Thank you to those of you who contributed to our survey regarding Ofsted inspections.
We have now written back to Ofsted with an update so that they understand the situation we all find ourselves in. Your comments were also sent to Ofsted so that they can see how strongly you feel about the current inspection system and so that they can read your suggestions for change.
We have always said that we are stronger when we work together, so we are grateful for your support and really hope that this brings a positive change for everyone, children, families, staff and inspectors.
Here is the letter we have sent to Ofsted 08.06.23:
Dear Lee Owston
Subject: Response to your letter dated 14.04.23
Many thanks for your letter regarding our request for an enquiry into the inspection process in light of the terrible events recently with Ruth Perry. It is reassuring to us to hear that you recognise that there is a legitimate debate with regards to improving inspections.
We have thought about what you suggested in your letter with regards to:
- The need for information for parents
- The need for information for the Government
We asked our community for their thoughts on how best to get information across to parents and also how to collate information for the Government, and we had over 200 responses, of which I have attached to this email.
The responses prove that the inspection system needs changing urgently. Therefore, we would like to remind you of what we feel needs to be changed as a matter of urgency:
- Whether the final grading and judgement is necessary.
- Whether there is a more supportive, collaborative and effective approach that would be less pressured for all those involved, including staff, children and their families.
- Whether there should be more of a focus on helping teachers and leaders, with added support, training and resources to do so.
- How Ofsted can provide more support and resources to schools before, during and after the inspection process to help schools cope with the stress and pressure of the inspection.
- How Ofsted can provide better training for inspectors to identify and address mental health concerns among teachers and leaders during inspections.
- How Ofsted can help leaders and teachers to ask for help at any time, and how they can support teachers and leaders in a positive and collaborative way.
- How Ofsted can ensure that inspections do not have a negative impact on the school, their community and the mental health and wellbeing of those involved, but instead, has a positive impact that ensures growth and celebrates achievement.
Our request stems from the genuine concern for the mental well-being of senior leaders, teachers and the school community who are affected by Ofsted inspections. We value professional dialogue and understand the importance of maintaining high standards within our schools, but we believe that the current system is in need of change.
We hear from many senior leaders and teachers who experience significant mental health struggles before, during, and after an Ofsted inspection. The anxiety surrounding "the call," the intense pressure during inspections, and the aftermath of negative judgments have led to depression, an inability to care for their families, and resulting in dedicated and skilled staff leaving the profession.
These dedicated individuals, who have devoted their lives to education deserve better.
Moreover, educational staff are already grappling with the aftermath of lockdowns, increasing emotional and academic needs of students, a cost of living crisis, and significant budget cuts. The added pressure of Ofsted inspections is pushing them to their limits.
We, and school leaders, are acutely aware of the need for accountability and the importance of ensuring high standards in education for our children, but we believe that now is the time to act to make the system more positive, collaborative and more supportive.
We are dedicated to supporting school leaders and will gladly give up our time to help create a better, more positive and supportive inspection system that celebrates achievement in an inclusive and positive way.
We are therefore offering our time and experience to help create a better system. We look forward to your response,
Lucy and Jonathan Coy CEO’s of HeadteacherChat Ltd