ASCL comment on NAO report on Ofsted

24 May 2018

Commenting on the National Audit Office (NAO) report on Ofsted’s inspection of schools, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“It’s clear that Ofsted has struggled to meet inspection targets because of real-terms budget cuts and a shortfall in inspectors in recent years.

“We agree with the head of the NAO that cheaper inspection is not necessarily better inspection, and we support the recommendation for a review into whether Ofsted has the resources to do its job. It is also right that this review should consider how long schools should be able to go without being inspected and whether Ofsted’s remit should be extended to include multi-academy trusts.

“We welcome also the NAO’s recommendation that Ofsted should review the effectiveness of its complaints process. It is extremely difficult for a school which is judged inadequate to successfully appeal against the decision, not least because the independent adjudicator cannot overturn inspection judgements. These judgements have extremely serious consequences and it is vital that we have a complaints procedure which is demonstrably fair and in which schools can have full confidence.

“The NAO’s conclusion that Ofsted cannot demonstrate value for money in terms of its stated objective of raising educational standards comes with the recognition that it is only one player in an extremely complicated education system. We are pleased that Ofsted has agreed new measures to assess its performance against this vital strategic aim and we look forward to seeing how this work develops.”