Do Ofsted inspectors have the skills for fair judgement?


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Think Tank Report Claims Ofsted Inspectors 'Lack Key Skills'

The Policy Exchange Report titled 'Watching the Watchmen', has said that many Ofsted inspectors do not have the capacity to make "fair judgements" of schools. In the report, it is claimed that many inspectors are employed on a part-time basis by private firms and as a result, often lack the experience of primary and special needs teaching.

Jonathon Simons, author of the report said that the quality of schools "was critical to the future prospects of the country". Simons added "More needs to be done to drive up the quality of inspectors. Heads and teachers must feel confident that the person running their eye over their school is a specialist, preferably with recent teaching experience.

"Inspectors don't need to be rocket scientists but they must also have the ability to interpret the increasing amounts of data on the performance of schools, and understand the different ways in which schools are now operating."

The report has recommended that Ofsted abolishes or dramatically reduces the number of inspectors sourced from private firms. At present, Ofsted employs 3 regional contractors for 3,000 inspectors in England, half of which actually carry out school inspections. Calling for them to pass an accreditation exam to establish their competency, the report also asks for inspectors "to have relevant and recent teaching experience in the kinds of schools they are assessing". Ofsted, which carry out inspections in England’s schools, has said that it will take into consideration the suggestions made in the report.

Currently, Ofsted inspectors are required to have five years’ teaching experience and an up-to-date knowledge of the area in which they are inspecting. At present Ofsted only directly employs 300 – 400 inspectors of which only half work in schools.

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