Commenting on the Ofsted Annual Report, published today, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers' union in the UK, said:

"As with every other Chief Inspector's Annual Report published during Ofsted's two decades of existence, this year's edition claims that the education system in England is improving but is falling significantly short of the mark.

“Sir Michael Wilshaw's reprise of this well-worn assertion will come as no surprise to teachers and school leaders. However, it does beg important questions about the role Ofsted has played in maintaining and enhancing the quality of education offered in England's schools.

“Ofsted has made significant changes to its inspection system in recent years which need to be borne in mind when drawing any conclusions about Ofsted’s assertions in its Annual Report.

“Any conclusions drawn about the quality of the education system based on the findings of inspections carried out over the past year have to be treated with some degree of caution.

“Ofsted appears to be focusing its attention to an increasing extent on the quality of leadership and management in schools. However, the consequence is that this pressure is leading too many school managements to impose workload-intensive and punitive requirements on teachers which are diverting them from focusing on the needs of pupils and do nothing to raise standards.

“If Sir Michael Wilshaw is serious about ensuring that his expectations are understood correctly across the education system, he should ensure that his inspectors challenge such practices and hold those school leaders to public account when they seek to use Ofsted as an excuse for ineffective leadership and management.

“Supporting teachers and school leaders in focusing their time and energies on teaching and learning will make the biggest contribution to retaining our high-quality education system.”


Commenting on the launch of a consultation by the Secretary of State for Education on professional development for teachers and calling for expressions of interest in a College of Teaching, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:

“This Government can establish whatever framework it likes for professional development but unless teachers are given a contractual entitlement to access such development, the current system of inequality and ad hoc arrangements will continue, with access being on the basis of grace and favour and the whims and preferences of individual employers.

“Having introduced, when it came to office, policies which have undermined consistently the professional status of teachers, it is a further indictment on this Government that after four and a half years it is now only offering up what is basically a blank sheet of paper, placing the responsibility on teachers to re-establish esteem in the teaching profession.

“A College of Teaching can never succeed unless the conditions are right. It requires a fundamental change of Government policy, including the reinstatement of the requirement for qualified teacher status and a proper national system of regulation of, and entry to, the profession.

“Whilst noting in the statement the Government’s aspiration for a world-class teaching profession, it’s a pity that ministers once again fail to acknowledge the reality, demonstrated by a wealth of evidence, that that is what they already have.”