Richard Huish Trust has announced that it will be removing Ofsted branding and any reference to inspections from all of its future communications, following the recent events surrounding the inspection of Caversham Primary School.
Its CEO, John Abbott, has called for a “root and branch review” and reform of Ofsted to address the “damaging impact on the wellbeing” of those working in nurseries, schools and colleges.
The trust is an education group made up of six schools and a sixth-form college in Taunton, Somerset – spanning early years, primary, secondary and further education. They are Richard Huish College, Lyngford Park, North Town, West Buckland, The Taunton Academy, Nerrols and North Curry schools.
Mr Abbott said: “Like many others across the education sector, the recent events and circumstances surrounding the Ofsted inspection of Caversham Primary School has prompted us to consider again our concerns about the impact, pressure and stress that the current inspection regime places on all staff.
“We have raised these serious concerns on numerous occasions through the official and formal communication channels, and whilst they have been acknowledged there is no evidence of any systematic change in practice, methodology or culture.
“With little indication of any material response to the concerns being raised by us and many others, we feel increasingly uncomfortable about endorsing an inspection system which places this level of pressure on staff. We no longer wish to provide publicity for Ofsted outcomes and do not wish to be complicit in potentially further increasing the negative impact on our colleagues.
“We will therefore be removing ‘Ofsted’ branding and any reference to inspections from all future communications and any marketing material. We will also do all that we can to minimise any reference to Ofsted from our communications with each other. As a trust, we will also actively, consciously, and openly seek to challenge each other as educational professionals to refrain from making any reference to inspections or Ofsted as a driver for change.
“We will continue to comply with all the statutory and legal requirements associated with Ofsted and the inspection process, and of course will be always professional with colleagues from and representatives of the inspectorate. We will also continue to provide private and supportive safe spaces for all Huish staff who may wish to discuss the impact that Ofsted has or is having on them, and how we might best support them.
“We continue to strive to deliver exceptional education, by professionally challenging ourselves to continually improve and working collaboratively with colleagues both in and outside of our Trust. Our ask, like many others working in education, is that there is a root and branch review and reform of the current inspection regime, which addresses the current well-documented damaging impact on the wellbeing of all colleagues working in nurseries, schools, and colleges”.