Jeremy Corbyn promises to scrap Ofsted and help reduce teachers’ stress

Support us and go ad-free

Jeremy Corbyn has defended Labour plans to scrap schools inspectorate Ofsted.

The Labour leader said the Ofsted process created “absolutely enormous” levels of stress for staff and pupils.

Under the Opposition’s plans, being set out at the Labour conference in Brighton, a two-phase inspection system would be introduced.

Schools and education providers would be subject to regular “health checks” by local government, and more in-depth inspections led by Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMIs) – full-time, trained inspectors.

The HMIs would carry out inspections in response to concerns arising from the regular “health checks” or those raised by parents, teachers and governors – rather than at random.

Corbyn suggested the new system would be “a more frequent form of supportive investigation”.

But Schools Minister Nick Gibb said the move would stop parents having “the most basic information”, and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said Labour’s plans represented a “complicated answer” to the issue.

Labour said the system would ensure parents receive the “in-depth and reliable information that they need about our schools” while reducing stress for teachers.

Corbyn told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show:

What we want is an education service that leaves no child behind and gets the best out of everyone.

You don’t achieve the best by threatening people. We are losing almost as many teachers as we are recruiting every year because of the levels of stress they are under.

Labour has already promised to scrap formal primary school tests – known as Sats – to ease stress.

It would also introduce a new statutory definition of a school, and crackdown on an estimated 500 illegal schools which fall outside the current inspection system.

Angela Rayner school visit
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said:

In too many cases, Ofsted’s judgments and grades reflect the affluence of a school’s intake and the social class of its pupils – not the performance of the school.

School performance is far too important and complex to be boiled down to an over-simplified single grade, reducing all schools to one of four categories.

The current system is unfit for purpose, so the next Labour government will abolish Ofsted and replace it with a system that will give parents the reliable and in-depth information that they need about our schools.”

Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman said:

Ofsted has been standing up for the interests of children and parents for over a quarter of a century. It’s a cause that inspires everyone who works here.

In my time so far as chief inspector we have supported children in challenging circumstances through our work tackling illegal schools and off-rolling, and we have shifted the emphasis in education from a narrow focus on exam results onto the real substance of what children are taught in schools.

This work must continue. So we’ll keep on raising standards in education through our new model of inspection and we’ll continue to keep the most vulnerable in society safe, through our regulation of children’s social care services across England.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, welcomed the announcement. Ofsted has been a force for lowering school standards by driving teachers from the profession,” she said.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us