The right-learning think-tank Policy Exchange is undertaking an inquiry asking whether the inspectorate is “fit-for-purpose” and is seeking views from professionals on the ground.
The specific questions that researchers are asking in their call for evidence include:
• Do you feel Ofsted inspectors make accurate assessments of teaching in your school, and the progress of students, through the use of data, lesson observation and other techniques?
• Do you feel under pressure to adapt the way you teach, mark or any other practices to meet Ofsted requirements, or encourage others to do so? Do you feel this is positive or negative?
• Have you ever felt under pressure, at your current school or previous schools, to “game” the system, either by presenting data in a certain way, or changing your normal practice during an inspection?
Researchers are also asking for “any specific changes” to Ofsted that you believe could improve its effectiveness. Responses are to be treated confidentially.
A Policy Exchange statement said: “There is no question that Ofsted has a relentless desire to drive up standards.
“With a school system more autonomous than it ever has been, a rigorous and high-quality regulator is a necessary part of the system for raising standards in schools. However, while we agree with Ofsted’s intentions and ambition, it is very important that we ensure they are actually going about their task in the most effective way.
“That is why we are undertaking a research project looking into the reliability and validity of Ofsted inspections and the impact that the inspection system has on schools, leadership teams and teachers.”
In her column for SecEd this week, Ofsted under pressure?, Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, argues that “independent scrutiny of Ofsted is long overdue” and urges teachers to respond to the inquiry.
The closing date for submissions is Monday, February 3. For details, visit www.policyexchange.org.uk/component/zoo/item/call-for-evidence-ofsted