‘We are the only party that will protect school standards’ – Conservatives

Boris Johnson has claimed his Conservative majority government will give Ofsted greater powers and more money to improve the way schools are run.

This includes improving discipline in classrooms and bolstering school standards by providing more resources to Ofsted so they can carry out their inspections more efficiently.

Ofsted provides impartial and comparative information to parents and teachers about the quality of education, training and care.

Their primary function is to ‘provide independent, external evaluation and identifies what needs to improve in order for provision to be good or better’.

Statistics from Ofsted show that in 2019, 85% of children are in schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted – up from 66% in 2010.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “In the past decade, the hard work of teachers and our school reforms have meant record numbers of children in good or outstanding schools – more children having a good education and learning the knowledge and skills they need to go on and live a fulfilled life.

“Now, in the decade to come, these plans along with the additional £14 billion that we are putting into our education system will help to keep that number rising.”

Despite these promises of improving the standard of schools by investing in Ofsted, many people claim that schools themselves have been underfunded for 10 years.

‘Schools at crisis point’

Stop School Cuts, a campaign group that fights for improving funding in schools, claims that schools are at crisis point and that over 16,000 in England will have less money per child in 2020 than they had in 2015.

The Education Select Committee, made up of MPs from all parties, recently presented its findings from a year-long investigation into school funding and said: ““The Department for Education must make the strongest possible case to the Treasury for sufficient funds to finance the widening high-needs deficit, projected to be over £1 billion by 2021.

“Funding has not kept pace with the rising demands placed on schools and colleges.”

There is also believed to be a £1.2bn funding gap for special educational needs.

The Conservative party claims: “We have driven up school standards so there are now 1.9 million more children being taught in good or outstanding schools. With 85 per cent of children now taught in good or outstanding schools, compared to 66% in 2010, we are helping more children to fulfil their potential”

The proposals have been strongly opposed by the major teaching unions as well as the more moderate head teachers groups, the National Association of Head Teachers and the Association of School and College Leaders, which have both been critical of Ofsted’s role and the stress it puts on school leaders.

Labour and the Lib Dems have pledged to scrap Ofsted which they claim to be ‘fundamentally broken’ because it creates unnecessary workload and stress for both pupils and teachers.

They further pledge to replace Ofsted with a watchdog that parents and teachers can trust.

Figures produced by the National Audit Office earlier this year showed that hundreds of schools have not been inspected in the past eight years, and nearly 300 had not been inspected for 10 years.

The Conservatives’ pledge would also only apply to schools in England whereas Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have to have their respective devolved national assemblies be responsible for how their schools are inspected with a different system in each region.

Related Articles