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Ofsted Behemoth Rolls On

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Winnie Woo, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. love this rant xxx go for it, but need to say not all heads are so polite, my head told the lead inspector to F****k off!!!!!! Needless to say we were only judged to be satisfactory!!!!!! but it was worth, felt proud to b part of a school who had stood up to be counted XXXXXXXXXXXX
  2. You have described these idiots SO accurately. I know because many of them are now working in the United Arab Emirates, attempting to improve that country's education system which is is clealry beyond their ability. They are all about testing, checking boxes, preparing statistical tables, and are so full of their own importance it's embarrasiing to have to work with them. Others come out to inspect the work being done, visit a school for two days and presume to go off and write reports which are nothing but mindless drivel. God help any country's eduction system as long as they are involved in it!
  3. We could all go off sick or take the whole school on an outdoor activity week, or complain in unison to unions (yes I know they're pretty rubbish), M.P.'s, media etc etc. As a profession, we tend to roll over and just do what we're told. I am definately going to site, suggested earlier, to help raise a ruckus. Costs/expense are usually good arguments. Or, as ' OFSTED inspectors' (oxymoron?), are dim-witted, greedy, stupid and lazy, we could offer to fill in their forms and tick sheets, while they go to local hostlery for great big fat long lunch at school's expense.
    And please, if any of you have, refrain from pointing out spelling errors. Isn't the point of these posts supposed to be an informal dialogue between colleagues, not a job interview.
  4. OFSTEd remind me of the old joke about why is a bachelor like a panda ....
    Eats Shoots and leaves.
    I have never met one yet that will give you an answer to a problem .... ( its not our job )
    As in the past where a gang of 9 arrived to do a 1 week inspection in a large middle school 5 year groups 4 or 5 classes per year group. The Y4's only had access to the science lab, workshops , art room , ICT room, Food tech area and kiln one afternoon a week. The lead CDT inspector did not like the way we ran it .....and said so very strongly. So our blunt tyke head of CDT asked how he would solve it ....... I can not see a solution says inspector .... but I don't like what you do ... of course that went in the report.
    and they were HMI! ..... ooh another to match the number 3!
  5. I don't think you should be embarassed. I think a lot of people would have found this pretty tough going (myself included)!
  6. theNavigator

    theNavigator New commenter

    Wonderfully tight rant!
    Obsession with levels is obvious, but it's also going to lead ME into great difficulty soon. I've got no problem with the ideas behind SCOTLAND'S new curriculum, but the it's introduction is highly suspect. A short while ago we had an inservice meeting which included secondary and primary colleagues. During one of our group discussions, we began to worry about how we are actually going ASSESS the little darlings - how we can record where they're at and where they're going (so they have some idea as well). It's secondary school - awareness of progression is a reality. If you're in college, university or the world of work - where am I at, where am I going? (no, I'm not a fan of testing as such)

    We asked our local advisor to clarify what they wanted, because apart from anything else, we are due an inspection sometime soon, and we all know what they're REALLY looking for. The advisor, a former primary teacher, told us we shouldn't be thinking about any sort of formal testing, because that 'categorizes' pupils and so is not fair. Er...gonna be a big shock when they take the first set of exams that actually mean something to employers then aren't they.

