Azara Blog: Head teachers claim that Ofsted puts off people from becoming head teachers

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Date published: 2008/05/04

The BBC says:

School leaders are being driven out of the profession by "pernicious systems of accountability", head teachers say.

Ministers had to learn to trust teachers, said National Association of Head Teachers leader Mick Brookes.

The current Ofsted regime encouraged schools to deny problems for fear of being publicly shamed, he told his annual conference in Liverpool.

Research published by the NAHT suggests 86% of school leaders think Ofsted pressures deter would-be head teachers.
The NAHT survey of 500 members, released at the conference, found 86% thought the impact of Ofsted inspections meant potential head teachers were put off applying.

More than two-thirds thought the impact on their school was at best neutral, and at worst very unhelpful.

The research found 86% of members thought inspections increased vulnerability and insecurity.

Ofsted said inspections were effective, but it had a responsibility to assess their impact on education.

It said it did not necessarily accept the verdict of small sample surveys, not compiled by recognised polling organisations.

These kinds of surveys are fairly meaningless. But here the sample size is not the issue. Rather the problem is that the sample is biased (people with an axe to grind are more likely to respond), and in most surveys the questions are usually biased as well. (Has anyone ever come across a survey which didn't allegedly prove the point that the organisation which conducted the survey was trying to promote?) For example, here did they ask the 500 people surveyed whether they personally had allegedly been put off becoming a head teacher (evidently not, since they are head teachers)? And in any case, if prospective head teachers believe they should not be held to account, should they really become head teachers? Schools are for the benefit of the children, not the head teachers.

On the other hand, the basic point is correct. There is very little reason to have these inspections, since they are more a game than anything to do with education. Needless to say, Ofsted is going to claim that inspections are "effective" because to believe otherwise would be to believe that Ofsted should not exist.

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