Of­sted rat­ings do more harm than good, say head teach­ers

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Daily Tele­graph Re­porter

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.

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