Ofsted’s grade fixation needs to be eradicated | Letter

Former HM inspector of schools Prof Colin Richards writes that grades can never be regarded as objective measures of schools

It should have come as no surprise that so many schools have lost their “outstanding” Ofsted grade (Report, 22 November). This is largely due to a fundamental misunderstanding of inspection that Ofsted chief inspectors have fostered. Inspection findings are not, and can never be, objective measures of quality. They are complex, subjective judgments, made at a particular time – snapshots, not episodes captured through time-lapse photography. Nor can they be neatly or validly summarised in one overall grading, whether “outstanding”, “good” etc. This grading fetish (and the anguish that goes with it) needs to be eradicated.
Prof Colin Richards
Former HM inspector of schools

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