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The News Line: News HEADS DENOUNCE OFSTED ‘BULLY BOYS’ Head teachers yesterday denounced Ofsted’s ‘bully boy tactics’ and sent a strong message to the chief inspector (HMCI) of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, in an emergency motion to the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) annual conference.

The motion said the conference was ‘saddened and angered’ by the approach taken by the current HMCI.

It said: ‘We deplore his negative rhetoric which is creating a culture of fear in schools.’

An amendment suggested that the NAHT should use the e-petition system to seek a parliamentary debate on head teachers’ concerns over Ofsted, in particular Parent View, the new ‘requires improvement’ grade and no-notice inspections.

The amended motion was passed with almost unanimous support.

Proposing the motion, Oxfordshire head Mike Curtis was applauded when he said there was no reason to rule out passing a vote of no confidence in the Chief Inspector in the future.

Curtis painted a vivid picture of what the current Ofsted regime was doing to NAHT members, talking about the ‘bully-boy tactics’ of Michael Wilshaw and Ofsted’s ‘negative rhetoric’.

Curtis said: ‘Successful careers are being damaged or destroyed, more schools are going into a category and confidence wanes as Ofsted waves its stick.’

He added: ‘Are we going to stand around and let Wilshaw get away with what he’s saying?
‘He’s saying we should be lone heroes who beat everyone in our schools into submission. The suggestion that we get the best out of people by bullying them is outrageous.’

Schools, he said, were not factories making goods but we’re dealing with people and head teachers needed to be role models for staff and pupils.

In a passionate speech, Curtis added: ‘He says we should not be afraid to upset staff if it is for the good of the children. I agree with this: it is difficult to do the job without sometimes upsetting people.

‘However, this does not mean bullying them or dismissing their ideas. Challenge them, yes. Rubbish them, no. Michael Wilshaw is wrong and a strong message from us is imperative.’

Eugene Symons, seconding the motion, talked of a ‘leadership vacuum’ which could be the result of the current ‘climate of fear’. ‘There is uncertainty and trepidation in taking on leadership,’ he said.


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