April 8, 2012

Ofsted 'to be barred from classroom' in teacher protest

Ofsted inspectors face being locked out of classrooms as part of action by the National Union of Teachers.

School inspections in England could be thrown into chaos after teachers threatened to boycott Ofsted.

The official education watchdog faces being locked out classrooms and denied key data on pupils as part of a major protest over the “destructive” inspection system, it has emerged.

The National Union of Teachers backed plans that may lead to a campaign of “non-cooperation” with the regulator amid claims inspections have a major impact on staff workload, damage morale and promote a culture of exam cramming.

It follows the launch of similar action in Northern Ireland where dozens of inspections have been deferred or left incomplete following a mass boycott by unions.

Today, the Department for Education attacked the proposed action, saying schools had to be accountable for the billions of pounds of taxpayers' money spent on the education system.

But Martin Powell Davies, a member of the NUT’s ruling executive, told the union’s annual conference that Ofsted was “not welcome in our schools”.

Bad behaviour can often be linked to poor teaching and a "dull" curriculum, said Ofsted.  
He said that – when inspectors enter the classroom – children should be told: “Stop what you are doing, we have got an unwelcome visitor and we need them to leave.”

“I am sure there are lots of us who have considered whether we could boycott Ofsted, whether we can have non-cooperation, and perhaps thought it is going to be a lot to ask people to do,” he said. “But when you hear about teachers who are actually doing it, it has to be something we should very strongly consider.”

Under a new system, Ofsted is proposing to launch no-notice inspections of schools in England to stop teachers over-preparing for official visits.

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