ATL comment on Ofsted school inspections

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Press release
22 November 2016 by ATL Media Office
Commenting on the report into Ofsted school inspections by the Education Policy Institute, Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said:

"Everyone with an interest in education, parents, teachers and politicians, should be concerned that Ofsted, an agency which costs taxpayers over £150 million a year, appears to make inspection judgements based on the level of deprivation of the school’s pupils, rather than on the quality of the education it provides.

“It is deeply worrying that the Education Policy Institute (EPI) research clearly shows that outstanding Ofsted ratings are much more likely to be given to schools with disproportionately low percentages of pupils on free school meals or low prior attainment. And that schools with the most socially advantaged pupils are six times more likely to be rated outstanding as schools with more disadvantaged children.

“Ofsted needs to address its apparent failure to spot the decline in academic performance in schools that have previously been rated good or outstanding. There is no excuse not to treat schools fairly.

“Ofsted must take this report seriously. It must examine its inspection methodology, and outcomes, and ask itself a fundamental question: Are its inspection gradings more of a judgement on the percentage of pupils on free school meals in a school than on the quality of education it provides its pupils? The EPI research suggests that this is the case.”