Heads attack chief inspector's 'bully boy tactics'

Sir Michael Wilshaw Head teachers at an annual conference have criticised Ofsted chief, Sir Michael Wilshaw

Related Stories

Head teachers have accused England's chief inspector of schools of "bully boy tactics" against their profession.

The National Association of Head Teachers said it would have expected more from Sir Michael Wilshaw, a former head himself.

The NAHT said it was "both saddened and dismayed" by Sir Michael's "negative rhetoric" and said his support was needed to help teachers and pupils.

Ofsted said the intention was to work closely with good heads.

Oxfordshire head teacher Mike Curtis proposed a motion at the NAHT conference in Harrogate saying the conference was "saddened and dismayed" by the approach taken by Mr Wilshaw.

Start Quote

We must stand up to the bully-boy tactics of Michael Wilshaw”

End Quote Mike Curtis Oxfordshire head

Introducing the motion, he said: "Can we really put our trust in Her Majesty's Chief Inspector? I suggest not.

"Successful careers are damaged or destroyed on a daily basis as more schools are put into categories.

"Fear reigns and confidence wanes as Ofsted waves its stick. We must stand up to the bully-boy tactics of Michael Wilshaw.

"We need to send a strong message to Michael Wilshaw to say that we have had enough.

"We deplore his negative rhetoric which is demoralising our members and is creating a climate of fear in schools."

Strained relations

On Saturday, delegates put forward a late motion for discussion which called for a vote of no confidence in the chief inspector.

However, after debate, the NAHT decided the wording of it was too strong and amounted to the same sort of bullying rhetoric they were criticising.

Start Quote

We are saddened by Sir Michael, especially as he was a head once”

End Quote Bernadette Hunter NAHT vice-president

Overnight, the association drew up a new motion which was put before members on Sunday morning.

The NAHT voted overwhelmingly in favour of the new motion, with 98.9% voting yes.

The motion represents a further straining of relationships between the NAHT and Ofsted, coming just days after the association raised concerns about the quality and impartiality of school inspections.

A poll of over 2,000 school leaders, conducted by the union, found almost half (45.3%) believed Ofsted made no contribution to, or actively prevented, standards being raised.

Nine in 10 (89.9%) were either unhappy or very unhappy about the tone and content of recent announcements by the watchdog.

Ofsted has recently announced plans - that are currently out for consultation -, to introduce no-notice inspections for all schools and to scrap the "satisfactory" rating and replace it with "requires improvement".

'Intolerable stress'

Vice-president of the NAHT and Staffordshire primary school head teacher Bernadette Hunter said Ofsted was putting an "intolerable amount of stress" on heads.

Ms Hunter said the "horrible rhetoric" from the schools watchdog was putting people off becoming head teachers.

"We are saddened by Sir Michael, especially as he was a head once."

A spokeswoman for Ofsted said: "Ofsted has been listening to the views of head teachers, teacher and parents about its proposed changes to school inspections and will announce the results of its consultation at the end of the month.

"The intention is to work closely with good heads as they drive improvement in their schools."

Inspection U-turn

The debate comes despite Education Secretary Michael Gove signalling a U-turn over Sir Michael's plans for no-notice inspections of schools from September.

Addressing the conference on Saturday morning, Mr Gove said the proposals were likely to be dropped.

The plans, announced by Sir Michael in January, caused anger among head teachers, who currently receive 48 hours' notice.

The NAHT welcomed Mr Gove's speech, saying heads had a right to make sure they were on site for inspections.

Sir Michael took up his post in January. He was previously executive head of Mossbourne Academy in Hackney, east London.


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 286.

    @wykeite I wondered when the good-old stance of youngsters not being able to read, write and do sums would rear its ugly head. It seems impossible that examination results continue to rise when employers keep spouting anecdotal evidence that school-leavers cannot spell or string a coherent sentence together. Maybe the issue is that employers see one badly spelt letter and view all the same way?

  • rate this

    Comment number 285.

    Freehugs268 Brambo274 True. I think both have used the profession, the students and parents cynically. Labour brought in loads of initiatives that drove me mad too as well as initiating the whole academy thing. Lab are quiet cos now ball rolling they wont want to afford the stopping. Been in job for 22yrs teacher and head. Got tonsillitis again! Politicians, bugs get us down all the same!

  • rate this

    Comment number 284.

    Brambo - When I started, it was frowned upon to teach spelling and tables - then it all became fashionable again. Who knows how long before "experts" say it's old hat again? I saw damned good teachers driven into early retirement because they were "old-fashioned". Ofsted and politicians DO NOT offer the commonsense schools require to function well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 283.

