Nine in ten teachers say school inspections do not improve student results

28th September 2015

Mon, 08/12/2014 - 00:01 

More than 90% of teachers in England say school inspections have a neutral or negative impact on student results, according to a survey for Teacher Support Network. 

Although regulators aim to promote improvement in schools, the survey, conducted by education market research company VoicED, revealed that just 8% of school staff felt inspections helped improve student outcomes while a similar minority, one in 10, said inspections improved their performance at work. 

Overall, 79% of teachers said inspections had a negative impact on their personal wellbeing, with three quarters (74%) feeling less motivated to continue working in the profession. 

  • 93% of teachers said inspections contributed to stress and 88% said it caused anxiety
  • Two fifths (41%) of classroom teachers and a third (31%) of heads said it led to depression
  • Nearly three quarters (72%) favoured greater assessment of staff wellbeing in the inspection framework

More than half (53%) said they would benefit from more feedback from inspectors and a similar figure (51%) favoured peer assessment. A quarter of staff called for shorter inspections, 39% wanted less frequent inspections and 30% wanted more notice from inspectors.

Julian Stanley, Chief Executive of Teacher Support Network, 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.

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."