A motion tabled in parliament this week has called for Ofsted to be axed.
The motion put forward by MP for Bradford West George Galloway stated: “Ofsted has become a political tool for ill-thought out policies and political prejudices.
“Ofsted is not fit for purpose and should be rapidly wound up.”
Early day motions are a way of members of parliament putting forward issues for debate, but very few are actually debated.
However, the motion follows calls from councils for an independent review of Ofsted..
Chair of the LGA’s children and young people board Cllr David Simmonds told Community Care they had questions over the credibility and consistency of the inspectorate. “We think there is some value to the system but we want to make Ofsted part of the solution.”
Simmonds flagged up the inspectorate’s habit of downgrading schools’ and councils’ ratings when they hit the media and said an independent review would help restore faith that the inspectorate was not just a media-driven organisation.
“Ofsted’s knee-jerk response to a scandal seems to be to re-inspect a school and declare it failing,” he said, and called upon the inspectorate to enter into negotiations with the LGA about a regime change.
Ofsted responded that it has raised the bar for both education and care services.
In a statement it said: “It is simply incorrect to suggest our inspection judgements are influenced by anything other than the evidence we find.
“We know that previously high performing institutions can deteriorate rapidly when they suffer staff turbulence or a sudden change in leadership.”
President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), Alan Wood also voiced his concern about the inspectorate at last month’s NCAS conference.
Wood pointed out resources that should be used to help service users get redirected to cope with the burden of an inspection on a council.
“A bad Ofsted inspection in the medium term is corrosive,” he said.
But The College of Social Work’s chief executive Annie Hudson said the professional body is focused only on delivering good social work and this means working closely with the inspectorate as well as the profession.
“The College believes in the need for strong systems of professional accountability and in the need for continuing practice improvement. Effective inspection is one, but not the only lever for improving standards,” she said.