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Inspection education scrutiny magnifying glass BANNER

Commenting on the launch of Ofsted’s The Big Listen consultation, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union, said:

“For too long Ofsted has been part of the problem of teacher demoralisation, stress and wastage. The new Chief Inspector has the opportunity to become part of the solution if he is willing not only to listen but also to act to support the work of schools in providing the high quality education that children deserve.

“Nothing is more important to children’s education than the work of teachers in the classroom.

“But in our recent National Teacher Poll, Ofsted and the associated pressures of inspection were cited as the number one drivers of excessive workload for classroom teachers. It should never have come to this. Mountains of bureaucracy and unfair criticism of schools do nothing to raise standards for pupils.

“Skyrocketing workloads and work-related stress have catapulted the teaching profession into a recruitment and retention crisis which is damaging children’s education.

“Our hardworking and dedicated teachers deserve more than fine words from the Chief Inspector. They deserve better support and a better deal.”

Notes to Editors

NASUWT’s National Teacher Poll, carried out in January 2024, surveyed almost 7000 teachers.

71% of teachers surveyed stated that their workload increased in the last year, and 60% of those surveyed cited Ofsted as the top driver of excessive workload.  Many talked about a “fear of Ofsted.”

65% of teachers surveyed had raised workload concerns with their line managers or headteachers, but only 28% felt that their schools had put effective measures in place to deal with excessive workload.

Here are just some of the comments teachers made about Ofsted as a workload driver during the poll:

“OFSTED inspection preparation, generating trails of evidence to satisfy the ever shifting foci and criteria. The pressures of having to strive to help children achieve inflated predictions with ever decrease funds to put resources in place that would make the difference. Hours of work, I feel increasingly desperate and exhausted. It’s ever more difficult to maintain standards when colleagues around you leave the profession.”

“Upcoming OFSTED; having things recorded “just in case” someone asks to look at it; poor budget resulting in having to hunt for alternative or create resources.”

“New headteacher driving change to fit Ofsted agenda.”

“They’re expecting OFSTED, so we’re having to jump through hoops via ‘CPD’.”

“OFSTED is the main pressure point. Need for assessments, feedback, poor planning from SLT.”

“Presumptions about what Ofsted might want to see drive many non-negotiables that have to be evidenced in every lesson.”



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