01/Sep/2014 - Last News Update: 12:02

Head teachers attack chief inspector's 'culture of fear'

Category: England

Published: 6th May 2012 03:55:35

Head teachers are accusing the chief inspector of schools in England of creating a "culture of fear" in England's schools.

The National Association of Head Teachers says it expected more from Sir Michael Wilshaw, a former head himself.

The NAHT will debate a motion deploring Sir Michael's "negative rhetoric" and promising to "pursue whatever action it deems appropriate" to defend heads.

Ofsted said the intention was to work closely with good heads.

On Saturday delegates put forward a late motion for discussion which called for a vote of no confidence in the chief inspector.

However, after debate, the NAHT decided the wording of it was too strong and amounted to the same sort of bullying rhetoric they were criticising.

We are saddened by Sir Michael, especially as he was a head once”

Overnight, the association drew up a new motion which will be put before members on Sunday morning.

It says: "This conference s both saddened and angered by the approach taken by the current HMIC (Her Majesty's chief inspector).

"We deplore his negative rhetoric which is creating a culture of fear in schools.

"We would have expected him, as a former fellow school leader, to understand that to get the best out of children and staff in schools, we need to both challenge and support.

"We call on national executive to pursue whatever action it deems appropriate to defend our profession."

The motion represents a further straining of relationships between the NAHT and Ofsted, coming just days after the association raised concerns about the quality and impartiality of school inspections.

A poll of more than 2,000 school leaders, conducted by the union, found almost half (45.3%) believed Ofsted made no contribution to, or actively prevented, standards being raised.

Nine out of 10 (89.9%) were either unhappy or very unhappy about the tone and content of recent announcements by the watchdog.

Ofsted has recently announced plans - currently out for consultation - to introduce no-notice inspections for all schools and to scrap the "satisfactory" rating and replace it with "requires improvement".

Vice-president of the NAHT Bernadette Hunter said Ofsted was putting an "intolerable amount of stress" on heads.

Ms Hunter, a primary school head teacher in Staffordshire, said the "horrible rhetoric" from the schools watchdog was putting people off becoming head teachers.

An Ofsted spokeswoman said: "Ofsted has been listening to the views of head teachers, teacher and parents about its proposed changes to school inspections and will announce the results of its consultation at the end of the month.

"The intention is to work closely with good heads as they drive improvement in their schools."

The debate comes despite Education Secretary Michael Gove signalling a u-turn over Sir Michael's plans for no-notice inspections of schools from September.

Addressing the conference on Saturday morning, Mr Gove said the proposals were likely to be dropped.

The plans, announced by Sir Michael in January, caused anger among head teachers, who currently receive 48 hours' notice.

The NAHT welcomed Mr Gove's speech, saying heads had a right to make sure they were on site for inspections.

Sir Michael took up his post in January. He was previously executive head of Mossbourne Academy in Hackney, east London.

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BBC News, 2012. Head teachers attack chief inspector's 'culture of fear' [Online] (Updated 6th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1426792/Head-teachers-attack-chief-inspectors-culture-of-fear [Accessed 1st Sep 2014]

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