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Thursday, 15 October 2020 00:09

Ofsted Inspections Taking Place in Kent Primary Schools on Kent Test Day today.

Back in the summer Amanda Spielman, the Chief Inspector of Schools, informed schools that Ofsted would carry out visits through the Autumn Term ‘to get some insight on how schools and other providers are bringing children back into formal education after such a long time away’.  She made clear explicitly that these visits were not inspections. Subsequently, following a challenge from the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) on the threat of legal action, NAHT reported that “While Ofsted has sought to play down the nature of these visits publicly, this statement makes it clear that they are indeed a form of inspection and should therefore be approached as such.”  

Such dishonesty is hardly likely to build any form of trust regarding these inspections, and reports back clearly identify that some are indeed conducted as such, not simply visits. It is reliably reported that at least 20 such inspections of Kent schools have taken place this term.

However, astonishingly any insensitivity over the dishonesty has not stopped there. Today, Thursday 15th October is the day of the Kent Test when primary school leaders up and down the county are fully focused on ensuring their pupils will be able to take the test under the best possible conditions, especially given the additional pressures brought about by Coronavirus. Several Kent primary headteachers will, however, have their minds elsewhere as Ofsted has chosen to carry out inspections in their schools this day!

To clarify, Amanda Speilman’s statement in a DfE official document records that: ‘Ofsted will be carrying out ‘visits’ to schools and colleges, not inspections', although the truth was given away by another sentence in the statement: 'We’ll publish the outcomes of our discussions with leaders in a short letter so that parents can understand what steps are being taken to help children back into full-time education'. The NAHT threat was via a Judicial Review, proceedings only being withdrawn when Ofsted admitted the truth. 

Ofsted will surely have kept an eye on events in Kent and will be aware of the controversy surrounding this year’s Kent Test. I have subscribers to my website from all three branches of government, Department for Education, Ofsted and Regional Schools Commissioner, who will have followed my commentary on the issues. '

Inspectors will surely know that school staff will want to do their very best when faced with an inspection, but equally will want to ensure that children are given the best possible opportunity to perform. It really should be unbelievable to think they would make the decision to impose an inspection on the same day, but there have been too many crass decisions coming out of the education authorities this year to be really surprised.

And all that is before considering the effect on children, who are smart enough to work out what is happening when they should be focusing on their test.

I conclude by wishing each of those children all the very best in showing their full ability and potential on this important day.

Last modified on Saturday, 17 October 2020 19:04

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