    Being a teacher of X number of years experience is not measure of being good, bad or excellent!
    An excellent head teacher is an excellent manager and an excellent leader, their teachers will perform well with or without their presence and will not mind impromptu inspections. Whilst a poor head teachers will want to run around with the inspector to try and hide their schools failings.

  • rate this

    Comment number 282.

    Why not try teaching them in a giant fish tank ? In snorkelling outfits? That hasn't been tried yet. It would be the teacher's fault if it didn't work, of course.

  • rate this

    Comment number 281.

    Dear Headteachers,
    Please stand up for our profession. I really do believe that government would be quite happy if we all left after 5 years. Then they would have a cheap workforce with less power. I don't mind anyone coming in to see me without notice. What I do mind, is someone coming in who is arrogant with a hidden agenda and who knows litttle about the subject I am teaching.

  • rate this

    Comment number 280.

    If school leavers could actually spell correctly after 10+ years at school perhaps teachers would have a point.

    Too many enter the job straight from school/college/university with few life skills to impart. It's time we put a whole new set of values on teachers and their experience.

  • rate this

    Comment number 279.

    @271 cont'd ....also please dont come back looking for free NHS treatment when you get older and havn't contributed anything for zonka-zillions of years. Won't be an NHS then anyhow :(

    not that I support the nation state... but thats another argument.

  • Comment number 278.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    It is vital that teachers and their organisations spend much more time and effort getting the message to the public that we are professionals who accept our responsibilities and accountability. We also need to ensure we engage with Ofsted to try and get the inspection process right as a movement that teachers and the public have faith in as a force for change and positive improvement...

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    I hate to say this but, in many cases, School Inspectors are like Lecturers in Uni Education Departments. Failed teachers' You know the old saying, 'Them as can, do. Them as can't, teach'. Expand that by adding 'Them as can't teach, teach the teachers'.

    Too true to be funny in many instances.

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    271 @Expat. You have no right to an opinion on UK related stuff. You fled because you were rich enough to do so. I would have more respect if you had stayed home and worked for what is right in your home country for the good of all its citizens. All the best in the colonies hope you find what you're looking for. Feel free to keep out of our affairs now you've run away.

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    At phil (post 263). You can argue that stance all you wish, but the labour party has NOT OPPOSED the expansion of academies. When asked about it a few months ago, Ed Balls didn't even broach the subject. Further, they have taken no stance on teachers pensions either. It is an argument they cannot win by taking an opposite because they fundamentally agree with the ConLib's position.

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    Freehugs268. I totally agree. my point was that there is a political motive to no notice inspections/failing schools/new ofsted framework again/academies etc. It's to fragment the LEA and make everything centralised, rewrite the rule book for teachers so they lose their pensions and try to use a public/private school model in state schools cos that's all the tories know and value. It's a crime.

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    Financial pressures have not been reduced by schools becoming academies.Sponsors want return on their investment.NQ teachers are cheaper and preferred.Management Leader Teams are reduced to lower cost.Focus is on C to A including Maths & English.After school,Saturday and holiday classes for underachievers in yr 10 & 11 are compulsory.My kids say to get teachers' attention you have to be 'stupid'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    We moved to Canada 3 years ago for several different reasons one of them was to improve our kids future.The UK seem to have lost their direction with many things and it all seems to stem from lack of decent education, I dont blame the teachers, they are fighting a one handed battle complete with blind fold & g1mp gag. People still have respect here and support teachers. UK needs a kick up the as.

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    Steve - I worked in a school where this happened - the choice wasn't mine, but these choices ARE forced on some schools - there are not enough teachers - so many leave within 5 years of qualifying due to the pressure. Weirdly enough, I love my job, but there are not many of us around any more - I even work more than a full-time job to make sure classes are covered but I have no family to consider.

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    Continued from 261.

    Fft, fftd, 3 part lesson, 4 part lesson, 5 part lesson, 5 day inspection, 3 day inspection, 2 day inspection, performance management, LMS, Scheme of Work, Long term planning, Short term planning, medium term planning, lesson objectives, lesson outcomes, learning gains, self assessment, peer assessment, target setting: FSM, vulnerable, in local authority care. Btec, diploma....

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    @Phil 263 Labour may have had different reasons for the decisions they took but the result was still the same. Less say in the education and teaching of children by the people who are best placed to make those decisions ie Teachers and students. If you think of each pupil as an individual future citizen with different needs and motivations how it be right to treat them as statistics or targets.

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    261 @bobbgooduk. Intefering kudos hungry politocs chasing votes. Simples.

    263 @phil not totally sure of your post but I see no need for all this so-called austerity. Funding education, NHS, civilised welfare program no problem. Cancel Trident, stop stupid wars, tax the hell out of the City of London criminals. Still simples.


Page 10 of 24


More Education & Family stories



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.