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Inspection Survey Results
This poll of 804 individuals working in schools in England, carried out for the Teacher Support Network Group by the VoicED education market research panel during November-December 2014, has given a damning judgment on inspections.
Top Points
79% of respondents said inspections impacted negatively on their wellbeing
Overall, only 10% said inspections had impacted positively on their performance at work
More than 90% said inspections had a neutral or negative effect on students’ results
72% favour adding staff wellbeing to inspection framework
Whilst inspectors endeavor to promote improvement, these results suggest that inspections are actually damaging teacher wellbeing and performance, as well as students’ results.
Impact on teacher wellbeing
In response to the survey, 79% of respondents said inspections had impacted negatively on their wellbeing. Only 7% felt inspections had the opposite positive effect. 93% said inspections had contributed to their stress, 88% said they had contributed to anxiety, and 34% said they had contributed to their depression.
Impact on performance and results
Regulators aim to promote improvement, but our survey found that only 10% think inspections have impacted positively on their performance at work, and only 8% think inspections have improved students’ results. A higher proportion, 10%, felt inspections had impacted negatively on students’ results, and 82% felt inspections had no effect on students’ results overall.
Worryingly, nearly three quarters (74%) said inspections had negatively impacted on their motivation to continue in their career in education. Only 2% felt more motivated to continue in their education career as a result of their experience of inspections.
One survey respondent, a 54-year-old Secondary School teacher from Lincolnshire, said she quit working full time to do supply work because of the stress of inspections and class observations:
“Constant monitoring made me get out of teaching on a permanent contract two years ago,” she said.
“There are huge demands on producing progress reports and most schools now expect you to log homework. The admin tasks are so time consuming; it’s all for show.
“The most recent Ofsted guidelines say you don’t have to submit lesson plans but schools are still terrified of Ofsted and still expect teachers to jump through these unnecessary hoops. This is on top of termly observations and everything else you have to do.
“We’re due an Ofsted inspection at any time. I’m a supply teacher so I don’t feel as much pressure now but other teachers feel vulnerable if they haven’t done all the marking or procedures in the right way. Everyone wants to be seen to be doing your best but teachers don’t have enough time to do everything. In some ways inspections do make you want to do things right, but it’s either at the expense of your family time or lesson time.”
Special measures
A majority of school staff who participated in the survey said the following reforms would improve their wellbeing, and in turn their effectiveness:
72% favoured greater assessment of staff wellbeing
53% would benefit from more feedback on how to improve
51% called for inspections to be based on peer/mentor assessment
These findings have already fed into Ofsted’s consultation about its future inspection framework. We will also undertake further campaigns calling for these improvements to be made to school inspections.
Julian Stanley, Chief Executive of Teacher Support Network Group, said: “These results show how inspections are resulting in high levels of stress and anxiety for many teachers with little benefit to their effectiveness in the classroom or student results.
“We believe there is a strong link between a teacher’s health and wellbeing and their students’ outcomes. Given the negative impact of inspections on a significant number of teachers, the current regime urgently needs to be reviewed and changed.
“Ofsted should consider these suggestions from teachers in its current consultation. This is something we will be campaigning for in the lead up to the general election.”
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