Labour announces plan to scrap and replace ‘unfit for purpose’ Ofsted
A Labour government would scrap and replace the schools inspection watchdog, Ofsted, Angela Rayner has said.
The Shadow Education Secretary said the body was “unfit for purpose” and would be replaced by a two-phase inspection system.
It would see local government officials carry out regular “health checks” which would then be followed up by a more in-depth inspection led by Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMIs).
The latter would be full-time, trained inspectors, with “experience and expertise in the areas they inspect” and would react to concerns arising from the initial checks, or concerns raised by parents, teachers and governors.
“This means that in-depth inspections will arise from a genuine need, instead of taking place at random,” the party claims.
Labour also announced that it would bring forward a new statutory definition of a school in an effort to crack down on the estimated 500 illegal schools which fall outside the current inspection system.
Ms Rayner said of the plans: “In too many cases, Ofsted’s judgements and grades reflect the affluence of a school’s intake and the social class of its pupils – not the performance of the school.”
“School performance is far too important and complex to be boiled down to an over-simplified single grade, reducing all schools to one of four categories.
“The current system is unfit for purpose, so the next Labour government will abolish Ofsted and replace it with a system that will give parents the reliable and in-depth information that they need about our schools.”
The shadow frontbencher will also announce plans for a “school improvement revolution” – a nationwide school-led peer review improvement programme to support those in deprived areas with challenging intakes.
She added: "The current Ofsted regime labels and ranks schools but it doesn’t help them improve. Labour will improve standards in our schools and we will do it through collaboration, not competition."
'END TO PRESCRIPTION CHARGES'
Ahead of the second day of Labour’s annual conference, in Brighton, the party also announced plans to scrap prescription charges in England – bringing the country into line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Jeremy Corbyn said the policy, which the party estimates would cost £745m annually, was a "common sense" move.
"Healthcare is a human right. People should not be forced to worry about the cost of their medicines," he added.
"Bringing England in line with the rest of the UK by scrapping prescription charges for everyone is simple common sense and part of our plans to expand and upgrade our public services for the many, not the few."
The announcement will be made by Shadow Health Secretary, Jon Ashworth, who will also pledge to increase the number of GP trainees in England by nearly 50%.