Ofsted ‘won’t become tutor compliance police’

'Our handbook is not changing in any way,' says senior inspector

'Our handbook is not changing in any way,' says senior inspector

Ofsted is in talks with the government on the best way to share tutoring “best insights” from school inspections, but insist they will never be “tuition compliance police”.

Sandra Hayes, a senior schools inspector, told the Festival of Education they have an “important role” to share their evidence from school inspections. 

Inspectors now consider how tutoring deployed by schools “supports the aims of the school curriculum”, but it’s not inspected “in its own right”.

Ofsted’s third and final education recovery research report is due to be published next week. The watchdog is also conducting an independent review of tutoring – due this summer.

Questioned on whether the Department for Education has asked Ofsted to take a bigger role in tutoring monitoring, Hayes said: “It would be fair to say we’ve been in discussion about how best we can use our insights and what’s the best way to get the evidence that we already gather on inspection to be of most use.” 

But she insisted “we are not the tuition compliance police, we are not going to be the tuition compliance police.” 

“Our handbook is not changing in any way. At the moment tutoring features in one paragraph in our handbook.” 

Ofsted’s spring education recovery report found using internal staff for the schools-led part of the National Tutoring Programme has “placed additional pressure on already strained” workers.

Hayes said this was something “we’re just been keeping an eye on”.

She added that some decided to do school-led “because of the fear of getting it wrong, the fear of not being seen to be compliant … actually having people in my school, working with my children who don’t know my children”. 

“So what this says to us is tutoring works when it’s a genuine partnership with the child at the heart of it.”

The spring report also found some schools saying there was “not enough evidence” about the quality of the tutoring.

Ben Style, the National Foundation for Educational Research’s head of classroom practice, said there needs to be a “programme of research” on tutoring.

This would help teachers after the government decided to give all tutoring money directly to schools. 

The call was echoed by Nick Brook, deputy general secretary at head teachers’ union NAHT. “I think that’s the bit we’ve lost in the last 12 months,” he said.

“We’re just not curious enough about what seems to be working and what’s not.” 

NFER’s independent evaluations of the NTP will be published in autumn. 

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