Letter: Blame culture does not lift standards

The Telegraph, 03.12.15, HMC member Kevin Riley, headmaster of leading independent Bradford Grammar School writes:

SIR – Following the publication of Ofsted’s annual report on Monday, Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector, said that too many schools are “languishing in mediocrity” and that there is “an educational division of the country after age 11”. Such language merely creates a blame culture which will not help to improve standards.

Ofsted was established in 1992 to oversee a national system of inspection for state schools. Since then, it has done very little to improve standards and has contributed to a climate of fear within schools. Successive governments have done little to reform it and have even widened its remit.

As a headmaster, and having been an inspector of independent schools in Britain and abroad, I believe Ofsted contributes to the problems in Britain’s education system. The top-down, data-driven and accountability-heavy model it has prescribed has failed.

I retire from headship at the end of this month and I’m afraid the problems remain much as they were when I started out in 1993 – an appalling lack of appropriate vocational education, a failure to persuade young people that education is the ladder to success, and a testing regime which is unfit for purpose. Ofsted is part of that failing system.

Kevin Riley
Headmaster, Bradford Grammar School

Read the letter online © The Telegraph