Ofsted inspectors to face tougher consequences for poor judgements

Ofsted inspectors will face greater consequences for issuing poor judgements on schools under a shake up of the entire inspection system, it has been suggested.

The watchdog is undergoing an overhaul in the way in which it works in a bid to try and improve the inspection system, after coming under fire from headteachers and politicians alike.

And Sean Harford, Ofsted’s director of schools, said on social media this morning that inspectors would be subjected to higher stakes as part of the inspectorate’s quality assurance drive.

Mr Harford was reponding to a tweet from educationist and writer David Didau, who said he wanted to see greater consequences for inspectors, and a more transparent system of holding them to account.

@LeadingLearner I’d add that inspection needs to higher stakes for inspectors. Needs to be transparent consequences for poor judgements.

— David Didau (@LearningSpy) May 28, 2015

@HarfordSean @LeadingLearner Excellent! Would love to hear more detail

— David Didau (@LearningSpy) May 28, 2015

The details, Mr Harford added, are being finalised now.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT headteachers’ union, said Ofsted was often too defensive when complaints were made by schools over individual judgements and that schools currently had very few options if they felt they had been treated unfairly.

“Ofsted needs a process where it can take feedback that isn’t a formal complaint and it needs to simplify its complaints system. Schools have a very limited window to complain about an inspection,” Mr Hobby said.

“Any complaints system would need independent investigators to look into it. Unless there was objective criteria it would be difficult to see how it would be policed.”

He added: “A further concern would be that inspectors may start using more vague and opaque language in their reports to avoid being held to account.”

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