Ofsted Under Pressure as Inquiry Launches

Stressed nursery teacher sitting in a classroom at children's toy table

Ofsted Under Pressure as Inquiry Launches

The education sector has always had a fraught relationship with Ofsted. While settings and providers are often rightly proud of their Ofsted ratings, where Good or Outstanding grades are achieved despite all today’s challenges, the process of inspections themselves are a cause of significant stress. Tragically, in recent weeks, head teacher Ruth Perry took her own life following an inspection downgrade. In the aftermath of her death, many head teachers and setting leaders have protested what they see as Ofsted taking a heavy-handed and arbitrary approach. 

In response, Ofsted’s leader, HM Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman, has acknowledged the need for Ofsted to change, though she has also highlighted that while the inspectorate is listening, the changes they propose will likely not go far or fast enough to satisfy everyone. So far, she has promised changes to the complaints process, allowing more issues to be dealt with during the inspection, rather than afterwards, and re-emphasising the importance of childcare providers; and schools understanding and managing the risks of children coming to harm and ensuring that prompt action is taken when it happens.

Initially it was not clear that these changes would apply to the early years sector as well as to schools inspections, but this has been clarified, following an enquiry by Nursery World. Nonetheless, the calls for further reforms have grown, with some arguing that the inspection grades themselves should be revised, moving away from a single overall grade from one inspection. What will happen next remains to be seen and inspections are unlikely to be going away any time soon.

If you or your staff are feeling under pressure or stress, whether due to an upcoming inspection or otherwise, remember all Morton Michel Childcare and Education policyholders have access to a free, confidential counselling helpline. Find out more here