The Education Committee recently presented a comprehensive set of recommendations targeted at Martyn Oliver and his team at Ofsted, as well as the Department for Education (DfE). This follows an extensive period of evidence collection and discussions.
The Committee has identified the appointment of Sir Martyn Oliver as a pivotal moment for renewing and rebuilding trust between Ofsted and educational institutions, a relationship that has notably deteriorated.
Robin Walker MP, chair of the Education Committee, emphasised the necessity for a thorough inspection system, while also acknowledging the broad and deep-seated concerns regarding the current operational approach of the system.
Insights from the Report:
Concerns Over Single-Word Judgements: The Committee's report expresses significant apprehension about the practice of using single-word judgements in Ofsted reports. Robin Walker MP has called for a more nuanced approach that would benefit both educational institutions and parents.
Academisation Triggered by 'Requires Improvement' Ratings: The report covers the anxiety amongst headteachers regarding the potential of being forced into academisation following a 'requires improvement' judgement. This has been a topic of considerable debate, with Education Secretary Gillian Keegan acknowledging both the transformative impact and imperfections of academies.
Enhanced Support for School Leaders: Following the tragic incident involving Ruth Perry, the Committee highlighted the critical need for more robust support systems for school leaders during and after inspections.
Safeguarding and 'Inadequate' Judgements: There is a proposal to review the current policy where any safeguarding issues can lead to an 'inadequate' overall judgement, regardless of performance in other areas.
Addressing Workload Pressures: The report acknowledges the intense workload pressures faced by school staff, especially in the lead-up to inspections, and calls for a review of the current framework and its impact on schools.
Critique of Ofsted Complaints Process: The inquiry revealed strong dissatisfaction with Ofsted's current complaints process, suggesting a need for a more transparent and accountable system.
Concerns About Inspectors' Behaviour and Expertise: The professional conduct and expertise of Ofsted inspectors have come under scrutiny, with suggestions for improvements in training and retention.
Recommendations for More In-depth Inspections and MAT Inspection Powers: There is a consensus on the need for longer, more thorough inspections, and the development of a framework for inspecting multi-academy trusts (MATs).
Incorporating a Broader Context in Judgements: The report urges inspectors to consider a range of factors, including school size, the number of pupils with SEND, and pupil premium progress, when making their judgements.
Regular Scrutiny of Ofsted: The Committee plans to closely monitor Ofsted's response to these recommendations, with HMCI Sir Martyn Oliver expected to provide regular updates.
For a detailed understanding of these issues, please refer to the Commons Education Committee website: [https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/203/education-committee/news/199622/ofsted-and-government-must-rebuild-trust-and-make-major-changes-to-school-inspections-education-committee-says](https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/203/education-committee/news/199)