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Are Ofsted inspections reliable?

Ofsted cannot be trusted to lead investigations into the reliability of its own inspectors’ judgements, says Dr Mary Bousted.

In its 25 years as an inspection agency one question has been asked, but not answered, by Ofsted. 

Just how reliable are its inspection judgements? More specifically, can Ofsted be sure that two inspectors in the same school, on the same day, would come to the same judgement about the school?

Now we know the answer. National director for schools policy at Ofsted, Sean Harford, admitted recently that: “Ofsted has not done enough in the past to test the reliability of inspection; we have concentrated on quality assurance. This provides assurance that the process is carried out consistently as we would wish, but not directly that different inspectors in the school on the same day would give the same judgement.”

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