Sir Michael Wilshaw, the ex-head of school inspections, has criticized Ofsted’s assessment that nearly 90% of state schools in England are of good quality, calling it “utterly absurd”.
As per the most recent authorized data, 88% of schools received either a “good” or “outstanding” rating from the schools inspectorate as of the end of December. However, Wilshaw expressed disagreement with this evaluation after having visited some of the schools that were rated as “good” by Ofsted.
Former headteacher Wilshaw, who served as the head of Ofsted from 2012 to 2016, testified before members of the education select committee in the House of Commons. The committee is currently conducting an investigation into Ofsted’s role in working with schools.
MPs are investigating the use of Ofsted’s headline judgments, which categorize schools as outstanding, good, requires improvement, or inadequate after an inspection.
Principals argue that the labels are overly basic, and the Labour party has promised to substitute them with a report card format.
According to Wilshaw, the era of single-word evaluations is likely coming to a close. While he used to be a strong advocate for this approach, he has since changed his stance. He believes that these evaluations do not give parents an accurate understanding of their child’s school experience and may falsely reassure them.
He continued: According to Ofsted, almost 90% of schools are considered good. However, I find this claim to be completely false. Based on my observations of some of the schools that were deemed good in recent years, I would not classify them as good.
“When I have visited some of these schools and read the [Ofsted] report, I have had the urge to go to Specsavers and purchase a new pair of glasses. The report was not satisfactory and could potentially mislead parents.”
Wilshaw criticized Ofsted for straying from data and claimed that their inspection rulings were becoming increasingly based on personal opinions.
Some schools with poor academic results are receiving positive evaluations despite having negative progress scores.
In August 2022, Ofsted reported that 88% of schools were rated as good or outstanding, which was the same as the previous year’s percentage. However, the percentage of primary schools rated as good or outstanding has risen from 89% to 90%, while the percentage for secondary schools has stayed at 80%.
Ofsted’s actions have received significant criticism following the passing of headteacher Ruth Perry. According to her family, Perry took her own life after a “devastating” inspection by Ofsted. Her death will be investigated in a hearing scheduled for next month.