Ofsted inspections do not improve student results, say nine in ten teachers: More than 90% of teachers in England said school inspections had a neutral or negative impact on student results, according to a survey carried out by the VoicED education market research consultancy on behalf of Teacher Support Network.
Although regulators aim to promote improvement in schools, the survey revealed that just 8% of school staff felt inspections helped improve student outcomes, while a similar minority, one in 10 teachers, said inspections improved their own performance in the classroom.
Overall, 79% of teachers said inspections had a negative impact on their personal wellbeing, with three quarters (74%) feeling less motivated to continue working in the profession.
- 93% of teachers said inspections contributed to stress and 88% said it caused anxiety
- Two fifths (41%) of classroom teachers and a third (31%) of heads said it led to depression
- Nearly three quarters (72%) favoured greater assessment of staff wellbeing in the inspection framework
More than half (53%) said they would benefit from more feedback from inspectors and a similar figure (51%) favoured peer assessment. A quarter of staff called for shorter inspections, 39% wanted less frequent inspections and 30% wanted more notice from inspectors.
Julian Stanley, Chief Executive of Teacher Support Network, said: “These results show how inspections are negatively impacting on the quality of life and effectiveness of teaching staff in England.
“If inspections are intended to improve a child’s education, this survey suggests the current framework needs overhauling. How can inspections be improved to focus on teacher wellbeing and in turn help raise student results? Ofsted should consider these suggestions from teachers in its current consultation.
“We strongly believe that teachers who are mentally and physically fit will be better equipped to teach our children and improve student outcomes. We will be campaigning for this in the lead up to the general election.”
One survey respondent, a 54-year-old secondary school teacher from Lincolnshire, said she quit working full time to do supply work because of the stress of inspections and class observations.
“Constant monitoring made me get out of teaching on a permanent contract two years ago,” she said. “There are huge demands on producing progress reports and most schools now expect you to log homework. The admin tasks are so time consuming; it’s all for show.
“The most recent Ofsted guidelines say you don’t have to submit lesson plans but schools are still terrified of Ofsted and still expect teachers to jump through these unnecessary hoops. This is on top of termly observations and everything else you have to do.
“We’re due an Ofsted inspection at any time. I’m a supply teacher so I don’t feel as much pressure now but other teachers feel vulnerable if they haven’t done all the marking or procedures in the right way. Everyone wants to be seen to be doing your best but teachers don’t have enough time to do everything. In some ways inspections do make you want to do things right, but it’s either at the expense of your family time or lesson time.”
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from VoicED. Total sample size was 804 teachers in England. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21/11/14 and 01/12/14. The survey was carried out online.
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