A former Birmingham teachers’ leader has accused the Government’s school inspection service of “clutching at straws” following claims that classroom staff overwhelmingly welcome observation of their lessons.

According to a survey conducted on behalf of the Office for Standards in Education, nine out of ten teachers think that inspection helps their schools set new priorities for the future while 84 per cent think it important that their lessons are observed by inspectors.

The study, carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research, also found that 85 per cent of teachers agreed that inspection led to improvements in teaching and learning.

But the findings were disputed by Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, and its former Birmingham secretary.

She said: “Not surprisingly, every survey commissioned by Ofsted about Ofsted shows a superficial support for inspections in one way or another. The devil is always in the detail of these surveys.

“The survey states that 84 per cent of teachers think it is important that their lessons are observed by inspectors. That doesn’t mean they like inspection, it means that they expect to be held accountable. Ofsted is clutching at straws in seeking to claim otherwise.

“What we do know is that inspections place unbearable pressure on teachers and that recent changes to the inspection regime have increased the culture of fear and simply transferred unacceptable scrutiny of teachers’ work from external inspectors to school leaders.”

The full survey report is available on website www.ofsted.gov.uk