    I suppose this a side issue to the main post, and I certainly sympathise and applaud the poster. I'm just a bit confused and disillusioned by it all. As the original poster said, you want us to help them to be 'confident individuals' etc etc, but you really want cold hard numbers, no matter what socio-economic situation the pupils come from. Right. Gotcha. Erm....
  7. Ruddy brilliant.
    Even though I work in Scotland, the whole process still turns you into a staff looking like bunnies in headlights, jumping every time a door opens, questioning your professional judgement and feeling physically sick for the few days they are in. And the weeks leading up to it. And the weeks after when you're fighting your corner on wording and what will be published for all the world to see.
    We however, did fight our corner as best as possible and cornered the inspectors wherever possible to ask for feedback, add to interviews ('Is there anything you'd like to add?' we were asked on Tuesday. Cue tumbleweed. Had a wee think, realised I'd not said what a completely fabby staff I worked with as they'd supported me through my marriage break up, so cornered her the next day with an, 'ACTUALLY there is something else...!!!!' Show no fear (though that's scary).
    BUT they had a bee in their bonnet about Maths in the Upper stages from day one and wrote as much.....even though they never actually SAW a Maths lesson in the Upper stages being taught or talked to ANY of the kids about it. If they had......ooooh don't get me started. They also wrote that French was taught very well in Primary 6 & 7. Hmmmm, not sure how they know that as they AGAIN never saw me teach it and it's actually taught in P5-7. Double humph.
    The sooner they throw out their ticky boxes and actually see what you're doing with the children from the catchment you have, the better. Our ticky boxes - happy children? Tick! Confident pupils? Tick! Kids who can solve problems, think outside the box and are challenged in many different ways? Tick! Committed staff who have great realtionships with each other and the children in the school? Tick!
    Staff who were almost committed thanks to the former ticky box sheet? Tick!
  8. A well composed report on a crappy system! We are currently left hanging at my school waiting for the return inspection that has been iminent since December. At this inspection, the single inspector actually said that the best thing he had had all day was the doughnuts! He was not interested in the values of the school, the children knowing their next steps and how they were going to get there (yes, we are playing to the system!!) or the love of learning through a rich curriculum that is evident in all children AND staff! He simply looked at the data of a school in a very deprived area and decided that we were simply not good enough. Now, 7 days till the end of term we still have not had the call to say if and when the full body of inspectors will be doing their 2 day inspection.
  9. prophetic, succinct and clearly put both for Ofsted and their masked disciples in schools.
  10. I was mesmerised by this - it was brilliant. And I loved all the long words, including the ones that I'd never heard before. OP - I thought I could write, but I wish I could write like you. Please get this published.
  11. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    for the very first time i've written to TES to report a post

    i hope you get help soon
  12. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Don't worry, harsh. It's not blood pressure.
  13. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Whoops: not your blood pressure.
  14. Obviously the lunatics have been let out of the asylum for an early start to the holidays.
  15. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    Absolutely brilliant. EXACTLY MY VIEWS!!!
    Who says we should be teaching to a "prescribed" method, e.g. comments like "the activity went too long" or you need to have 3/4 activities in one lessons. Who says??

    Surely it's up to the teacher to plan and assess and decide these things. Who the hell are they to tell us when we have no "ownership" of ofsted ideas and dictatorship???
    What about joy and happiness in the classroom? Enjoying learning??

    I was thinking the very same things. Why should there be one omnipotent organisation striking fear into teaching????
    I don't undertand it.

  16. Go get yourself a cool drink your name sake Robert Burke forgot to take water and died in the australian desert
  17. Two Sir!!
    Brilliant. I work in FE and agree entirely with this skit on Ofsted. Why normally are students allowed to roam college campus but during Ofsted are only seen in corridors when migrating between lessons. Where did all those fancy plant displays come from? It is just a box ticking exercise until next time, during which we all loose weight, our self-esteem (Maslow would not be pleased with Ofsted), and any dignity we may have whilst touching forelock and bowing low.
    Perhaps the current coalition government could bring us relief by putting Ofsted on the quango hit-list as the Guy on the fire?

  18. Hope I'm doing this right it's my first message!
    WOW I didn't realise everyone was thinking like me.
    YES, YES, YES, how right you are - I have now been through four ofSTEDs and the last one was a farce - just a number crunching mission, but we did very well out of it so this is not a 'sour grapes' posting.
    What I want to know is - why am I paying my union fees?
    Why, if so many teachers feel the same, and we a from different unions I guess, don't the unions get together and make this their 'TARGET' issue?
    Together we could really do something about it.
    Too late for me, I'm leaving teaching soon and I have already planned my leaving do - a bonfire to dance round and for all my friends/colleagues to throw my teaching stuff on!

  19. Normal




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    Thanks for all the overwhelmingly positive responses to my previous
    invective. If they’re in anyway indicative of the collective teaching mindset,
    then there’s a lot of rage and frustration out there.

    Anyway, ataraxia has
    slowly descended upon my furrowed brow; consequently, I have decided to put
    digit to keyboard in the hope of contributing to some of the issues that came

    1. What
    is Ofsted really?

    I think a good place to start is the OED definition of the
    word ‘tyranny’:

    Cruel and arbitrary exercise
    of power and control

    It fits rather well, don’t you think; especially, when you
    consider the unaccountable, undemocratic, inequitable nature of the regime.

