SIR Martyn Oliver has begun a five-year term as His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills. As the new head of Ofsted, Sir Martyn has announced that routine school inspections in the spring term will begin later in January, to accommodate mental health awareness training for inspectors in the first week of term.

On his appointment Sir Martyn said: “We are determined to bring about a fresh start in the New Year to inspire greater confidence in our work among parents and the sectors we inspect and regulate.

“Along with immediate training on mental health awareness, one of the first things I want to do is listen – to parents, to professionals in the sectors we work with, and to people with an interest in our work. We are here for children, their parents and carers – and we will serve them best by working constructively, respectfully and empathetically with the experts who are responsible for their education and care. Our people come from these sectors. We understand the pressures they are under – and we will make that clear as we go about our work.”

Commenting on the incoming Chief Inspector’s remarks, Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: “Sir Martyn Oliver’s announcement of a pause in school inspections signals that the Chief Inspector recognises that it is now time for Ofsted to listen to the voice of educators and their unions. The pause should be the start of a root and branch reform of school inspection.

“Our present system is inconsistent, unfair and unsuccessful in promoting school improvement. Ofsted is a harmful presence in our schools and needs to be replaced with a collaborative system that truly reflects a rounded picture of the work of schools. Parents, students and teachers all deserve better.

“The independent Beyond Ofsted report, commissioned by the NEU and led by an independent expert panel chaired by Sir Jim Knight, shows all to [sic] clearly that the current regime is not fit for purpose and Ofsted is out of touch with the profession.”

* Read the Beyond Ofsted report here.

* Sources: Ofsted  and National Education Union