The Beyond Ofsted Inquiry
The report is now available. Click here to read.
Schools must be accountable to parents and taxpayers. They need to be safe and ambitious for their pupils. But they should also be happy and caring environments if they are to nurture the best in pupils and teachers. Our current inspection system creates the opposite.
Too many schools operate in a climate of fear and acute stress. More children are falling behind and dropping out of school, as more teachers are leaving the profession. Change is urgent.
I am delighted to be able to chair this inquiry into the future of school inspection. I am privileged to be supported by both academic experts and an exceptional expert advisory group.
We will carefully examine academic evidence, professional experience and international alternatives. We aim to gain a deeper understanding of the problems with the Ofsted system and then offer practical ways forward.
There is a growing appetite to change school inspections in England, and how their judgements are used in accountability. I am confident we can offer a fairer, more supportive, more consistent and more ambitious way to report on the achievements of our schools. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Beyond Ofsted is a new inquiry established to develop a set of principles for underpinning a better school inspection system and proposals for an alternative approach.
Ofsted has lost trust as an agency, and there is a growing consensus that the full life of a school cannot be summed up accurately or fairly in a ‘one word’ judgement.
Increasing numbers of teachers, heads and MPs believe that the current inspection system is outdated and should be fundamentally changed in line with the needs of the 21st Century.
Education stakeholders are keen to see positive change around the way schools are inspected. Ofsted has become synonymous with being more punitive than supportive, driving untenable levels of stress for teachers and school heads, and detracting from what should otherwise be a rich and deep learning experience for children.
Beyond Ofsted is chaired by Jim Knight, the Rt Hon Lord Knight of Weymouth and former schools’ minister. It will consider input from a wide range of well-informed voices, in order to set out a new framework for an inspection system fit for the increasingly complex needs of schools today.
The independent inquiry, sponsored by the National Education Union (NEU), will include members of the NEU, industry experts and academics and will provide the government and relevant stakeholders with a robust and carefully considered set of principles on which to build an alternative inspection system.
The inquiry will thoroughly examine evidence from schools across the country and will compare the current inspection system with those from other countries, taking lessons from the latter to build a set of proposals in the final report.
THE REPORT WILL BE PUBLISHED IN NOVEMBER 2023.
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