by the National Association of Head Teachers.
Nick Brook, the association’s deputy general secretary and chairman of its commission on accountability, said: “The way in which schools are being held to account is, on balance, doing more harm than good.
“The Accountability Commission is intended to be a constructive contribution. It cannot be right that teachers are put off working in schools in challenging
‘Teachers are put off schools in challenging areas because the inspection system will not treat them fairly’
areas because they simply do not believe that the inspection system will treat them fairly for doing so.”
Mr Brook added that fear of accountability had changed how some schools were led and the recommendations would reduce many of the negative impacts associated with the system.
Suggesting the scrapping of the “outstanding” judgment, the report, Improving School Accountability, said it did not describe the pinnacle of educational excellence and there were few incentives to look beyond it.
Speaking at the launch of the report yesterday, Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools said: “It is worrying when any system becomes overreliant on data. We have seen the ways that things can go wrong.
“I have been very clear that we should be focused on what is happening in schools and what is being taught, what the substance of education is and how it is happening.”
The report has made nine recommendations, including a demand that comparative data should be used by Ofsted to inform judgments of school effectiveness. It also suggests the body should commission research to ascertain the format and nature of inspection required, and that the Department for Education should use a “requires improvement” judgment as a trigger for funded support.