Ofsted Inspections: Heads Spent Summer Stressed & Anxious

Ofsted Inspections: Heads Spent Summer Stressed & Anxious

ofsted inspections

We’ve covered how much stress Ofsted can cause, but over the summer things seem to have gotten worse. Thousands of school leaders have spent their summer being anxious and worried about impending Ofsted inspections. A leaders’ union has revealed the shocking number of heads that have visited their website searching for help. Read on to see just how bad things are and what, if anything can help change things for the better.

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The NAHT union says more than 3,000 of its members have visited the page on their website that provides answers about the new inspection framework. They also offer resources to help heads handle the new inspections.

NAHT deputy general secretary Nick Brook said:

I was very surprised – shocked even – to see how many of our members had accessed the guidance over the summer, and this shows the levels of anxiety that exist among school leaders. We expect to see more visitors as Inset day approaches.

According to the NAHT, leaders’ main concerns about the new framework include:

  • The 90-minute phone call between a head and a lead inspector, which will give heads “very little time to prepare”.
  • New curriculum expectations. These will constitute “a lot of hard graft over the Autumn term and beyond” for heads who are already overburdened.
  • Judgement inconsistency caused by less reliance on data and inspectors being required to make more professional judgements. The guidance provided by Ofsted “is not clear enough and open to interpretation”.

Changes To Ofsted Inspections

Nick Brook went on to say:

The number of members visiting the website does seem to suggest that this is something that is genuinely worrying for our members. We would have hoped teachers and school leaders were recharging their batteries over the summer as they’re often exhausted at the end of the term. But we also know that the reality of headship is that some heads will only take two weeks off at the start of the summer [holiday] and not even that.

A spokesperson for Ofsted commented:

Three-quarters of the teachers and school leaders who responded to our consultation supported our focus on the curriculum.

Any change brings some initial uncertainty, but our absolute clarity that inspectors will not look at a school’s internal progress or attainment data should help to reduce unnecessary teacher workload – schools will have no incentive to produce such data for Ofsted. 

We’ll be closely monitoring how heads receive the new inspections, including receiving feedback from headteacher and teacher associations, as we discussed with the NAHT this week. Anyone wanting to find out more can look at the resources on our website, which explain the changes fully and clearly.

We know that Ofsted causes serious wellbeing issues to teachers. But we’d really love to know what you think about this issue. Does the change in framework worry you? What do you think we can do to ease the stress placed on teachers by Ofsted? Let us know in the comments!

While you’re here, why not take a look at some of our other Wellbeing articles. Or subscribe to our Wellbeing newsletter!

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