5 February 2014

As Ofsted announces that it is starting its rolling programme of unannounced inspections to schools where standards of behaviour are causing concern, the teaching unions claim that such inspections do not improve education.

Schools are being selected for the one-day, no-notice visits on the basis of (possibly anonymous) parental concerns as well as evidence gathered from previous inspections.

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), commented: “Exactly what we need in the current climate of fear and uncertainty surrounding Ofsted: more dawn raids and surprise visits!”

Adding that the “only crisis in our schools right now is one caused by perpetual interference”, he pointed out that Ofsted may be over-reaching itself as the quality and consistency of its current, planned inspections is already in doubt.

The Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, vowed to tackle what he calls “a culture of casual acceptance” of disruption and poor attitudes to learning, following Ofsted’s Annual Report December 2013 which showed that 700,000 pupils were attending schools where behaviour needed to improve.

However, Mr Hobby pointed out that behaviour was found to be good or better in 92% of schools at their last inspection.

Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), maintained: “Snapshot, no-notice inspections by Ofsted are already highly subjective and are not the right way to judge a school.”