Ofsted to pilot double inspections

PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 January 2015


SCHOOLS in North Somerset could face multiple Ofsted inspections in one day to ensure its findings are reliable - but the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has said the plans are 'punishing' schools for the watchdog's own failings.

Ofsted’s national director for schools, Sean Harford, has said current methods do not provide assurance ‘different inspectors in the school on the same day would give the same judgement’.

The watchdog now plans to pilot double inspections this term, which will also explore whether inspections should become shorter but more regular for schools rated as good, ahead of the potential inclusion in a new inspection framework being rolled out in September.

Under the plans multiple inspectors will visit schools on the same day and compare results to see if they reach the same conclusions.

The plans for double inspections came after Mr Hardford responded to a teacher’s blog which rejected the idea Ofsted results can provide meaningful judgements on schools.

Mr Hardford 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.”

Jon Reddiford, the NUT’s secretary for North Somerset, described the plans for double inspections as ‘nonsense’.

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 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.”

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