It’s Time For Change

Inquiry Launched Into Inspection Of Schools In England

The concerns about Ofsted and the way schools are inspected have been gathering pace for some time, and show no signs of abating. Growing numbers of teachers, heads and MPs believe that the current inspection system is outdated and should be reformed in line with the needs of the 21st century.

Now, a new inquiry has been launched to develop a set of principles for underpinning a better inspection system and proposals for an alternative approach.

Beyond Ofsted – An Inquiry into the Future of School Inspection‘ will be 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 the 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 (National Education Union), 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. With increasing numbers of school leaders and teachers publicising their concerns about Ofsted and how its approach causes more harm than good, the Beyond Ofsted inquiry is both timely and urgent.

Ofsted has lost trust as an agency because it is more punitive than supportive, and is driving unsustainable levels of stress for teachers and school leaders, which does not serve children’s interests. There is a growing consensus that the full life of a school cannot be summed up accurately or fairly in a ‘one word’ judgement.

Chair, Lord Jim Knight comments, “Everyone agrees that schools need to be accountable, and to ensure they are, there needs to be a robust system in place. However, what we currently have with Ofsted is an approach that stirs up stress amongst school leaders that trickles down to staff and pupils. Too often, it punishes rather than supports. The Beyond Ofsted inquiry will rigorously investigate the system and identify what is needed to make it fairer and more effective. A system that does not solely criticise but seeks to provide assistance, especially to those schools that need it most.”

The inquiry will thoroughly examine evidence from schools across the country, 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.


For further information:
Gillian Wright: 07454735346 e:


Note to editors:

Beyond Ofsted Inquiry Expert Advisory Board

Lord Jim Knight of Weymouth (Chair)
Labour Peer / Director / Chair
Member of the House of Lords / Suklaa Ltd / E-ACT MAT Board of Trustees

Dr Kulvarn Atwal
Executive Head / Learning Leader
Highlands Primary School / Uphall PrimarySchool

Melissa Benn
Writer and Campaigner
Founder of Local Schools Network / Visiting professor York St John

Professor Alice Bradbury
Professor of Sociology of Education
UCL Institute of Education / Co-director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre of Pedagogy

Patrick Cozier
Highgate Wood School, Haringey

Caroline Derbyshire
CEO / Chair
Saffron Academy Trust / Headteachers’ Roundtable

Jess Edwards
Chair of Policy, Research and Campaigns Executive Committee
NEU / Primary teacher, Lambeth

Jason Elsom

Dr Zubaida Haque
Independent Consultant
Former CEO of the Equality Trust; InterimDirector of the Runnymede Trust

Jo Hutchinson
Director for SEND and additional needs
Education Policy Institute

Andrew Morrish
Director / Co-founder
Makana Leadership Limited / Headrest

Dr Bernadita Munoz Chereau
Centre for Leadership, UCL, Institute ofEducation

Dame Alison Peacock
Chartered College of Teaching

Professor Jane Perryman
Professor of Sociology of Education
UCL Institute of Education

Penny Rabiger
Independent Consultant
Doctoral Researcher at Leeds Beckett University; Co-founder of the BAMEedNetwork

Emma Rose
Executive member
NEU / Secondary teacher, Warwick