    2. Why

    In my opinion, they are a product of the times we live in; a
    time where there has been an increasing convergence of political opinion amongst
    the traditional political parties: a nebulous right-left of centre locus.

    They are desperate to prove their relevance and their
    difference to one another and yet with all three of them ceding power to the
    Marketplace and Europe, they are finding it increasingly difficult to do so.
    Therefore, the public services are one of the few areas where they can be seen
    to wield some power with the active (read: people who vote) electorate (read:
    the bourgeoisie). The corollary of this is initiative after initiative, target
    and target interspersed with a smattering of scare stories in the press (Along
    the lines of, ‘Illiterate Nation’ rather than, ‘Suicidal Teachers’.).

    Of course, they need a supine workforce to accept this **** –
    enter Ofsted, whose modus operandi
    seems designed to scare, overwork, subordinate, and atomise schools and
    professionals alike.

    3. What
    should be done about Ofsted?

    The Tories talk about reforming the organisation. This isn’t
    the answer and will probably be another exercise in badge-changing. Even if it isn’t and their proposals are more
    far-reaching, it still isn’t the answer. The solution is simple: Ofsted should
    be dismantled! After all, what should one do with a tyranny? Try to make it a
    better tyranny? No, you get rid of it.

    4. Who
    is to blame for the present position?

    Unfortunately, for the most part, we are. All of us have
    secretly animadverted about Ofsted, but publically accepted their methods and
    their system. By doing this, we are legitimising them.

    5. How
    do we get rid of them?

    There is no easy answer. It takes hard work and we are the
    ones to initiate it: this is never going to come as a benevolent gift from
    above, like most important change it has to come from the bottom-up.

    However, we should be encouraged by the industrial action
    taken last year regarding SATS. Yes, there was the expected backlash in the
    press about it being, ‘the end of civilisation as we know it!’ And our actions
    were having a deleterious effect upon our children’s futures. Nevertheless, the feeble, futile attempt by
    Balls to propitiate the Unions was gloriously rejected. It
    would be more difficult, but, I believe, a similar approach is needed to get
    rid of Ofsted. It could take many
    different forms such as schools refusing from a certain date to cooperate with
    any inspections (no evidence provided, inspectors not allowed on school
    premises, etc). The action itself would only be the first battle though, the
    second would be to counter the propaganda of the press (who have decided for
    all of us that any form of industrial action is: a recrudescence of the 70’s
    and 80’s strikes and/or bringing the country to a standstill). It may be a
    bromide, but the profession would need to unite far more efficaciously than
    before. Otherwise, it (the action) would quickly fragment, becoming a ludic
    afterthought amongst the general populous.

    6. What
    would replace Ofsted?

    The sine qua non
    of any industrial action would have to be the foregrounding of a suitable
    replacement. After all, I think there’s
    unanimity with the idea of schools being accountable. It is not for me to state
    what the vehicle of accountability should be. However, a starting point might
    be to consider what the elements of such a body might look like:

    Personalised for each school (the antipode of a ‘one
    model fits all approach’);

    Emotional growth supplants academic success as
    the most important metric;

    Democratic – all stakeholders have an input into
    the shape of it;

    Open – the assessment is open and discussion is
    encouraged and valued throughout. Indeed, the final report could then be
    written in conjunction with schools;

    Supportive - schools who are having problems are
    not treated as pariahs to be thrown on the scrapheap.

    Then we could have a catchy acronym incorporating all five
    elements: P...E...D....err, maybe not!

    If we do nothing then we continue to lend legitimacy to this
    egregious system of helotry and we deserve all we get - as Howard Zinn once
    remarked, ‘You can’t be neutral on a moving train!’

    It’s up to us.
  20. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Off topic a bit but this happened with a thread I started last year. However the explanation was that there are a lot of readers of these columns who sign up for text alerts on the hot topics. If they read one they like they will respond. I found this out because two colleagues who were not posters got the texts and recognised that the thread was about their school and worked out who I was by linking what they knew about me to my user name.

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