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To what extent do Ofsted inspectors' values influence the inspection process (2005-2012)? : an examination of Ofsted inspectors' perceptions

Lowes, Thomas Douglas


Thomas Douglas Lowes


Mike Bottery

Sam Shields


The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) holds a government remit to inspect all schools in England under the 2005 Education Act. Ofsted is required to inspect schools on a regular cycle, with the aim of providing information to parents as well as the Secretary of State for Education, to promote school improvement and to hold schools to account for educational provision and standards. Ofsted’s strapline is ‘Raising Standards, Improving Lives’ and its goal is to ‘achieve excellence in education and skills for learners of all ages’ (Ofsted). Drawing on existing literature the thesis explains the underlying reasons for the introduction of a single national school inspection system in post-war England. The thesis also explores the literature on values, the nature of values in relation to organisations and individuals with particular reference to Ofsted.

Empirical research was conducted in the form of questionnaires and interviews into the perceptions of active and retired inspectors about how they carried out their work. The study explored the relationship between inspectors’ values and those of Ofsted, examining the extent to which inspectors’ values influenced their conduct during inspections and in particular how they mediated their work in schools. The degree to which inspectors mediate their work has implications for the perceived objectivity of Ofsted inspections.

The results indicate that the majority of inspectors’ values were in alignment with those of Ofsted. However, a small minority group also existed whose values were not always in agreement with those of Ofsted and there also appeared to be a further sub-set of the minority group whose members were trying to change Ofsted from within. This is the first time research has been carried out into the work of Ofsted inspectors and their perceptions of what they do. It concludes that this area is worthy of a further, larger scale study.


Lowes, T. D. (2016). To what extent do Ofsted inspectors' values influence the inspection process (2005-2012)? : an examination of Ofsted inspectors' perceptions. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Mar 14, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Education
Public URL
Additional Information Faculty of Education, The University of Hull
Award Date Apr 1, 2016


Thesis (6 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2016 Lowes, Thomas Douglas. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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