ASCL comment on Ofsted report on ‘stuck schools’

08/01/2020
Stephen Rollett, curriculum and inspection specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the report from Ofsted about ‘stuck schools’
 
Commenting on the report from Ofsted about ‘stuck schools’, Stephen Rollett, curriculum and inspection specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“This report identifies the extremely challenging circumstances faced by some schools, but it does not examine the detrimental impact on these schools of the inspection system itself. The use of blunt judgements has a stigmatising effect on schools which makes it harder to recruit the teachers and leaders needed to secure sustainable improvement and become unstuck.

“Ofsted highlights that one problem in stuck schools is the lack of stable leadership because of a churn of headteachers. But this problem is the result of an accountability system of inspections and performance tables which is extremely harsh and makes leadership perilous.

“We note that Ofsted is recommending a non-judgemental deeper look at the circumstances in stuck schools and we think that may be helpful. But surely we also need to focus more on the unintended consequences of the current approach to school accountability. Instead of stigmatising these schools we need to make them places where teachers and leaders want to work.

“It is right that schools are held to account but the system could be made more proportionate through sensible reform without being any less robust.”