There is not much point identifying poor quality if you can’t do anything to improve it; still less if the intervention makes matters worse.
In England the schools’ inspectorate, Ofsted, is also responsible for inspecting local authority children’s services. It does so in a judgemental, and often disparaging, manner and it is not clear how it justifies the methodology it adopts.
The consequences of its inspections – if they result in findings of ‘inadequacy’ – can be very painful for local authorities and not infrequently heads will roll. It has long been accepted that one of the repercussions of a ‘bad Ofsted’ is staffing problems. Those blamed for the bad inspection result move on, while it is increasingly difficult to encourage new recruits to join what is seen as a failing organisation. The result is that services get worse, not better.
A clear case study has just emerged of exactly this problem. It seems that the local authority in question has experienced quality problems because it finds it difficult to recruit staff. Ofsted condemns it for its failures which make it even more difficult to recruit staff. A vicious cycle if ever I saw one.