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Wednesday 13 March 2024

FDA calls for Education Secretary to retract “irresponsible and dangerous” comments

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As reported in Tes, the FDA has called on Education Secretary Gillian Keegan to publicly retract her comments as they have “damaged” the credibility and trust that stakeholders have in Ofsted.  

During a Q&A event at the Association of School and College Leaders annual conference Keegan said she would “probably have punched” Ofsted inspectors following an inspection of a school she had recently visited.  

In a letter to Keegan, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman wrote: 

“Our focus is very much on ensuring that inspectors can carry out their duties safely and without fear. 

“Your comments serve to further stoke division between inspectors and school leaders, adding to the existing difficult climate around school inspections”. 

Penman said that FDA members, who “are highly skilled professionals” that “believe passionately in the work they do” are rightly concerned about the Education Secretary’s comments. 

He added that the FDA would “welcome constructive, progressive and respectful discussions with yourself and others in government with a view to re-energising relationships between all parties concerned”.  

FDA National Officer for Ofsted Matt Newman told Schools Week that Keegan’s comments were “completely unacceptable”.  

He continued:

“Ofsted inspectors are hard-working, decent people who are passionate about what they do.

“For a minister to suggest that it is acceptable to assault inspectors is irresponsible and dangerous. It will only serve to undermine the credibility of the inspection process”. 

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