Beyond remains politically neutral, first of all, so we\u2019re not jumping up and down in support of Labour\u2019s pledge to scrap Ofsted, tempting though that might be. Nobody wants failing schools so there is undeniably a place for a robust inspectorate. The problem with the Ofsted brand is that it has become toxic to the teaching profession thanks to stress-heavy scrutiny and sweeping judgements: \u2018inadequate\u2019 spells doom while \u2018outstanding\u2019 promises at least four years of currying favour. The opposition\u2019s assertion that single-word labels do not do justice to the complexities of a school\u2019s strengths and weaknesses rather hits the nail on the head.Ofsted and One-Word AnswersAsked to give a critical opinion, we would never accept a one-word answer from students yet that\u2019s essentially what an Ofsted judgement boils down to. It might be backed up by a more detailed twelve-page report but few parents will ever read this and it is still only a snapshot of life in that school. It takes thousands of words to adequately explain the ins and outs of education so why do we allow a narrow set of four labels to define English education providers? (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland operate under different appraisal procedures that are generally less restrictive in their judgements and aren\u2019t as big a shock to the system.)Ofsted’s Perception Among TeachersThat you\u2019d struggle to find a single teacher who\u2019d mourn the loss of Ofsted surely speaks volumes. Unions are often unfairly characterised as protectionist, guarding their self-interest at the expense of industry and the people they serve, when they ought to be regarded as experts in their field, the ones who are actually in touch with life at the coalface. For far too long the complaints of the National Education Union and the National Association of Head Teachers that Ofsted is not fit for purpose have fallen on deaf ears. The need for scrutiny is perfectly understood but it\u2019s the management of it that requires an overhaul. Living in dread of an inspection and its outcomes for four years is not a healthy state to be in. It shouldn\u2019t be inspector versus inspected: there should be dialogue between the two in the quest for the common good. Indeed, the NAHT has previously commented that, \u2018For schools that are not yet good, support rather than sanction is the quickest pathway to improvement. Branding schools as failing often means that they\u2019ll take longer to turn the corner.\u2019 What Could Replace Ofsted?Labour\u2019s proposals are for regular \u201chealth-checks\u201d that return schools to the care of local councils. If concerns are raised then there will be more in-depth visits from full-time, trained inspectors. Grades will be abandoned, the idea being that parents then have to take in a bit more of the detail that gives a more accurate and rounded account of a school. The proposals are not failsafe \u2013 will councils under pressure to meet certain standards provide a fair and thorough assessment? \u2013 but they seem eminently sensible and the \u2018light-touch health-check approach\u2019 that puts schools \u2018back in the driving seat\u2019 has been backed by the NAHT as \u2018the right way to go\u2019. Former Ofsted chief, Sir Michael Wilshaw, on the other hand, has dismissed the plan as \u2018bonkers\u2019. But then we all know how fond Ofsted is of a sweeping, one-word judgement.Subscribe to Beyond\u00a0for access to thousands of secondary teaching resources. You can\u00a0sign up for a free account here\u00a0and take a look around\u00a0at our free resources\u00a0before you subscribe too.You might also want to read:What Are the Worst Educational Fads?