Ofsted tells its inspectors to smarten up

First it was a clampdown on scruffy teachers, now Ofsted has called on its own staff to “uphold the highest standards” when it comes to their choice of clothing.

The schools watchdog has issued a missive spelling out the need for all of its employees, particularly inspectors, to dress “appropriately” when representing the organisation.

According to the memo seen by TES, inspectors could undermine their professionalism “if, for example, you are a woman wearing oversized jewellery or a man wearing an earring or earrings”.

It is understood that the directive comes right from the top of the inspectorate. Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw is well known for his unflinching approach to details.

The memorandum was issued back in July to instruct the new intake of inspectors, who were drafted in following the watchdog’s purge of around 40 per cent of its inspection workforce.

But some headteachers believe that Ofsted would be better suited focusing on its main priorities, such as improving the quality of its inspections.

Geoff Barton, head of King Edward VI School in Suffolk, said: “While it’s good to see Ofsted paying attention to detail, many of us would like to see the same obsession with correctness being applied to their inspection judgements.”

This is an edited version of an article in the 8 January edition of TES. Subscribers can read the full article by clicking here. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here. Or pick up the magazine in all good newsagents.

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