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Less than 1 in 5 teachers think Ofsted is ‘trusted and reliable’

By Mark Richards,

24 Jan 2020

Let’s be honest, expecting teachers to proclaim their love and affection for Ofsted is a bit like thinking turkeys would vote for Christmas.

It’s never going to happen, being realistic. However, it would seem that what little begrudging respect that may have existed within the teaching profession for the work that the inspectorate does is decreasing.

Even the acceptance that it’s a tough job and someone’s got to do it seems to be disappearing too. In fact, it’s not far off from vanishing entirely, according to the results of a new YouGov survey. Fewer teachers now think school inspection is necessary The results of Ofsted’s Teacher Attitude Survey, which is published annually, was developed by YouGov.

Overall, it paints a fairly damning picture of the perception that the profession has of Ofsted and the process of inspection in general. For example, the survey reveals that the proportion of teachers who believe that inspection is necessary has dropped from 50% to just 38%. The fact that 62% of teachers don’t even think Ofsted should exist speaks volumes.

Most teachers would accept that schools have to be held to account and that performance has to be monitored in some way – it’s just that they don’t have faith in Ofsted doing it. On a more positive note, it seems that the majority of teachers feel that the final judgement reached by Ofsted during inspections was accurate and fair.

At 61%, this figure remains the same as it was in the 2018 survey.

This perhaps offers the inspectorate a degree of comfort.

However, if you were to spin the figures a different way, to say that 4 out of 10 teachers don’t think that Ofsted’s final judgements are fair, it’s something of an indictment. Ofsted not regarded as trusted and reliable Perhaps the most damning aspect of the survey’s results is the fact that less than 1 in 5 teachers believe that Ofsted can be regarded as reliable or to be trusted.

Indeed, compared to the 2018 survey, the figures have crashed – down to just 18% from 35% the previous year. Another worrying statistic from the poll is that just 19% of respondents believe that Ofsted acts independently of government.

Again, there was a sharp fall evident from 30% in 2018. What shapes teachers’ perception of Ofsted? Unsurprisingly, the majority of teachers – 58% - say that it’s their own experience of inspection that has shaped the way they feel about Ofsted.

However, approximately a quarter of teachers report that the general reputation that the inspectorate has gained over the years has been an important factor in the way it is perceived too. It's very difficult for Ofsted to try and view the results of this poll in a positive way.

It’s true that the new inspection framework, published in May, did gain plenty of positive reaction from teachers.

However, there was a fair amount of criticism and cynicism too.

And this survey just goes to show how far away the inspectorate is from having the confidence of the profession.


1- How can we improve ofsted's role in school improvement?

2- The ofsted inspection framework - What's changing?

3- Tips for handling ofsted inspection

4- Ofsted inspections: Do they have any benefits?

5- Ofsted Chief inspector condemns league tables