Education inspectors urged to scrap ‘outstanding’ rating for schools
OFSTED SHOULD scrap its “outstanding” rating and replace it with a more robust system for identifying specific excellence, a report has recommended.
The school inspections body should also adopt a new role focusing on identifying failure, according to the Improving School Accountability report published by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT).
It said the current system limits ambition, incentivises self-interest and diverts attention from teaching and learning. Nick Brook, NAHT’s deputy general secretary and the chairman of the association’s commission on accountability, said: “The way in which schools are being held to account is, on balance, doing more harm than good.
“NAHT’s Accountability Commission is intended to be a constructive contribution, to start a debate that is urgently needed on the future of school accountability. It cannot be right that teachers and leaders are put off working in schools in challenging areas because they simply do not believe that the inspection system will treat them fairly for doing so.”
He added that fear of accountability has changed how many schools are led and the recommendations would reduce many of the negative impacts associated with the system. Suggesting the scrapping of the “outstanding” judgment, the report said it does not describe the pinnacle of excellence and there are few incentives to look beyond it.
Speaking at the launch of the NAHT’s accountability report, the chief inspector of schools, Amanda Spielman, said: “There isn’t a holy grail – we can see that balance is required. I have been very clear that we should be focused on what is happening in schools.”