Ofsted no-notice inspection

Ofsted announces plans for no-notice inspection for schools.

Ofsted’s new Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has announced plans to introduce no-notice inspections for all regular school inspections from September 2012. Arguments say that this will put undue pressure on teachers not knowing when the inspectors will visit their schools.

Ofsted has been moving towards a position of unannounced school inspection over a period of years. I believe the time is now right for us to take that final step and make sure that for every school we visit inspectors are seeing schools as they really are in the corridors, classrooms and staff room.
With our new Parent View online questionnaire we can now make this change and have confidence that we can still consider the views of parents during inspections. Ofsted already has considerable experience in undertaking unannounced inspections and we know it works. With this further change, parents and all those interested in what is happening in our schools can have absolute confidence in Ofsted’s findings.’

Sir Michael Wilshaw HMCI

Schools are regularly inspected by Ofsted Inspectors and currently receive only a couple of days’ notice. Schools work extremely hard to ensure that all their students are given every opportunity to achieve to the best of their ability and it is this that drives school improvement, not the “threat” of an imminent Ofsted inspection. The process of inspection works most effectively when it is based on trust and respect. The concern is that the introduction of this initiative may be underpinned by the belief that giving schools a period of notice allows them to somehow “cheat” the system.
It would be most beneficial to be able to work with Sir Michael rather than having changes imposed on schools without due consultation. Teachers are already fully committed to continuing improvements in teaching and learning and it is rather disappointing that Sir Michael feels even more pressure is necessary without perhaps considering the full implications of his proposals.

Sally Beevers, Headteacher Broadgreen International School

It is disturbing to see Ofsted change its position in a matter of days and suggests the policy has been created with an eye more to the sound-bite than the evidence. If a school could conceal evidence of widespread failure in just two days then the whole concept of inspection is flawed and Ofsted’s protestations that it examines progress and behaviour over the long-term ring hollow. It will reduce the school’s ability to engage with the inspection (through a pre-inspection briefing, for example, or setting up team meetings). And it is this engagement which translates inspection judgements into real improvements. Unless inspection leads to such improvements it is a waste of time. The Parent View questionnaire is a deeply flawed alternative. There is no way to verify that it is completed by parents or provides a representative view of opinions on the school.

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the NAHT (National Association of Head Teachers)

We welcome No-Notice inspections as we’re very proud of what happens on a daily basis in our school. Visitors often comment on the excellent working atmosphere at Gateacre. The only problem I foresee is if the school has something significantly ‘different’ happening on the days of the inspection such as a whole school sports day, it means they will not see our great students and teachers in the classroom.

Catherine Chapman, Deputy Headteacher, Gateacre School

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