Opinion Former Article

NUT: Sir Michael Wilshaw has obviously decided Ofsted should go on being punitive

Commenting on Ofsted’s announcement of changes to inspections of schools from September 2012, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The launch of new inspection arrangements by the Chief Inspector of Schools, just months after arrangements changed significantly in January this year, will do nothing to reassure the teaching profession that Ofsted is independent of political control.

“Sir Michael Wilshaw has obviously decided that rather than being developmental and supportive, Ofsted inspections will continue to be punitive and high-stakes for schools, teachers and head teachers.

“This relentless onslaught on dedicated and committed teachers by Ofsted must stop. School leaders feel entirely ground down by Ofsted. Many teachers and school leaders are now looking to early retirement, or just resigning rather than face further inspections. Giving head teachers notice of inspections the day before, rather than none whatsoever, as earlier threatened by Sir Michael, will do nothing to alter this mood.

“There should be no ‘one size fits all’ deadline for improvement. Head teachers of schools needing additional support should be offered the support and funding needed not issued with threats of special measures or academy conversion. This is to the benefit of no one, most especially children and young people. Defining schools by criteria which rarely reflect the work that they are doing is simply demoralising for both staff and pupils.

“The new system seems to be designed to engineer more schools being removed from local authorities and the communities they serve and being handed over to various academy sponsors. As with so many new policies and announcements this is more about politics and very little about the best way forward for the education of children and young people, to which the NUT is committed.”

END pr90-2012
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