Ofsted has culled 1,200 school and college inspectors who are ‘not good enough’ to judge schools. The move by the education inspectorate is part of its plan to improve quality and consistency, and bring inspections in-house.
Ofsted had been using about 3,000 additional inspectors, contracted through inspection service providers to carry out inspections. Sir Robin Bosher, Ofsted’s head of quality and training, said the organisation wanted to have high quality inspectors. He said: “I am committed to making sure that my colleagues in headship can be assured they have a good inspector walking up the path. I’m determined that will happen.”
Teachers have long complained about the quality of Ofsted inspections. National Association of Head Teachers general secretary Russell Hobby said: “You look back and say, for the last few years we’ve been inspected by a group where 40% weren’t up to the job. If Sir Michael Wilshaw had done this from the start, we would have avoided everything that has followed. If people could say, ‘It’s tough but fair,’ then fine, but it was tough and unfair and tackling that should have been a priority.”
Sir Michael announced last year that Ofsted would no longer use additional inspectors who are employed by firms which are contracted to supply inspection services to Ofsted. There have been numerous complaints that many of these inspectors did not have the relevant teaching or leadership experience.
Ofsted said of the 3,000 additional inspectors it was using, 2,800 had expressed an interest in becoming in-house Ofsted inspectors. This number was then reduced to 1,600 through a “robust assessment” process.
An Ofsted spokesman said the inspectorate was making improvements to its workforce because contracts with its services providers were coming to an end and the new directly employed inspectors would be in post by September 2015. He said: “We stand by the inspections that we have done in the last few years. The teaching profession is always being asked to improve and reform, and Ofsted is no different. We see an opportunity to improve our services and we are going to take it.”
Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: “It is unacceptable that these inspectors have been judging school quality – and coming to conclusions which, too often, lack validity or reliability. Ofsted is consistently behind the curve – tinkering with an inspection system which is no longer fit for purpose.”