Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Hitting back at false reports

ASCL members have had an especially rough ride in the press this autumn, first with the National Audit Office (NAO) report, then Sir Cyril Taylor claiming that 500 secondary schools are failing, then the Commons Public Accounts Committee report, and finally the chief inspector's annual report.

ASCL has made it clear to journalists in the national and regional press, and to DfES and Ofsted officials, that this is absolutely not an accurate picture of what is actually taking place in our schools.

ASCL is holding ongoing talks with the DfES and Ofsted to challenge these perceptions and dispute the misleading information in these reports.

General Secretary John Dunford said to the press: "Let us be clear about the current situation. Nearly 90 per cent of secondary schools have been judged satisfactory or better, with 60 per cent good or outstanding. The number of schools in special measures has massively reduced in recent years.

"These are facts we should be celebrating. Instead every year the focus is on the small proportion of schools that are experiencing acute difficulties. This seems to have intensified in the last few months.

"Reports such as these will cause a crisis of confidence among the leaders of the profession unless we start to accentuate the positive aspects of schools' performance.

"What school leaders need is not more pressure and constantly moving goalposts. Instead the government and public should trust them as professionals to do the job they were employed to do.

"Ofsted should be part of that supportive improvement process. Currently it is part of the problem, not the solution. We are working with the new chief inspector to turn this around."

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