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Structures, inspection and accountability


School leaders understand the need for public accountability. Parents, politicians and the wider public want to be sure that schools are doing their very best for the children they serve.

However, we also recognise that the current low-trust accountability system is based on a narrow range of measures that drive a range of perverse incentives and unintended consequences and that the current high-stakes inspection system all too often instils fear and stifles innovation. 

NAHT is committed to securing fairer methods and measures of accountability, so that pupils’ performance and school effectiveness are judged using a broad range of information, including the school's broader context and performance history, rather than a narrow focus on data.

Ensure published performance data are calculated and used fairly

  • Press the government to take action to ensure understanding across the sector of changes to primary progress data from 2020
  • Engage with the DfE to ensure that the reception baseline assessment is a valid baseline for progress 
  • Work with the DfE to ensure the methodology, publication and use of performance data is accurate, proportionate and appropriate.


Press for a transition from vertical high-stakes approach to accountability to a lateral system with greater ownership by the profession itself

  • Further develop, articulate and argue the case for a new approach to school accountability, building on NAHT's Commission, and working with other partners
  • Campaign against a hard accountability measure on exclusions
  • Make the case and lobby for a wholly independent complaints process for appeals against Ofsted inspection judgements
  • Lobby for the publication of all training materials for inspectors to ensure transparency and equity
  • Lobby Ofsted for greater transparency regarding the experience, skills and training of inspectors for specific phases and settings
  • Monitor members' experiences of the new inspection framework, holding Ofsted to account for the consistency, reliability and behaviour of inspectors, particularly around curriculum and the quality of education judgement.


Ensure any changes to school structures or systems benefit all pupils within a local community

  • Continue to oppose any form of forced academisation
  • Continue to oppose any expansion of grammar schools
  • Promote and advance local accountability, transparency and democracy in school structures and governance so that schools are best able to serve their wider local community
  • Make the case for centrally coordinated place planning to ensure all new school provision meets demand
  • Promote the full variety of school collaboration from Trusts to informal collaborations. 

Ofsted’s new inspection framework – three steps for school leaders

1. What you need to know

Ofsted’s new inspection framework is now being rolled out. To help you get to grips quickly with the key changes we produced some frequently asked questions at the end of the summer term. This guide provides members with an outline of the judgements and the key changes members need to be aware of, particularly if they are expecting a visit from Ofsted in the near future.

2. What to do if there’s a problem with your inspection

It’s vital to deal with any issues while the inspection is ongoing. Don’t wait until the inspection is over. Ofsted’s complaints process rarely results in any substantive change to an inspection report or outcomes. 

Raise the issue with the lead inspector and contact NAHT’s helpline on 0300 30 30 333 (option 1) to discuss the matter.  

3. Send NAHT your inspection feedback

Good or bad, we want to know about it! Send us an email at policy@naht.org.uk. No need for polished prose – a few bullet points will do. Include a number so that we can contact you.

Tell us how your inspection went. Was it:

  • fair and accurate?
  • conducted in a professional manner? 
  • an opportunity to present your school’s strengths and achievements?
  • a useful and formative professional dialogue that will help you to develop and improve your school in the future?

Your feedback will help us to represent your interests with Ofsted. Email us at policy@naht.org.uk.

First published 10 September 2019

First published 10 February 2020