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Is Ofsted too big to function effectively?

Is Ofsted too big to function effectively?

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OfstedThe Commons Education Committee has called for Ofsted to be split in two.

“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.

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  • Melanie Horne
    Posted at 00:51h, 07 May Reply

    As a teacher I have experienced very different inspections. Some inspectors observed and gave feedback that was informative, relevant and understanding of the teaching role however I have also experienced inspectors whose observations and feedback showed their limited understanding of children today, current teaching practices and classroom management therefore feedback focused on small, unimportant, irrelevant aspects of the lesson and comments made reflected a lack of knowledge. Why? It made me feel angry to be told how to do my job by someone who obviously knew less about it them self.

  • Elaine
    Posted at 09:15h, 20 May Reply

    Thanks for your comment Melanie. Do you think there’s a fundamental lack of understanding on that part of some Ofsted inspectors? Would this be resolved by additional training/coaching support (particularly of new inspectors)?

  • David
    Posted at 13:46h, 25 May Reply

    Would you accept the local electrician advise you how to set up and use your PC?
    Would you let me (with 30+ years of IT experience) advise you how to fix your home electrics?

    The two services of child care and education should never have been brought together in the first place. It illustrates an idiot’s view of areas of expertise.

    I remember suffering a consultant cardiac surgeon trying to take blood donations. It was great that he came and explained how important our donations were but after his 4th attempt to insert the needle the Blood Transfusion service technician did it in one.

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