IMPORTANT CHANGES TO INSPECTION FRAMEWORK WELCOME, SAYS NASUWT

Commenting on the revised Ofsted inspection framework and handbooks, published today, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The NASUWT has long maintained that inspectors have a critical role to play in challenging schools and colleges that fail to take effective action to protect teachers from excessive and unnecessary workload burdens.

“It is, therefore, welcome that important provisions in this respect are to be included in the inspection framework and handbooks.

“The NASUWT has always been clear that poor working conditions and a disregard for the wellbeing of staff are not only bad for teachers but also undermine the quality of educational provision. It is, therefore, right that no school will be identified as outstanding unless it can demonstrate that it takes these matters seriously.

“It is also encouraging that Ofsted has recognised that previous versions of the inspection framework placed too much reliance on schools’ and colleges’ internally generated data. While data, used properly, has a role to play in informing teaching and learning, practice in schools and colleges is too often based on a poor understanding of the limitations of data, serves to undermine good assessment practice and is frequently at the heart of unfair and inequitable teacher performance management systems.

“The reduced focus on internal assessment data in inspection should be a wake-up call for those schools and colleges that have fallen for the deception peddled by suspect and expensive consultancies that foisting a crude and debilitating target culture on teachers, pupils and students supports the achievement of educational excellence. At last, no school or college will be able to fob off its staff, parents and learners with the excuse that such practices are necessary to avoid the ire of inspectors. That myth has been entirely busted.”

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Commenting on the report by the Education Policy Institute highlighting the scale of funding cuts to 16-19 education, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The NASUWT has been warning for some time that much of the post-16 sector is in a parlous financial state because of Government cuts and a lack of scrutiny of how money is being spent.

“Cuts have been made to per student funding and teachers’ pay and the result has been a reduction in students’ learning hours since 2012.

“In addition, the increasing costs and ongoing funding inequalities are reducing the learning opportunities for young people, narrowing the range of subjects and courses colleges are able to offer and are leading to the loss of life-changing opportunities for students. This is economically short sighted. High quality post-16 provision is critical to ensuring young people have the skills to meet changing and global economic needs.

“The current funding arrangements for colleges and sixth forms are inadequate, allowing for the retention of high levels of reserves at individual school and college levels at the same time as cutting per student funding.

“The NASUWT will continue to campaign for a substantial above inflation pay increase for sixth form college teachers, for above inflation increases in post-16 funding during the next Spending Review period and for a funding regime which ensures that post-16 funding is used appropriately.”