Opinion Former Article

NASUWT: Ofsted language change could be used to force privatisation on schools

Commenting on the announcement of further changes to the Ofsted inspection framework, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

"The NASUWT, in common with all teachers and parents, wants every school to aspire to be a great school, but the announcement of yet more reform to the inspection framework for schools in England comes just six months after changes initiated by the Secretary of State.

"Parents and the public are entitled to expect an independent inspection system that holds schools properly to account to raise standards, free from government meddling and interference. The Secretary of State should take note.

“The Chief Inspector has listened to concerns about no notice inspection and changes to the inspection grading system which replace ‘satisfactory’ with a ‘requires improvement’ grade.

“Political denigration of the achievements of schools has undermined confidence in the use of the term 'satisfactory' as a judgement for a school's overall performance. It is important that the change of language is not also abused by government ministers and others as a justification for forcing structural reform and privatisation onto schools.

“If the Chief Inspector is serious about wanting to support school improvement and excellence across the system, he will need to ensure that Ofsted is equipped and capable of offering schools practical support between inspections.

“In raising the inspection bar and requiring ‘outstanding’ schools to have ‘outstanding’ teaching, it is vital that schools can have confidence in Ofsted’s ability to make secure and consistent judgements on teaching quality and that all inspectors can demonstrate they have relevant and recent experience of classroom teaching.

“It is deeply regrettable that despite claims to the contrary, Ofsted is also seeking to micro-manage schools by placing a new requirement on schools to provide information on the performance management appraisals of individual teachers. It is not clear that Ofsted has thought through the practical implications or demonstrated how this change of approach will contribute to raising educational standards in schools.

“The unintended consequences of this change could be seriously damaging to the professional morale and confidence of teachers and, if badly implemented, would seriously undermine industrial relations and educational standards across all schools.”


Lena Davies
Journalist and acting press officer
Campaigns and Communications Team
0121 457 6250 / 07867 392 746

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