Sir Michael Wilshaw could have given more ‘trust and encouragement’ to school leaders, union says

The outgoing head of Ofsted could have given schools leaders “more trust and encouragement”, a headteachers’ union has said.

Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), criticised Ofsted for becoming less independent over recent years. He told TES: “They haven’t actually looked directly at the impact of government policy.”

In previous years chief inspectors used to comment on the effectiveness of government policy, as well as the quality of schools, according to the heads’ union leader. “Successive governments have weakened that strand of the inspectorate,” Mr Trobe added.

The comments were made ahead of the speech of Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted chief inspector, who will address approximately 1,000 school leaders at the ASCL conference in Birmingham later today.

On Sir Michael’s time in the role, Mr Trobe stressed that the union would have liked to have seen “more positive messaging” from the outgoing chief inspector.

He said: “A lot of moving forward is a mixture of carrot and stick. It has probably been a little bit too much stick and not quite enough carrot – i.e. trust and encouragement. We hope that we will get some trust and encouragement today.”

Commenting on the future role of Ofsted, Mr Trobe added that a “tighter focus” on education would be welcome. He said: “The difficulty is that the breadth of provision that Ofsted has been asked to cover probably is too great really and it would be better if it was focussed down.

“When you have got bodies that focus effectively on a single stream they become much more effective. When you keep broadening them out, it becomes much more difficult because you have got to deal with all the links.”

But the interim general secretary did also acknowledge that the decision to bring back the inspection process under the director control of Ofsted was “an extremely positive step”.

Ofsted comment to come soon hopefully

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