Ofsted risks put off school leaders, say heads

Ofsted risks put off school leaders, say heads

BBC |May 5, 2012

By Katherine Sellgren BBC News, NAHT conference in Harrogate
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Over 50% of deputy and head teachers do not want to apply for further posts as school leaders, the National Association of Heads Teachers warns.

The association says many good candidates are put off headship by the demands of Ofsted inspections.

From September schools given notice to improve by inspectors will only have two more chances to improve standards before being put into special measures.

The NAHT says heads need time to turn struggling schools around.

Speaking at the NAHT annual conference in Harrogate, general secretary Russell Hobby said: “It’s three strikes and you’re out -you have to wonder who is going to take on a school with two satisfactory Oftseds [inspection reports] when they then have a 12 month window to turn around that school.

“If they’re going to take on those schools, they need to know they’ve got time and space to make those changes – otherwise we’ll just see superficial measures to get the headline figures up.

“It’s three strikes and you’re out.”

‘Russian roulette’

Meanwhile the incoming president of the NAHT and Yorkshire head teacher, Steve Iredale, accused ministers of playing Russian roulette with children’s education.

“Is it not time for governments, of whichever persuasion, to see the bigger picture and work towards the greater good for all children and the future economic success of our country rather than playing Russian roulette with their lives?

“You really do have to ask, does political meddling really have a place in our children’s learning?”

Mr Iredale was also critical of Ofsted and the chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw’s plans to introduce no-notice inspections from the autumn.

Currently, schools get up to two days’ notice of an inspection.

Mr Iredale also challenged ministers to work with heads “in an open and honest way” to develop policies for schools.

“I am fed up to the back teeth of policies which are clearly created on the back of a fag packet and are consequently damaging our health, that of our children and the future prosperity of our nations.”

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