SCHOOL leaders in the region have welcomed the spotlight being turned on Ofsted inspectors after claims that failed heads had been recruited to judge other schools.
Governors and former school secretaries had also taken on the job of Ofsted inspectors – despite never teaching a class, according to an investigation by BBC’s File on 4 programme.
The programme’s findings were yesterday supported by teachers and school representatives in the North-East.
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Peter King, Darlington branch secretary of the National Association of Headteachers, and headteacher at the town’s Corporation Road Primary School, which was rated good by Ofsted in 2010, said his own experiences with inspectors were quite positive.
However, he added: “I do know of examples in Darlington where colleagues have been left very disappointed by unbending inspectors who have followed their own agenda in a critical and unfair way.
“Colleagues have long known that Ofsted can be something of a haven for those who were not successful in the job itself, and who prefer the ‘do as I say’ edict rather than ‘do as I do’.”
Mr King said that whenever his schools had been inspected, he had researched the visiting inspectors. “Google has thrown up some interesting facts; I was once inspected by a former headteacher whose school had been graded by Ofsted as lower than mine, and I made sure she knew that,” he said.
Beccy Earnshaw, director of Schools North-East, said there was a serious issue regarding the quality and training of Ofsted inspectors, and the inconsistencies contained within Ofsted reports.
She said: “Ofsted has such a huge impact on schools and it’s only right that the people who are making those judgements are credible.”
Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said if there were inspectors who had failed as headteachers, or who had never taught, the issue needed to be dealt with.
At least two former headteachers who were forced out of “failing” schools are inspectors, the programme reported.
An Ofsted spokeswoman said: “We are putting our best people in the field and last month we announced a scheme to train outstanding headteachers to undertake a number of inspections every year.”