Lisa Mannall, Trust Lead

Last Tuesday (16th November), Amanda Spielman, HM Chief Inspector of Education Children’s services and Skills, announced that Ofsted has been given additional funding through the Spending Review 2021. This additional funding is to ensure that all schools and colleges will be inspected at least once by Summer 2025. Schools will continue to receive either graded or ungraded inspections depending on their circumstances.

Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector said:

“Schools and colleges have worked tirelessly to teach and support children and learners, at a time when their education has been seriously disrupted.

“Children only get one chance at school. Everyone working in education must do everything they can to give this generation the best possible chance to fulfil its potential. Ofsted will play its part – by giving parents and learners up to date information, and by helping schools and colleges shape their plans. I’m pleased that we will now be able to reach all schools, colleges and apprenticeship providers by summer 2025.”

There are many different opinions about Ofsted and I have had experiences that have caused me to love them and loath them. Edu Twitter is currently full of people complaining about the fact that schools are currently being inspected at all, whilst many want to be inspected so they can move on. Many schools have very outdated Ofsted gradings, and if schools wish to move on from a ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate judgement’, then the inspectorate can’t come quick enough. If you are sitting on an old Outstanding, you may not be quite so keen!

My opinion of Ofsted is that, in the majority of cases, they get it right. Having been involved in the sponsorship of failing schools both as a school leader and as Regional Schools Commissioner, it is never because the Team were “obsessed with the data.” In Inadequate schools the pupils are being systemically failed by leaders, if the data is poor then usually the culture and ethos are too. Off rolling, bad behaviour, lack of ambition, poor provision and weak financial management are just some of the reasons a school may fail. In my experience where there is a case of weak leadership, this is where pupils need strong leadership the most. The best and most reflective school leaders will agree with a judgement in hindsight, weak leaders will blame everything but themselves.

Ofsted is not perfect, but education needs to have an accountability system and we must work with it.