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by Matt Trinder
DELEGATES at the National Education Union’s annual conference backed a motion today calling for the abolition of Ofsted and performance-based league tables.
Over three quarters (77 per cent) of the more than 10,000 school staff ho responded to the union’s State of Education survey, published to coincide with this week’s online event, said that reducing the role of the education inspectorate was vital to help schools recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Respondents said that reducing the pressure of “accountability measures” such as Ofsted and league tables that rank schools based on national exam results would enable them to focus on helping students catch up on learning after school closures during the pandemic.
Regular full school inspections have been suspended since March 2020 but they are set to resume in September.
NEU joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said that Ofsted was a “blunt instrument” and a “wholly negative presence in schools.”
“As we emerge from a time of great challenge for the education system and all who work in it, there is no taste for the return of full inspections,” she said.
“We must focus on the needs of pupils and what schools and their staff judge to be the best approaches to rebuilding on-site learning.
“We already knew that Ofsted was not fit for purpose. Inspections are crude snapshot assessments, conducted without much regard for local context.
“We need to see a new, fair and reliable system of inspection which works with schools, gives them confidence to make changes and generates meaningful, accurate and reliable information.
“Ofsted is a symbol of the dead hand of government, of its lack of trust in the profession, and must be abolished.”
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