Ofsted inspections on top of Covid causing teachers to 'walk away' from job

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Education unions are calling for Ofsted to pause routine inspections until after February half term - Credit: Max Fischer/Graham White/Charlotte Bond

Teachers are leaving the profession due to the stress of Ofsted inspections taking place while dealing with the impacts that Covid-19 has caused, according to one Suffolk headteacher.

Education unions, NASUWT and NEU are calling for a pause to the resumption of routine Ofsted inspections until after February half-term to help teachers deal with the anticipated fallout of the Omicron variant over the winter period.

Ofsted have decided to halt plans for inspections for this week, the final week of term, and the first week of next term to allow schools to do Covid testing.

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Stowmarket High headteacher Dave Lee-Allan - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Stowmarket High School Headteacher Dave Lee-Allen believes there is concern about the lack of consideration from the organisation about the stresses and strains the schools have faced.

He said: "I think schools, school leaders and teachers are facing continual enormous challenges and the threat of Ofsted hanging over them on top of everything else is pushing some people to walk away from the profession and we do not need that at all."

Graham White is the National Education Union (NEU) representative for Suffolk and says the situation is "quite straight forward".

He said: "These schools have worked incredibly hard to minimise the impact by putting in extra hours extra support and so on and so forth.

Graham White is from the Suffolk branch of the National Education Union

Graham White is from the Suffolk branch of the National Education Union - Credit: Graham White

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"I think teachers have just about had enough of Ofsted in many many cases. It's not seen as a supportive process at all. It's seen as a very judgemental, snapshot view and does impact on teachers' lives whatever the outcome."

He believes teachers are happy to be given support and advice but not judgements in this scenario.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Schools and colleges are continuing to experience very significant levels of disruption because of staff and pupil absence caused by Covid-19. We have called on Ofsted in these circumstances to agree to defer routine inspections on request from the school or college concerned until a later date. It is our view that schools and colleges are best placed to be able to make a judgement about the impact of Covid on their setting.

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Teaching unions believe a break from Ofsted inspections would help schools get through the tricky Covid winter - Credit: Getty Images/Hemera

“Ofsted has slightly softened the criteria for deferrals as a result of our discussions but we are not satisfied that this goes far enough."

Ofsted said secondary schools would not be inspected, unless there are "urgent concerns", during the first week of term in January to allow for the testing of pupils on-site.

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