School leader associations comment on Labours plans to scrap Ofsted

Labour is promising to abolish Ofsted as part of radical education plans which have been announced before a possible snap election

The party has pledged to implement a “two-phase” inspection system where all education providers would be subjected to regular “health checks” led by local authorities.

If concerns were noted, a more in-depth inspection would then be conducted by specialists.

Commenting on Labour’s plans to eradicate Ofsted if elected, Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“We welcome Labour’s recognition that inspections are in need of further reform, but its plan to replace Ofsted with a two-phase system led by local authorities is a complicated answer.

“It seems that local authorities would be responsible for first-phase ‘health checks’ and then an inspectorate, presumably not called Ofsted, would be responsible for more in-depth inspections if needed.

“Both tiers would require appropriate staffing, training and investment, as well as clarity about their respective roles and the trigger points for in-depth inspections.

“We all want an inspection system which works as well as possible, but the key to this is to look at how we judge performance fairly and consistently.

“This does not necessarily mean that we need to create new tiers of bureaucracy.”

Chris Keates, general secretary of NASUWT, said:

“The Labour Party has rightly recognised the critical role played by an independent national education inspectorate in a fit for purpose accountability framework.

“Such a body, led by trained and experienced Her Majesty’s Inspectors, is essential in ensuring public confidence in the education system.

“Independent inspection provides a more rounded picture of the contribution made by schools, colleges and other educational settings to the progress and achievement of children and young people than accountability systems based on learner performance data alone.

“The Labour Party is, therefore, to be congratulated for rejecting ill-considered calls for the discontinuation of a national inspection system and for its commitment to ensuring that no school will able to operate outside this system.

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“The NASUWT looks forward to Labour confirming that this commitment will extend beyond the state-funded sector to cover all private and independent settings.”

The National Association of Head Teachers also seemed to support the plans, it tweeted:

“A light-touch health-check for schools that are already good, with a more detailed focus and resources to identify and support those schools that still need to improve, is the right way to go.”

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