Commenting on the Ofsted report into the reliability of its new short inspections, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:

“Ensuring that inspection is as reliable as possible is essential if parents, teachers, school leaders and the wider public are to be able to have confidence in the effectiveness and fairness of the accountability system.

“We welcome the fact that Ofsted has recognised that reliability is an important issue and that it has made some efforts to address this through some of the changes it has made to inspection methodology and the selection and training of the inspector workforce.

“Nevertheless, whilst inspection reliability in relation to short inspection is important, Ofsted also needs to demonstrate how it will ensure reliability of longer Section 5 inspections, where the risks to schools are often far higher due to the wider range of factors that are taken into account in forming overall judgements.

“A deeper challenge to reliability is the weight given to inspection outcomes when making judgements about the overall quality of provision by schools.

“Currently, inspection only provides a partial reflection of schools’ contribution and achievements. Entirely justifiably, teachers and school leaders remain concerned that inspection outcomes do not always give credit for the full extent of schools’ achievements, especially those that are not readily captured by pupil performance data.

“Ofsted must now take this opportunity to engage with teachers and school leaders to ensure that inspection can be reformed further so that it accurately reflects the full value that schools add to the quality of children and young people’s lives and their future prospects.”

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