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Teachers want ‘out of touch’ Ofsted replaced, poll shows as NEU conference kicks off

THE vast majority of teachers believe that Ofsted should be replaced, a survey shows.

More than four in five agreed that it has so many problems that it “would be better to start afresh with a new system of inspection.”

Nine in 10 said they do not believe that single-word judgements are a fair reflection of the performance of a school.

More than 4,500 National Education Union (NEU) teacher members in state schools in England were polled.

The survey also found that 62 per cent feel the inspection system causes them mental ill-health and 59 per cent said it affects their home life.

Only 3 per cent of teachers said that they believed Ofsted acts as a “reliable and trusted arbiter of standards” and just one in 25 reckoned it acted independently of government.

NEU general secretary Daniel Kebede said that the research showed “out of touch and out of favour” Ofsted’s reputation has worsened since 2022. 

“No amount of rebranding will eradicate the entrenched view that Ofsted’s days are numbered,” he said.

“If it ever commanded respect, those days are now long gone.

“Single-word judgements are destructive and wrong and our members agree.

“Only root-and-branch reform can bring an end to the tyranny of inspection.”

The poll’s findings were released on the first day of the NEU’s annual conference in Bournemouth.

Delegates will today vote on whether Britain’s largest teaching union should lobby political parties ahead of the next general election to endorse its campaign to “replace Ofsted.”

Ofsted has come under greater scrutiny after Ruth Perry, the head at a Reading primary school, took her own life in 2023 after an inspection report downgraded the school from its highest rating to its lowest over safeguarding concerns.

A coroner ruled the inspection “likely contributed” to her death.

Ms Perry’s sister, Professor Julia Waters, is due to address the NEU’s annual conference on Friday.

Last month, Ofsted chief inspector Sir Martyn Oliver launched the watchdog’s Big Listen public consultation which will seek views about Ofsted.

An Ofsted spokesman said: “We have already made several changes to inspection over the last year, focused on school leaders’ and staff welfare. But we have promised to go further to strengthen confidence in our work.”

The Department for Education said that Ofsted is central “to driving forward” to its plan “to ensure every child benefits from a world-class education.”

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