Monday 20 March 2023

UPDATE: Executive Headteacher gets huge wave of social media support after tweeting that she was going to refuse entry to Ofsted. NEU calls for a pause on all inspections after recent events.


UPDATE: Flora Cooper has made it clear that she does not want supporters of her decision to go to the school on Tuesday. This is for the protection of staff and children.


Social media was full of comments over the weekend about what many viewed as 'toxic' Ofsted inspections. This followed the sad news about a headteacher who, according to her family, took her own life due to the stress of an anticipated negative Ofsted finding.  Ofsted were criticised for their report on the school which merely noted the death of the headteacher during the inspection. I understand the report was taken down following the criticism.

This morning Flora Cooper, Executive Headteacher of John Rankin School, took to Twitter to announce that she was taking a stand following 'the call' from Ofsted that they were coming in to inspect the school. She announced baldly, 'I've had the call. I've refused entry.'

In subsequent tweets she called for support and it poured in, although of course, not everyone was sympathetic. LINK

The NEU issued the following statement today:

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said;  

Given recent events and widespread concerns about leaders’ wellbeing, it’s the height of insensitivity for Ofsted to be going into schools or colleges this week.

Ofsted should pause all its inspections and reflect upon the unmanageable and counter-productive stress they cause for school leaders, and the impact on leaders. This stress is well-documented in literature about Ofsted. That they are phoning leaders this week and initiating inspections speaks to the arrogance of Ofsted and their absolute lack of empathy. The claims by Ofsted to make fair or reliable judgements are not credible and this is part of the immense stress and distress for leaders.

This is an agency that is completely out of touch, and which is making claims and judgements which are unreliable. This can’t go on. Ofsted should be concerned about restoring enhanced professionalism to school leaders and education staff but they are not.  The NEU believes inspections should be paused.    

The Union is campaigning for Ofsted to be replaced. This week a petition to Replace Ofsted will be delivered to the DFE with over 40,000 signatures from across the profession. It’s time we urgently prioritise the welfare and wellbeing of the leaders and staff working so hard with children and young people in their community. We need a system which is supportive, effective and fair.

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