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I’ve been reflecting on the very sad passing of Ruth Perry and the subsequent calls for a review of the OFSTED process. There is so much fear surrounding the process and like many others I do not see how OFSTED can continue until there is a review.

Successful and effective leaders work with their teams, establish trust, support and develop others in a safe and supportive climate. Although for some schools the process is a positive experience, for the majority it seems, the process is unsupportive and is viewed by some as even dangerous, not only to the reputation of the school but as we have seen to the well-being of staff, and in particular school leaders. Surely, any accountability structure should be implemented in a safe and inclusive manner, just as we want our schools to feel safe and inclusive?

In its simplest forms and at the very least I believe that the word ‘INSPECTION’ needs to change. INSPECTION conjures up all kinds of images of being scrutinised for the smallest thing in a very public way – I’m thinking of boot camp and army inspections here - and the word INSPECTION conjures up fear, trepidation and stress!

Schools want a process that is supportive and that is a partnership. A REVIEW (re view) of the school’s strengths, their successes and how they meet the needs of their pupils in the particular community that they serve is what is only needed. And these strengths should be recognised and celebrated.

Of course, there must be an element of accountability in education but what schools need is a process that works with them to tackle the many obstacles that they are faced with today. All schools have areas that could be improved and schools know their own development needs only too well. But shouldn’t this be a conversation about recommendations and what next? Not as a stick to whip schools by.

It shouldn’t be about a rating using a national standard. Assigning a rating to a school does so much harm in so many ways.

Any process that is so widely criticised for the manner in which they apply their duty must be investigated and INSPECTED!

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