HeadsUp4HTs campaign so that all Headteachers can receive the support they need to thrive in their Headship.

Our OFSTED Experiences Survey Report 2024 is now available to view and download.

We would like to thank all of the Headteachers who completed this survey, thus enabling the completion of this important research. Your voices matter, your experiences are valued, and we persist in advocating for change. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Dr Karen Edge and her team at UCL for gifting their time and expertise to analyse our survey results and for their contribution to our report.

OFSTED Experiences Survey Results

Real Experiences of OFSTED

Our OFSTED EXPERIENCES Survey is open to all serving and former Headteachers who have experienced an OFSTED Inspection.

We are currently campaigning to challenge the high stakes accountability process and judgements of OFSTED Inspections. The tragic death of Headteacher Ruth Perry has bought to the forefront the need to challenge the accountability system that Headteachers lead in.

Headteachers welcome accountability, but must work in a system that is supportive, celebratory and leads to better outcomes for their schools and communities; not a system where they are left picking up the pieces from a one-word grading for years following an inspection. The impact of inspections on the mental and physical health of Headteachers can be brutal, leaving our leaders feeling anxious and demoralised following an inspection.

This MUST change.

Headteachers’ narratives are an important part of evidencing the impact of the OFSTED inspection process on leaders’ emotional, mental and physical well-being. You can see below an example of the experiences that Headteachers are sharing with us.

The purpose of our survey is to collate genuine experiences of the inspection process in order to challenge, change and improve the accountability system for Headteachers.

You have the voices, we have the means to amplify.

Complete the survey

Your experiences matter

OFSTED Survey Experiences

The inspectors were unfriendly. Stern and discourteous. They failed to listen to leaders and tried to tie us up knots. I considered resigning, I hid for days and for a moment did not want to live. The thought of the parents finding out terrified me.

I went into absolute isolation. My friends were so worried about me. I completely isolated myself and simply did not want to talk to anyone.

Since Ruth Perry’s suicide, my non-teacher friends say that they worry I will get into that same state and they recognise I was also in that dark place.

I submitted a four page complaint to Ofsted highlighting my concerns following our inspection. None of it was upheld.

I specifically mentioned my own well-being and that of my team within that four page letter. Whilst the response referenced my bullet pointed complaints, it did not mention our well-being once. I think that says it all.

Parents were dismissive of the inspection process but supportive of the school. They were happy with the school and told me they didn’t care what the outcome was because they knew the school better than OFSTED.

It’s 4 months later. We’ve not recovered.

As a staff we were exhausted by the stress and pressure of the build up and the inspection experience. We functioned well below our usual levels for at least a month afterwards.

The pressure of OFSTED and the possibility of the school being downgraded and my name being on the door and the constant need to protect my staff from the pressures of working over-long hours resulted in me having a breakdown that was attributed to exhaustion and stress.

Complete the survey