Primary Education News

23 Oct '14

News Ofsted and the driving force of competition in our schools

Zoe Williams states that the problem with Ofsted is the fact that the entire culture targets and terror, name and shame, compete and count discourages what education thrives upon: trust, cooperation, participation (The entire schools inspection culture is the problem, 20 October). As the union representing Ofsted inspectors, we would agree that education thrives upon trust, cooperation, participation, but dispute that the culture of inspection is one of targets and terror, name and shame, compete and count. Inspection plays a critical role in driving up standards in education. Inspectors are civil servants politically impartial and appointed under authority of the crown who work hard to ensure that inspections are conducted robustly and independently within the legal responsibilities laid down by parliament. That is why they believe passionately that Ofsted must inspect every institution without fear or favour, and must continue to guard against politicisation. Driving up standards in education is rightly at the forefront of most political agenda but it can often be deeply divisive: like most public-sector organisations, Ofsted is neither perfect nor dysfunctional. Its time to recognise the vital work undertaken every day by these dedicated, passionate public servants who work countless unpaid hours to deliver high-quality inspections in the interest of the nations children. Perhaps fingers also need to be pointed at politicians and commentators whose agendas are not progressed by a balanced and evidence-based debate.Dave PenmanGeneral secretary of the FDA, the union representing senior staff in Ofsted, including Her Majestys Inspectors (HMI) Continue reading...

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