Ofsted has announced a number of changes to its inspection processes, including a revised complaints procedure, schools being re-inspected more quickly after safeguarding failures, and new wellbeing investment.
The announced changes also aim to provide opportunities for school leaders to enhance safeguarding measures and express concerns before the publication of reports.
In response to the changes, NGA’s chief executive, Emma Knights said:
“NGA welcomes the changes announced today by Ofsted. Safeguarding is a hugely important issue which does need external inspection; our annual governance surveys confirm increases in safeguarding pressures since the pandemic and disruption of the last few years. However, it is not yet clear that Ofsted inspections are the best means of ensuring schools and trusts address safeguarding concerns well.
While NGA continues to support an inspection regime, we have called for a fully independent, expert and transparent review of inspection that will address how it contributes to school improvement without creating the indisputably pervasive culture of fear. The Government's lack of action suggests it may not understand the situation fully. The Secretary of State needs to accept her responsibility for ensuring an inspectorate fit for purpose."
NGA has called for a full independent review that will consider the following:
changes that would help remove the culture of fear that exists around Ofsted inspections and the stakes attached to them;
the effect of the inspection process on schools in disadvantaged communities;
replacing the current grading system with a more constructive alternative that helps schools to improve;
making inspection reports more informative and useful to a wider audience that includes governors and trustees; and
how the role and responsibilities of governing boards can be given greater coverage in the inspection process.
NGA will be responding to Ofsted’s consultation on the changes to the complaints system and is seeking the views of those governing and other school leaders to help inform our response.
To find out about Ofsted’s changes to inspection, visit the Knowledge Centre.