A NATIONAL officer for the leading teaching union has said the decision to pause school inspections to ensure inspectors receive mental health training ‘doesn’t go far enough’.

Routine inspections will not take place in schools in England at the start of term, Ofsted’s new chief inspector Sir Martyn Oliver announced.

It comes after school leaders’ unions called for Ofsted inspections to be suspended to allow time for “meaningful action to be taken” following the inquest into the death of headteacher Ruth Perry.

National officer for the National Education Union (NEU) Louise Birch said: “To me, it’s a sign they realise they have lost the trust of the profession and need to do something radical.

“It doesn’t go far enough as to what we need. We need real structural change," she said. 

Whilst 'training around mental health is desperately needed', Ms Birch advocates for a system that doesn't place additional stress on educators. 

“We’ve been very aware that our members have been detrimentally impacted by Ofsted inspections. From our perspective, they are not driving education standards and are making it worse.

“Headteachers and leaders are jumping through hoops when Ofsted turns up, and that often means creating a lot of paperwork, ultimately not focusing on the children in front of you.

“The tragic death of Ruth Perry has brought it into the limelight for many people. Ruth isn’t the first educator to have taken their own life," she said. 

The NEU has been part of the Beyond Ofsted Inquiry, an independent inquiry, which seeks recommendations to revamp the current inspectorate system.

“Over the last 30 years of Ofsted, there’s been a drastic change in how inspections are conducted. Our Beyond Ofsted report is the first proper step back and look at the impact of those changes.

Ms Birch highlighted an increase in ‘safeguarding’ is a must going forward, as evidenced in the report published back in November.

“We very much believe safeguarding should be done much more regularly than it is under the current framework.

“It holds a lot of sway within Ofsted inspections, it’s the most important thing we should be doing in school with the young people we work with.

"It’s part of an inspection which can happen every four years, it should be done more frequently, “ she said.

To view the full Beyond Ofsted report, visit https://beyondofsted.org.uk/