An independent review of Ofsted must be held to restore confidence in the independence and credibility of its inspections, according to local government leaders.
The LGA said public confidence in Ofsted had been undermined by a series of cases in which it had downgraded schools’ ratings from ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ to ‘inadequate’ following a scandal. It cited the ‘Trojan horse’ case as an example.
This raised questions about the validity of the inspectorate’s judgments, the LGA said.
The call for an independent reviews comes on the day Ofted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw is due to address the national children and adult services conference in Manchester.
David Simmonds (Con), chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, said in a statement: “Councils, communities and parents need to know Ofsted and the chief inspector are independent and free from political influence and we need an independent review to discover what has gone wrong and restore faith in what is fast becoming a media-driven organisation.
“In cases where we have seen schools go from outstanding to special measures within a few years, which verdict is to be believed?”
Cllr Simmonds said the call for a review was “not a defence of underperformance”. He said: “We want to know that when Ofsted go into a school, they are being fair and impartial and are not playing to the court of public opinion.
“All of us – not just councils, but parents, children and everyone involved in schools – need an inspectorate which is independent and consistent. All of us must be sure that outstanding means outstanding.”
Cllr Simmonds’ comments come after Jo Miller, chief executive of Doncaster MBC, wrote in LGC that she thought Ofsted inspections were failing to drive improvement in children’s services.