“Negative” proposals ratchet up pressure on schools without providing support and resources to improve


Teaching unions have warned Ofsted plans to remove the satisfactory judgement for school inspections and replace it with a ‘requires improvement’ grade insult pupils and teachers, and are another step towards handing over schools to privateers.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “All teachers and school leaders want nothing but the best for their pupils and no school willingly sits on its laurels as far as pupil attainment is concerned.

“First we had ‘underperforming’ schools, now we have ‘coasting’ schools. Labelling schools in this way is derogatory and insulting to pupils, teachers, school leaders and governors. The government’s real agenda behind this change is of course inventing yet another category of schools that it will then seek to force into academy status.

“It is a pity that tomorrow’s Downing St summit is not discussing what measures the government should be putting in place to support schools at a time when local authority and school budgets, along with capital spending on schools, are being cut.

“The government’s focus should be on identifying and providing the resources that schools need to provide the best possible education for all children. To be constantly changing the goal posts for measuring a school’s success is destabilising and demoralising for the whole school community”.

ATL education policy adviser Adrian Prandle said: “Ofsted needs to look at more than just the labels it applies to schools if it wants to improve children’s education.

“School accountability is important, but a national system of inspection which seeks to catch out schools and tell teachers they are not good enough does not help children learn.

“Instead of proposing more frequent inspection for schools which need to improve, Ofsted should give far more support for the minority of schools which struggle in difficult circumstances.”

NASUWT general secretary Christine Keates said: “The NASUWT in common with all teachers and parents wants every school to aspire to be a great school.

“Parents and the public, therefore, are entitled to expect an independent inspection system which holds schools properly to account to raise standards.

“Unfortunately, recent developments, including today’s announcement, indicate that parents and the public are being ill-served by Ofsted.

“The new inspection framework came into effect on 1 January and yet in only two weeks we have had announcements of major changes to it and the threat of more changes to come.

“Parents would be right to question the competence of a body which clearly doesn’t trust its own judgements on how best to support schools in raising standards of education.

“First the no-notice inspections and now a major change to the way in which some schools are categorised.

“The seemingly tough talk we have heard from the government today may have popular appeal but the reality is that it has nothing to do with raising standards.

“Instead, it is about ratcheting up pressure on schools, without providing the support and resources they need to assist them in securing further improvements.

“This announcement will encourage a culture of vicious management practices within schools which will have a profoundly negative effect on the workforce and children and young people alike.

“This is nothing more than another crude ruse to enable the Secretary of State to push more schools into the hands of profit making, private companies.

“If this was about raising standards, the Secretary of State would be following his own advice and looking carefully at how the other high performing countries, to which he refers regularly, inspect their schools. None of those countries adopt the draconian regime that this Secretary of State clearly favours.”

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