Written evidence submitted by a Member of the public

Concerns about the Ofsted process

I am an experienced educationalist and school leader and have had positive outcomes from inspections. I, however, feel that the process is broken and that I will probably leave education early because of Ofsted.

The build-up to an Ofsted and the actual inspection are very stressful for school staff, especially school leaders.

Quality assurance is necessary but a very high stakes inspection process does not facilitate the sustainable improvement of schools.

I have found that Inspectors do jump to conclusions early and even ask leading questions. I have also found that inspectors can over-extrapolate and over-triangulate based on a very limited data set at times.

I also feel that the inspections are over challenging on day one and then much fairer on day two. Why does day one have to feel so confrontational? We are made to feel that our good, successful schools may fail and that is incredibly stressful and unfair! In schools we are used to challenge but that is not reasonable. I have witnessed staff being repeatedly asked the same question, giving a reasonable answer and the question being posed again and again until they cry. I considered leaving education during my last inspection – surely a dedicated headteacher doing a reasonable job should not feel like this?

On speaking to Headteacher colleagues – one said I have been reduced to tears during my last 3 inspections. I personally respect this hard-working, experienced Headteacher and know her school, which is good – surely this is not acceptable.

Ofsted feels confrontational and morally bankrupt – I no longer respect what it stands for.

July 2023