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Ofsted’s “Big Listen” is a “consultation” not a “referendum”, chief inspector Sir Martyn Oliver has said, as he defended the exercise following criticism from unions.

In a letter to National Association of Head Teachers general secretary Paul Whiteman, seen by FE Week, Oliver said he wanted to “dispel” the concern that data from the consultation “will be interpreted by Ofsted as a mandate to avoid change”.

Ofsted launched the “Big Listen” – a 12-week consultation on further inspection changes following the death of headteacher Ruth Perry – earlier this month.

Whiteman wrote to Oliver today to express “significant concerns”. 

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