New NAHT president calls for schools to remove Ofsted banners and logos

Speaking at school leaders’ union NAHT’s Annual Conference in Telford today (Fri 28 April), new NAHT President Elect, Simon Kidwell, will say that Ofsted ‘do more harm than good.’ 

Addressing 400 school leader delegates at 3pm, Mr Kidwell will say: “My most recent Ofsted inspection was last week.  

“It was a graded inspection with several inspectors working excessive hours and leaving no stone unturned.  

“The process was led by a highly skilled lead inspector who conducted the inspection with intelligence and humanity, but despite her approach it still almost broke two valuable and brilliant members of staff. 

“I know we will all have our own stories to tell about how the punitive accountability system has affected us personally. 

“My own physical health has been impacted by the job – 16 months ago I was rushed into hospital and for three days was signed off work, because of physical complications that doctors thought was directly caused by the stresses and pressures of work. 

“Ruth [Perry]’s death has sadly made me question if I have enough in the tank to lead my school through another Ofsted cycle.” 

Ruth Perry, of Caversham Primary School in Reading, took her own life in January after a crucial Ofsted report. Over the two days of NAHT’s Annual Conference (28-29 April), delegates will hear from speakers including Ruth Perry’s sister, Professor Julia Waters. 

Simon will continue: “Let me be clear, Ofsted does not raise standards. It is the tireless work of the staff in schools that does that. At best, Ofsted offers little more than a snapshot of a school’s performance, and there are serious questions about how well it can do even that. 

“The reality for many is that it the current approach to inspection compounds inequality between schools. The current model is a workload creation vehicle for subject leaders, and it causes unacceptable collateral damage to school leaders’ mental and physical health. 

“When we return to school on Tuesday, let’s take some collective actions to put Ofsted back in its box.  

“Let’s remove any Ofsted banners from our railings, erase Ofsted logos from our school stationary, delete Ofsted quotes from our websites, and when Ofsted reports are published tell our communities that Ofsted is a snapshot of school performance judged against a framework that urgently needs a serious reform.” 

Simon will also speak out on school funding, as the dispute between school staff and government continues. He will talk about topics like the additional £2.3 billion given to schools in the autumn budget and how 92% of NAHT’s members told the union that the government’s proposed pay award was unaffordable. 

Other speakers will include shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson and NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman. They will also debate and vote on a wide variety of motions, including the pay dispute and Ofsted. 

Mr Kidwell’s speech will be livestreamed at 3pm on Friday 28th April 2023 on NAHT’s social media platforms, including Twitter (@NAHTnews). The full speech text is available on request. 

Simon Kidwell officially becomes NAHT President in September, in a change to the timing of the union’s usual presidential year. He therefore becomes NAHT President Elect today (Friday 28 April), and he and current NAHT President Dr Paul Gosling will continue in the role concurrently until September. 

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