Ofsted are ‘weapon of terror used to enforce fear and conformity’ in classrooms, claims teaching union chief

Ofsted is used as a ‘weapon of terror’ to enforce ‘fear and conformity’ in classrooms, a teaching union boss told MM this week.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) say that Ofsted are not fit for purpose and that the body has too much power – which has a negative effect on the standard of education.

They say that Ofsted staff are not properly trained and that getting a good report is more about luck than providing education.

Dr Mary Bousted told MM: “It isn’t just the ATL that say that Ofsted isn’t fit for purpose. We believe that they aren’t a force of good and that they force fear and conformity which puts pressures on teachers who already have an excessive workload.

“Ofsted have too much power and are almost a weapon of terror. Inspectors are brought in from private companies and therefor are unreliable as you can’t tell what training they have had and how many schools they have investigated before.”

The ATL also said that pressure from Ofsted forces head teachers to strive for the perfect school, putting staff under unbearable strain.

“Because of the pressures they bring they stop innovation as teachers don’t want to get anything wrong and get punished,” added Dr Bousted.

“Ofsted are a make or break inspection and they expect everyone to conform to their guidelines. It is almost like flipping a coin to see whether you get a good inspection or not.”

However Ofsted argue that they have managed to significantly raise the standard of education in this country.

An Ofsted spokesman told MM: “Ofsted has played a major part in raising standards in England’s schools over the past 21 years. Our reports remain a valuable and independent source of information for parents, carers and the wider public.

“As Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector has said, Ofsted does not expect schools to adopt a particular way of teaching. However, we have toughened our inspection frameworks over recent years and schools are rising to the challenge. More schools are now judged good or outstanding than ever before.”

The non-ministerial department claims that their staff are well trained and often work with a serving head teacher to ensure their inspections are fair and accurate.

 The spokesman said: “Almost 60% of inspection teams now include a serving head from good or outstanding schools, and that number is increasing by the year.

“Under Ofsted’s regional structure, stringent checks are done to ensure the findings and judgements from inspection reports are consistent and in line with published guidance, reducing the scope for misjudgements.”

Main image courtesy of Juan Carlos Mejía, with thanks.

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