Ofsted 2005 : a new relationship with primary headteachers?

Watts, Yvonne Joy (2012). Ofsted 2005 : a new relationship with primary headteachers? EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000bfe5


This study concerns the role of the English primary school headteacher within the school inspection process, specifically after the implementation of the key changes made by Ofsted to their inspection framework in 2005. These amendments were considerable, and included moving to shorter inspections with less notice given, alongside schools being required to undertake self- evaluation to inform the inspectorate. Much of a primary school's self-evaluation falls to the headteacher and the study focuses on the implications of Ofsted's New Relationship with Schools for the head. Mixed methods are used for the study. A questionnaire survey was sent to all 749 primary headteachers whose schools were inspected in November 2006 and follow-up interviews were undertaken with a sample of these. The extent of a head's autonomy is considered, to investigate whether variations in approach make any difference to the outcomes for a school. This practitioner study is undertaken by a serving primary headteacher which helps inform the research focus and data analysis. It includes some personal reflection from the researcher, including a consideration of the implications of the research on her professional role. The findings indicate that the primary headteachers in the study believe the new inspection process to have both advantages and disadvantages. Although there is some criticism of Ofsted, most heads recognise the need to be accountable, even though multiple accountabilities to a variety of stakeholders weigh heavily for some. The study concludes that the respondent heads who approach the inspection process with confidence and belief in their school and its practices may help to support a positive outcome by ensuring the school will be seen in the best light possible. This finding may be of interest to primary head teachers and could help to inform their professional practice.

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