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NEU Conference 2024 National Education Union conference unanimously votes for strikes against Ofsted workloads

DELEGATES at the National Education Union (NEU) annual conference gave their backing today to strikes over excessive workload pressures caused by Ofsted inspections.

Delegates unanimously endorsed a motion calling on Britain’s largest education union to support members taking strike action “where ‘mocksteds,’ deep dives and excessive workload have arisen through Ofsted pressures.”

They also passed a motion calling for Ofsted to be abolished and replaced by a locally overseen system based on self-evaluation, support and collaboration between schools.

Speaking to the media, NEU general secretary Daniel Kebede said: “Only 3 per cent of our teacher members trust Ofsted to be a sound and reliable arbiter of standards.

“The fact of the matter is it has lost the complete trust of the profession and I would say is well beyond ‘requires improvement’ — it is in ‘special measures.’

“It does need to be abolished. It needs to be replaced with an inspectorate that is supportive, fair and lends itself to a collaborative [approach] in which responsibility for education and learning is a shared one.”

Members called on the NEU executive to lobby political parties in the run-up the next general election to endorse the union’s campaign to replace Ofsted and develop a “viable alternative to school accountability.”

The debate at the Bournemouth International Centre came after the inspectorate faced intensive criticism over the death of headteacher Ruth Perry, who took her own life following an inspection report that downgraded her school from the highest rating to the lowest.

A coroner ruled that the inspection had “likely contributed” to her death last year.

Moving the motion, Rochdale delegate David Barter said: “Schools working together with local democratic oversight will create something much more meaningful, much stronger — we should be proud to say ‘abolish Ofsted’.”

Ian Walters, of the City of Derby, argued that the inspectorate should be axed due to the “culture of fear this insidious regime has created.”

Saying that it had been used to force the academisation of schools run by local authorities, he added: “We all know that Ofsted is part of a political game played by the governing party of the day.

“I’ve witnessed judgements clearly being made before the inspection team entered the building.”

Delegates noted that Ofsted has been cited in coroners’ reports on the deaths of 10 teachers in the past 25 years, with the one in Ms Perry’s inquest issuing a section 28 notice of risk of further deaths.

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