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Social mobility vs equity: What can Ofsted learn from other UK school inspectorates?

Ofsted’s approach to inspection has resulted in unintended consequences and a high-stakes, oppositional culture of accountability. Dr Dana Dabbous considers what lessons Ofsted might learn from inspection approaches in the other home nations

Inspections are there to improve the quality of education. Inspectorates also wield great power. Directed well, this has positive potential. However, without a solid evidence-base, their work has the potential to be extremely damaging.

Edge’s recent report, Inspection Across the UK, compares school inspection frameworks across the four nations of the UK (Munoz & Ehren, 2021).

In England, the most recent inspection regime rolled out in 2019 but was disrupted shortly afterwards by the pandemic. Wales is also working on their new framework to implement in 2024.

These developments make it an opportune time to consider what the different inspectorates can learn from each other.

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