Since 1992, schools’ relationship with Ofsted has shifted from one of suspicion to one of anxiety, fear and now near-paranoia.
The government’s injection of £24m to accelerate inspections at a time when schools will have to cope with the long-term effects of Covid-related disruption will only enforce that paranoia (Plan to speed up Ofsted inspections of schools in England sparks fury, 17 November). The chief inspector claims that Ofsted is there, in part, to support schools, but that’s not what it feels like on the ground. The only “support” the cash injection will provide is to reinforce the rigidity of a 30-year-old inspection system badly in need of reform.
What alternative universe does she and the education secretary inhabit?
Prof Colin Richards
Former HM inspector of schools
• Having 10 grandchildren aged between three and 14, I have experienced close at hand the effects of lockdown on their development, both educationally and emotionally.
One had just started school and two were to start secondary schools. One granddaughter, who attends a special school, had education and care withdrawn during the pandemic, which led me to relocate from Essex to Wales and subsequently move permanently to help care for her and her brother while shielding.
It occurs to me that the entire Ofsted team could pitch in and assist with catch-up lessons, deliver mental health initiatives, and support teachers and schools. Possibly while living on a teaching assistant’s wage, the rest put back into the frontline. In doing so, they would learn first-hand the task each community faces. My daughter and I realised the difference that school, care and respite made to our whole family’s wellbeing.
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