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Is Ofsted 'Reliable & Trusted'? It Depends How You Ask...

4 December 2017

We did a cheeky thing this week.

First, we asked Teacher Tappers if they thought Ofsted acts as a “reliable and trusted arbiter”.

Only 16% of teachers even agreed that Ofsted is “reliable and trusted” at judging standards. That’s a really low score!

Yet when we asked if you users agreed with the Ofsted rating of their own school, the picture switched around! ?

Although only 16% of teachers think Ofsted is reliable and trustworthy, a stonking 57% trust the grade for their own school! What’s going on? ?

This reminds of the old NHS statistics, in which people would routinely say the service overall was rubbish but their personal experiences were always rated very highly. Could it be that an overall delusion about Ofsted’s competence has been created?

One tweeter, @MrRissbrook, pointed out that if the odds of a rating being thought of as reliable is only 57%, then once you’ve worked across 3 schools the likelihood of you agreeing in all 3 drops to 18.5%.

So we wondered: does the number of Ofsted inspections in your career affect your view of the inspectorate?

And yes, it does!

As people go through more Ofsteds, they become more cynical about its reliability and trustworthiness.

We also suspected that people’s views on their current schools’ grading might change depending on the positivity of the outcome. After all, if your school is rated ‘good’ then why would you be mad and think Ofsted is untrustworthy?

So we looked, and…

… as expected, teachers in schools with lower grades (3 and 4) were the least likely to say ‘yes’ their Ofsted was roughly accurate.

BUT: do you see the quirk?

A whopping 24% of teachers in Outstanding schools think their grade overstates the quality of education provided.

This should concern Ofsted. And it’s unsurprising that Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector, has hinted she wants to look again at the policy of letting Outstanding-rated schools go without inspection until someone flags a major concern. If this is anything to go by, concerns already exist in around 20% of those schools! ?

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