Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the statement by Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman on calls for Ofsted reform.
“It is important that Ofsted shows it is listening in the wake of the tragic death of headteacher Ruth Perry, and we welcome this olive branch from the Chief Inspector, and some tentative moves to improve the inspection of safeguarding, Ofsted’s complaints process, and to clarify the support on which school leaders can draw during inspections.
“However, the reality is that Ofsted has completely lost the trust of leaders and teachers, and it will take a great deal more than this to gain their confidence and ensure that the inspection system works in a way that is effective rather than being punitive and counterproductive. We recognise that this is not just a matter for the Chief Inspector but for the Education Secretary too as meaningful reform involves some significant changes.
“Despite the Chief Inspector’s insistence that the grading system plays an integral part in the school system, the truth is that it is the grading system that is the single biggest problem.
“It reduces everything that a school does to a blunt single-word description, and when this is below good, it is deeply stigmatising and damaging to the school concerned. It ends careers and makes school improvement harder to secure. In what mad world can anyone seriously think this is a good thing?
“Ruth Perry’s death has shone a light on a problem which has been going on for years and the time for real reform is long overdue.”