One-word inspection judgements: Anger builds as DfE and Ofsted defend grading system

Anger is building over the reluctance of both education ministers and Ofsted to scrap one-word inspection judgements following the suicide of headteacher Ruth Perry.
Image: Adobe Stock

Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Martyn Oliver reiterated this week that scrapping one-word judgements “has to be a government decision”.

However, the Department for Education (DfE) maintains that they are “an important feature” of inspection reports.

The impasse caused the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) to pass an emergency motion at its annual conference in Newport over the bank holiday weekend pledging to step-up its campaigning work on the issue, including exploring “legal and industrial routes”.

Single-word judgements are under the spotlight following the suicide of headteacher Ruth Perry. The inquest into Ruth Perry’s death ruled that the 2022 inspection of her school “lacked fairness, respect and sensitivity”, was at times “rude and intimidating”, and had “contributed” to her suicide. The inspection had downgraded her school from outstanding to inadequate.

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting SecEd and reading some of our content for professionals in secondary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcast

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday


Already have an account? Sign in here