Nottinghamshire teachers’ union rep says Ofsted is ‘not fit for purpose’

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Teachers believe education watchdog Ofsted “isn’t fit for purpose”, a Nottinghamshire union representative has said after a damning inquiry into the regulator.

An inquiry published this week recommends sweeping changes to the system of how schools are monitored and inspected.

Rob Illingworth, president of the Nottinghamshire branch of the National Education Union (NEU), said Ofsted visits cause greater stress and workload for teachers without giving much insight into a school’s performance.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He called for a new system which would support schools rather than punish them.

The Nottinghamshire branch of the NEU says Ofsted is 'not fit for purpose'. Photo: OtherThe Nottinghamshire branch of the NEU says Ofsted is 'not fit for purpose'. Photo: Other
The Nottinghamshire branch of the NEU says Ofsted is 'not fit for purpose'. Photo: Other

Ofsted says its inspections are a way of ensuring high standards of education for all children.

Mr Illingworth said: “It’s unanimous amongst teachers that Ofsted isn’t fit for purpose.

“The Government says Ofsted ratings give parents confidence, but I don’t know a single one who uses them.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“They aren’t even that accurate – looking at the school tells you much more.

“I’ve worked at a school that has been rated as ‘Good’, ‘Requires Improvement’ and ‘Inadequate’, and I haven’t seen much difference on the ground between those years.

“It’s more to do with results than teaching and we know lower socio-economic areas have a harder time getting high results.”

Controversy has surrounded Ofsted since Berkshire headteacher Ruth Perry took her own life in January, following news her school was being downgraded from ‘Outstanding’ to ‘Requires Improvement’.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Illingworth said inspections are ‘very high stakes’ and can lead to lots of additional work for teachers.

He continued: "One inspection might create an extra 50 hours of work a year, and then another, and then another.”

The Beyond Ofsted inquiry, led by former schools minister Lord Knight and funded by the NEU, recommends schools be allowed to carry out their own improvement plans.

However, Mr Illingworth worried this wouldn’t be fair as ‘academy trusts have no reason to be objective’.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He added: “Schools used to be monitored by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate, which was more supportive and offered guidance – I would like to see something like that come back.”

An Ofsted spokesperson said: “Children only get one chance at education and inspection helps make sure standards are high for all children.

“We always want inspections to be a constructive experience for school staff.

“Our inspectors are all former or current school leaders and well understand the nature and pressures of the work.”