Schools face significant challenges, not least as we fight for Ofsted reform and for proper funding (and respect) for education from politicians in Westminster. But despite this and as he prepares to step down as ASCL general secretary, Geoff Barton remains optimistic for the future...
Optimistic about the future: Geoff Barton will step down as general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders in the coming weeks

For all the challenges in education, as spring emerges, it feels that change is in the air.

Over at Ofsted, where the new chief inspector Sir Martyn Oliver is endeavouring to set a more collaborative, less oppositional, tone to inspection, there is the launch of a consultation exercise – the “Big Listen” (Ofsted, 2024).

The idea is to work with the profession – and all those with a stake in the inspection system – on what inspections should look like in the future.

It won’t address the biggest problem with the system as it currently operates – the single-phrase judgements that raise the stakes to a level that is damaging to the wellbeing of those on the receiving end and are counterproductive where negative judgements stigmatise schools. Only the government has the power to change that aspect of the system.

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