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Is it true in your school that art,music, dance and drama lessons achieve more outstanding gradings than core subjects?

Discussion in 'Ofsted inspections' started by September, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. September

    September New commenter

    In many schools I have worked in it is always subjects like art, music, dance and drama that achieve the outstanding grades from Ofsted and internal inspections. The core subjects are then told to take a leaf out of those subjects books in order to work towards getting outstanding. When you try to explain to Leadership that teaching English, Mathematics or Science is not the same you are told you are a sour puss. Any similar experiences out there?
     
  2. September

    September New commenter

    In many schools I have worked in it is always subjects like art, music, dance and drama that achieve the outstanding grades from Ofsted and internal inspections. The core subjects are then told to take a leaf out of those subjects books in order to work towards getting outstanding. When you try to explain to Leadership that teaching English, Mathematics or Science is not the same you are told you are a sour puss. Any similar experiences out there?
     
  3. A very interesting question. Certainly the subject surveys carried out by Ofsted don't often conclude that arts subjects are outstanding but then the subject survey criteria are very sharp and subject focused. For section 5 inspections the criteria are generic for learning and progress and T&L. S5 inspectors might observe out of their subject specialism, as do SLT from schools so I suppose this might have an effect. Also, attainment and progress arguably are easier to measure in English, maths, science.
    I've done joint lesson observations in music, my specialism with non-specialist SLT members who have sometimes graded the lesson as good or outstanding, when I've concluded it's satisfactory, so something rang true about your query.
     
  4. September

    September New commenter

    Interesting. In my school when I was part of a learning walk observing 4 art lessons over an hour period. I graded the majority as satisfactory. The other three observers graded them all as good and kept going on about how independent the students were. I agreed that the students were independent "independently copying a drawing with no use of techniques" - I even stepped in with one student and showed him how to do shading to create the effect of depth. The student had never been shown how to do this. I am not a trained artist. I teach a core subject.
    Also for the major observations which in some instances have been done by the headteacher and an ofsted trained inspector (not for an official ofsted mind) the art, music, dance and drama lessons have always come out as outstanding.
    The headteacher is a non-specialist. I may take your suggestion to leadership and ask them to do a learning walk with the subject leader of the arts subjects and see if they agree.
     
  5. Interesting point and something I have discussed with colleagues. Art and Design is often graded highly on inspections. Is it the observers bias - can it consistently be that much better than science and maths, construction, engineering?

    Are these areas grading too hard, or are A&D inspectors softer. I've observed it on occasions and the informality makes it seem much more relaxed. Contrast with an engineering lesson, with a teacher who looks like a rabbit in the headlights.

    Success rates may be key to the grade
     
  6. rosaespanola

    rosaespanola New commenter

    Can't comment on this, as during our recent Ofsted inspection not a single art, drama, performing arts, dance or music class was actually observed. Nice rounded view they got of the subjects we have on offer...
     
  7. This is unusual, although quite possible. School's evaluate themselves. All the inspectors do is validate that self-evaluation. For example, if results in P arts are hunky-dory but a car-crash in maths, then it's sensible that they will leave P arts alone and hit maths big time. So, it's not a question of inspectors getting a rounded view from their own observations. They take their view from moderating the quality of the school's self evaluation. In other words, the school inspects itself, and inspectors just make sure that they've done it right.
    Where things don't add up, such as CVA being below 1000, standards being average but the school awarding itself 'good' for everything, then inspectors will find out what's going on by observing in lots of areas of the school.
     
  8. Interesting point. I teach Art and DT.
    I think it is very easy to tick all the boxes in practical subjects.
    E.g: Third party evaluation is built into DT specification. Self reflection and evaluation are core skills in both subjects. Plus I think it is much easier to work with a visual subject. You can see immediately if students have understood. You can get them to hold their work up and evaluate each other's work verbally. It is easy to chunk lessons into bits of practical and bits of written work.
    However, in the theory parts of DT is is much harder to tick all the boxes. Technical stuff can leave very little room for evaluating.......

     

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