“Requires improvement”: Voice comments on Ofsted’s Annual Report

Date: 01.12.16
Ofsted’s Annual Report 2015/2016


1 December 2016  

“Requires improvement”: Voice comments on Ofsted’s Annual Report 2015/2016

Commenting on Ofsted’s Annual Report, Deborah Lawson, General Secretary of Voice: the union for education professionals, said:

Early years

“Voice is pleased to see that the report highlights the quality of early years provision, particularly in private, voluntary and independent (PVI) settings, with a rise in good and outstanding nurseries and pre-schools. We note that ‘the proportion of good and outstanding nurseries is now almost the same in the most deprived areas of the country as in the least deprived’.

“Despite the funding challenges facing PVI nurseries and nursery schools, and the staffing recruitment and retention crisis, early years professionals are providing high quality childcare from which so many children are benefiting.

“For standards to continue to rise, both in the early years and schools, the issue of under-funding must be addressed.

Primary and secondary

“The rise in the proportion of good and outstanding primary and secondary schools is also something to be celebrated, as is it demonstrates the hard work and dedication of school staff.

Teacher recruitment crisis

“I welcome Sir Michael’s recognition, on the Today programme this morning, that there is a crisis in the recruitment and retention of teachers – that ‘We have to make sure there are enough teachers in our classrooms; we have to sell teaching well'.

“There are many reasons for that crisis, including pay levels, but the long shadow of Ofsted is a significant factor.

“Voice has long called for Ofsted to contribute to schools’ development by being supportive and positive, rather than punitive and negative.

 Ofsted itself ‘requires improvement’.

“At the recent Education Policy Institute Ofsted: where next conference, incoming Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman recognised that an adversarial relationship between the inspected and the inspector is good for neither, that there should be research on impact of inspection on the schools, and that inspections should be about more than data.

“The conference also highlighted the ongoing problem of inconsistencies in Ofsted judgments, and the distorting effect an impending Ofsted inspection can have on schools’ behaviour – distracting from teaching, learning and school and staff development in the effort to produce documentation, and ‘gold-plated’ evidence. All of this adds to teachers’ and headteachers’ workload and stress, and contributes to the teacher and headteacher recruitment and retention crisis. 

“Ofsted could do more to encourage the professional development of teachers, and to highlight teachers’ excessive workload. 

“There's a ‘danger of a self-fulfilling prophecy’, with schools with challenging intakes struggling to recruit. 

‘Divided nation’ and ‘economic future’ of the North and Midlands

“Education is a key part of community regeneration and development, but it is only part of the solution to social inequality, poverty and disadvantage – not the only solution. It is not the silver bullet. 

“Schools, headteachers and teachers do make a significant difference for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds – something that is celebrated far too infrequently, with politicians, Ofsted and the media focusing on what the system isn’t doing so well rather than building on, and celebrating, success.

 “The preoccupation of politicians and policy-makers with the idea that education alone can end economic disadvantage has both heaped pressure on schools and provided a stick with which to beat them when government-set targets are not reached.

“Schools are expected to deliver more and more with diminishing resources, but schools can’t create jobs or update infrastructure.

“We need a joined-up approach from government. 

 “If schools are encouraged to raise the aspirations of the most academically able students to move away for better employment prospects and a better life elsewhere, where does that leave those communities? If the only hope for young people is to move away, their communities will enter a spiral of increasing neglect, decline, deprivation and hopelessness.

“Education is a key part of regeneration, enabling students to go beyond their place of birth and schooling and to bring back the knowledge and skills that they have acquired to contribute to the regeneration of their communities.

 “However, those communities need to be able to offer prospects for their young people.” 

Further information 

Ofsted Annual Report 2015/16  Collection

Ofsted Annual Report 2015/16: education, early years and skills

Ofsted Annual Report 2015/16:  Ofsted's press release

Ofsted: Outstanding providers data set

BBC Today (08.35)


Let us know your views on Ofsted

Comment on the Voice Blog (Ofsted and communities)


Voice Press Office
Email: pressoffice@voicetheunion.org.uk

General Secretary Deborah Lawson
Email: deborahlawson@voicetheunion.org.uk

Tel: 01332 372337