Schools could face double inspections


- Credit: Archant

OFSTED is planning on piloting double inspections in upcoming months, meaning North Somerset schools could have multiple inspections on the same day.

The plans aim to ensure the education watchdog’s results are reliable, but North Somerset’s secretary for the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Jon Reddiford, has said the double inspections would be ‘punishing schools for Ofsted’s own failings’.

He said: “The NUT has long been saying Ofsted judgements on schools were unreliable.

“The admission Ofsted cannot guarantee the reliability and consistency of its inspection teams and judgements on schools is a disgrace.”

The plans come after Ofsted’s director for schools, Sean Harford, admitted its current methods do not provide assurance ‘different inspectors in the school on the same day would give the same judgement’ in his response to one teacher’s criticisms of the education watchdog.

He said: “I agree that Ofsted has not done enough in the past to test the reliability of inspection; we have concentrated on quality assurance. This provides assurance the process is carried out consistently as we would wish, but not directly that different inspectors in the school on the same day would give the same judgement.

“I have built in reliability testing for the pilots for the new short inspections this term. If reliability is a problem, we will review the issues to see what we need to do to make the inspections reliable.”

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Pilots of the double inspections will take place at the same time as trials examining whether inspections should become shorter, but more frequent, in schools rated as good.

The results will then be examined ahead of potential changes to new inspection framework which will be rolled out nationwide in September.

Mr Reddiford said: “The suggestion inspecting schools twice will resolve the flaws in the current system is nonsense.

“In effect this is merely punishing schools for Ofsted’s failings. There is clear evidence that Ofsted is a major source of unsustainable workload and stress for teachers and a major cause of teachers leaving the profession.”