19 Apr Is Ofsted too big to function effectively?
“Splitting Ofsted into two new organisations—the Inspectorate for Education and the Inspectorate for Children’s Care—will help to focus and improve inspection in this country.”
The report agrees with Baroness Perry when she said that Ofsted “needs some radical change and very radical reform” and concludes that “Ofsted has simply grown too big to provide as effective a service as could be achieved otherwise”.
The role of school governors in the inspection process was also highlighted. The report states:
“The recent Schools White Paper undertakes to increase the recognition, support and attention of schools governors, claiming that they are still not accorded the respect they deserve. Evidence from the National Governors’ Association suggested that “there is some concern that inspectors do not fully understand governance or the role of governors.” The NGA “does not feel that governance is given sufficient scrutiny” under the existing framework, and we agree that it would be beneficial for inspectors and schools to have a spotlight shone more brightly on governance arrangements. We will return to this issue in the light of the new schools inspection framework proposed by the Government, in Chapter 6.
The NGA also told us that it is not “entirely clear” whether Ofsted reports to the head teacher or the governors following an inspection. There is a clear tension inherent in existing arrangements, as the NGA notes:
The governing body is the accountable body in the school and is responsible for disseminating the [inspection] report, but it is not currently compulsory for governors to be invited to the feedback session.
Similarly, we acknowledge that there is a tension between including governors more and yet giving schools very little notice of inspection: governors, of course, are not always on-site.
We agree with the National Governors’ Association that chairs of governors’ attendance at post-inspection feedback sessions should be encouraged by inspectors (and preferably that of other governors as well). This is particularly worthwhile in light of the changing responsibilities governors will have in schools. Outside feedback sessions, the inspectorate should have a clear policy of engaging governors as much as possible throughout the inspection process.”
The Association of School and College Leaders support the report findings and conclusions.
So, what do you think? Has Ofsted become too big? Should it be split? Vote now in our new Modern Governor poll.