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OFSTED inspections put teachers in a conflict between the “morally right thing to do” and “their desire to be professionally successful,” a Tory MP has admitted.
In a fringe meeting hosted by the National Education Union (NEU) at the Conservative conference, Ipswich MP Tom Hunt, a member of the Commons education select committee, said the English schools inspections system, first introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s government, could be improved.
He said: “The whole point of accountability systems, the whole point of Ofsted, should be: what is the positive difference made by a school? That should be the key thing.
“Too often we have a situation where often, based on the conversations I’ve had, sadly some teachers believe there is a lot a conflict between what is the right thing to do, what is the morally right thing to do, [and] their desire to be professionally successful, via the accountability system. There should not be a conflict there.”
NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney welcomed Mr Hunt’s comments, saying of Ofsted: “There are some perverse incentives built into the system.”
He said that schools with a higher proportion of students receiving free school meals were statistically far less likely to be given high ratings in inspections. This meant that more experienced teachers ended up teaching at schools with fewer disadvantaged children, he said.
Mr Courtney also used the meeting to warn Tory delegates: “The cut in universal credit is going to throw 200,000 [more] children into poverty.” He called for all children of universal credit recipients to be given free school meals.
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