Ofsted: Accountability — [Ian Paisley in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:45 pm on 8th June 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Julian Sturdy Julian Sturdy Conservative, York Outer 3:45 pm, 8th June 2022

I will be brief. I thank the Minister for his response, but I want to pick up one quick point before thanking everyone else. He talked specifically about Naburn school, which is what led me to bring this debate on Ofsted’s accountability to the Chamber. The new headteacher, Jonathan Green, has been tasked with turning the school around. He has the full support of the parents and is doing an amazing job, but he was in place for only 24 days before Ofsted came on site to inspect the school. Is that normal, or should he have been given more time to try to turn the school around? There was a huge amount of frustration in the local community that that was how the inspection came about, and that context needs to be laid out in response to what the Minister has said.

I would like to thank Jim Shannon and my hon. Friend Dr Poulter for their valuable contributions and for raising different aspects of Ofsted’s accountability. I agree with one of the points made by Stephen Morgan that many schools, headteachers, teachers and parents, at times, feel punished by Ofsted. We have to change that.

I agree with the Minister on the issues of the overall accountability of Ofsted and its wider policy. He raised the fact that he and the Secretary of State have regular meetings on that. However, it still goes back to the real concern over individual cases and how schools can challenge decisions made by Ofsted. I do not think that that has been properly addressed. There is real concern out there.

The Minister referred to the ICASO review, but we have to remember that it is not binding on Ofsted, as I said in my speech. I wonder whether the Minister feels that a change such as making those findings binding on Ofsted could ensure more individual accountability when schools feel aggrieved by an Ofsted inspection and need some form of redress to be able to challenge that. I do not feel that they have the confidence to do that at the moment.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House
has considered the accountability of Ofsted.

Sitting suspended.