Leaders who inspect other schools are ‘part of the problem’, warn conference delegates

Leaders who inspect other schools are ‘part of the problem’, warn conference delegates

A school leaders’ union will ask its members to consider not working as Ofsted inspectors amid widespread anger over the impact of inspection.

Delegates at the annual conference of NAHT school leaders’ union unanimously voted for an emergency motion this morning.

The motion called on its executive to “communicate to members who are inspectors a request to consider refraining from carrying out inspections” until the ongoing dispute with Ofsted and government is resolved.

It follows a call from Julia Waters, the sister of headteacher Ruth Perry, for heads working as inspectors to “hand in your badges” at the conference in Telford earlier today.

Perry’s family say she took her own life in January before the publication of an inspection report at Caversham Primary School, in Reading, that downgraded her school from ‘outstanding’ to ‘inadequate’. They blame pressure from the Ofsted process for her death.

Hundreds of school leaders also work as Ofsted inspectors, alongside the inspectorate’s full-time His Majesty’s Inspectors. Leaders have come under growing pressure to stop working for the watchdog.

Delegate Michelle Sheehy told the conference today she believed leaders worked as inspectors for “altruistic reasons”.

“I have many colleagues who I would welcome into my school as inspectors, knowing that they would give me a fair and accurate account of our provision. They are Ofsted inspectors in the hope they can improve the process and being part of it.

“Colleagues, as has become apparent this morning, we have gone far beyond that hope.”

She added that it was “difficult for us to say that we believe the inspection regime to be unfit for purpose and yet choose to be part of it”.

“What a powerful message it would send if we were to say we refuse to inspect schools until the process was sufficiently reformed.”

Another leader, Jim Nicholson warned that “while everyone contributes to this system as it stands, we by our actions endorse the system as it stands. We are part of the problem as it stands”.


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