As he begins his five-year term as His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Sir Martyn Oliver has launched new training for Ofsted inspectors.
With his immediate priority to focus on how Ofsted will respond to the inquest into the death of teacher Ruth Perry, Sir Martyn has confirmed that school inspections for the spring term will begin later in January to allow for new mental health awareness training for inspectors. This will begin in the first week of term and will see all Ofsted inspectors undertaking initial training that will be led by Sir Martyn, as well as including support from Mental Health First Aid England (MHFAE).
Once this initial training has been completed, MHFAE will then lead a programme of rolling mental health awareness training for all of Ofsted’s inspectors.
Touching on the importance of the new training, Sir Martyn said:
“I’m delighted and honoured to join Ofsted as His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills. And I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor, Amanda Spielman, for her tireless work in this role over the past seven years.
“My full job title highlights the breadth of our work. We help raise standards for children and learners at every stage of their lives. But the public probably know us best for inspecting schools. Over the last year, since the tragic death of Ruth Perry, our inspections have come under great scrutiny. I’m determined that we learn from this to improve the way we work and respond fully to the coroner’s inquest, taking tangible actions to address the concerns raised. A lot has been done already, but a lot more can be done now – starting with a robust programme of mental health awareness training for all our inspectors. That begins next week and will become an integral part of how we train and develop our people.
“The materials we use and the changes we have already made, along with much more to come, will be made available for all to see. 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.”
Gillian Keegan, Education Secretary, added:
“Sir Martyn Oliver has an exceptional record of delivering excellence as a school and trust leader. I know that he will bring vision, empathy, and leadership to successfully take Ofsted into its next chapter.
“I am looking forward to working closely with Sir Martyn to ensure Ofsted continues to evolve whilst maintaining the accountability necessary to improve lives by raising standards in education and children’s social care.”
Whilst the mental health training is already looking to develop on the work that has already been done following the coroner’s inquest into Ruth Perry’s death, a newly announced Big Listen (research and engagement process) will allow parents and education professionals to give feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of Ofsted’s current approach. This is underpinned by the organisation’s drive to become more open and transparent with parents, as well as the sectors that it inspects and regulates.
Ofsted also recently announced new changes to the ways that schools are inspected, including quicker returns to inadequate schools, changes to school handbooks, and the introduction of a helpline to support providers during and after an inspection.
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