Training materials for Ofsted inspectors should not be published as it could result in increased and unnecessary workload for teachers, chief inspector Amanda Spielman has said.
In a letter to Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Ms Spielman insisted that Ofsted would not be sharing inspection training materials despite repeated calls for them to do so.
Both ASCL and the Confederation of School Trusts (CST) had called on the watchdog to publish its training materials with all schools after a series of documents were shared on social media.
However, in a letter to Mr Barton, Ms Spielman has ruled this out as she said the materials “lack the necessary context for a wider audience.”
Ms Spielman wrote: “The ‘aide memoires’ are summaries of a very detailed inspector training programme. They do not include any new ideas or approaches to methodology.
“All of the content is in the public domain in our published research reviews, subject videos and other materials.
“Our concern is that releasing these documents separately, without the accompanying context and detail, could lead to people misinterpreting their purpose or messages.
“In particular, we are concerned that schools could use them as simple checklists, leading to increased and unnecessary workload.
“We recognize that some schools have got hold of these documents and may use them inappropriately, but that is very different to us publishing them ourselves, which could be seen as us endorsing their use in this way.”
In response, Mr Barton said: “We’re disappointed with the Chief Inspector’s response. It is a very simple matter. Schools should have equal access to materials used by school inspectors in the interests of fairness and transparency.
“This is obviously not the case at the moment, as some schools have school inspectors on their staff, and others don’t, while some will have seen the materials on social media, and others won’t. Instead of digging in its heels, Ofsted should do the right thing and publish these materials.”
Yesterday, the deputy chief executive of the CST Steve Rollett wrote a blog in which he questioned whether Ofsted lacked the confidence to share its training inspection materials with the sector.
Documents are now being shared online, which show both detailed subject inspector guides for both primary and secondary school inspections and aide memoire sheets for inspectors in different subject areas.