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OFSTED chicanery?

Discussion in 'Ofsted inspections' started by Terryteacher, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. OFSTED want to toughen their language? What language? Newspeak? Doubletalk?

    Here is a modest proposal. OFSTED are obviously the best teachers in the world...they will be the first to tell you that. Why not disband OFSTED and make the motherf*ckers teach then? They can lead by example instead of carping on the sidelines for their inflated salaries.
  2. zinzan

    zinzan New commenter

    This AI motherf*ucker does both Terry
  3. Reluctant as I am to contribute to a slightly intemperate thread, I just wished to say that it is worth unpicking the issues. There is a lot of very polarised language being used (not just on this thread) and it doesnt help us work constructively with the situation that we have.
    There is a lot one can say about the changes that the government are introducing. There is good evidence that they are pressing towards the political goal of sidelining LAs and pushing schools towards direct governent control, and thus removing local democracy from the schooling of the nation's children.
    Knowing this, and having a view on it, we then need to look separately at developments at Ofsted. Ofsted are still operating at arm's length from government, even though they have chosen an HMCI whom they suppose favours government education policy.
    The latest proposal is to change the name 'satisfactory' to 'requires improvement'. I actually have no problem with this. The impetus for the change is a wish to raise equality of opportunity for all pupils. A satisfactory education is no longer believed to be sufficient to do this. Answer this question. Do you wish your child to get a satisfactory education or a good one. I think we know the answer.
    The important thing is that Ofsted are fair in making the judgement, and the government is fair in providing the freedoms and resources for schools to improve the quality of what is provided so that it is good for all pupils.

    It is a leadership issue. In schools facing challenges, school leaders need to work harder to support their staff in creating the circumstances in which pupil progress can be managed effectively. There is much that a school can do in an inspection to provide good evidence of how they do this. If teachers are feeling discomfort it may be because school leaders are not doing enough to inform them about these changes, or to support them with appropriate CPD, or to set the climate in the school, e.g. through behaviour management, so that teachers can do their work effectively.
  4. Why do people always say 'what would you want for your child's education?'. We are teachers, and all teachers want the best for their pupils. This means a lot of things which Ofsted don't observe/measure/witness, which are necessary for an education and not just a schooling.

    Wilshaw has risen up the ranks, got a headship, has now become Chief Insp. and is now rounding on his colleagues and telling them what a shambles we all are (we all think Satisfactory is enough, we aren't smartly dressed, and some of us need to be sacked). That's 'great' leadership for you.

    'Satisfactory' is what Ofsted calls the 'good' education I provide daily to each and every one of my pupils. My dedication to their welfare, their attainment, their happiness and social development is deemed Satisfactory, when I think it's Good. Soon it will suddenly be Needing Improvement.

    What happens when every school in England and Wales eventually gets Outstanding judgments, and we've all forced our pupils to get A*/A/B GCSE in all subjects? The same can asked about pupils - what happens when all pupils get their A*/A grades? How will colleges/universities/employers differentiate between suitable and unsuitable candidates for courses and jobs?
  5. I agree that there is a narrowness to how schools are evaluated. The focus that we have had, and still do to a large extent, still have on attainment threatens to miss the full range of provision, extra-curricular activities, and daily help given to pupils. Schools should ensure that inspectors see this -even if their brief is rather narrow, There are moves to broaden the basis on which schools are judged, but I don't suppose it go far enough.

    The good thing about the HMCI appointment is that Michael Wilshaw is, without doubt, a successful headteacher and that is a more credible position situation than for some previous HMCIs I can recall. We need to let him settle in. He has already said some silly things, but if he manages a fairer inspection system then he will be forgiven.
    One lesson observation doesn't define a whole career in teaching. Teachers can only check on whether their teaching would be graded as good by having the criteria by them as they teach and asking themselves what category an observer would place them in. But if you know that you are doing the best job you can for the pupils in your care then that is good by anyone's definition, and it is simply a question of making sure others understand this and can interpret what they see when they observe a lesson. For example, it is important to provide data on the prior attainment on groups in the class so that they can judge progress as well as attainment.
    All schools can be good schools. There are enough examples of schools working in challenging circumstances which achieve good results to know that it is possible. But it takes strong supportive leadership. The grades achieved by pupils can only be what can be achieved given the best circumstances for them. They will span a range but it is fair to aim for higher grades for all. As was mentioned in the first paragraph, it is the totality of what pupils gain from their time at schools that will serve them in good stead in later life. We should press to make the inspection system judge schools more on this basis.
  6. No, one lesson observation does not define a whole career - at the moment. But I am certain that it won't be long until these observations become the basis of short-track dismissals.

    Couldn't agree less with this this remark. If I think I'm doing a 'good' job, and Ofsted does not, then I'm pretty sure that the Ofsted judgment will prevail.

    Current heads are running scared of Ofsted. They transmit that to their SLT, who in turn are scared of sudden dismissal. Heads of Area/Subject leaders are then given their notice to improve from deputies (with all the stuff about data, attainment etc), they then become paranoid about their job security which then becomes the culture of the school. Even the pupils are getting very stressed about the constant, constant, unrelenting pressure to 'do better'. The result in a few years' time will be some very emotionally scarred and damaged people.
  7. Even though the intention is to reduce the time taken for unsuitable teachers to be dismissed the procedure itself will, as far as I can see, remain rigorous and fair. Those that I have personally been involved with rescued those teachers who could respond to help, often to do with class control, and removed those that were clearly in the wong career.
    If someone thinks they are doing a good job when clearly the evidence suggests that they aren't, then clearly that is an exception to what I was saying that it is about the three C's - criteria, clarity and communication. Ofsted will now sample lessons, usually in just 25 mins. They will rarely be representative and often they will be better than usual - if there has been time to prepare. But, saying that, no-notice inspections are disgraceful and discourteous and bad for relationship between the teaching profession and Government. I hope this silly idea is reversed.
    I work with quite a few schools and heads in particular and I don't think you can generalise and say they are all 'running scared'. I can't imagine many good headteachers responding in that way and passing on their anxieties to staff. It is probably a sign that they are not exhibiting good school leadership.

    Most heads, I would say, are keeping up to date with the changes and supporting staff in developing their school self-evaluation processes. The more they can do this, the more it will take pressure off when the inspectors come. Also, if lesson observations take place frequently and make use of Ofsted criteria, then it will be no mystery what inspectors are looking for when the time comes.
    The situation described of someone thinking their teaching is good, when really it isn't, shouldn't happen in such circumstances.
  8. Interesting that people can spend so long debating a word which is to be replaced by two- so I will try to make this short.
    "Satisfactory" cannot be replaced by "requires improvement "- they are, by definition, two completely different things. I have had the disturbing experience of Ofsted 3 times and have been graded (5 ones -if anyone can remember them, in my first Ofsted down to Satisfactory in my last observationbefore I took premature retirement-yes the two experiences were linked- sorry here comes a rant- judjed by a thoughless soul who sat and looked at a pile of books, dumping them loudly on the floor as he finished each one! as I tried hard to produce at least a good lesson for me, my colleagues and England.)The pressure, applied by a regime, and in this case,person who had nowhere near the experience I had is not justifiable in any scenario.
    I am sure that teachers have dealt with parents on a daily basis who know,and appreciate, the genuine effort most teachers put in to develop and improve their loved ones.
    So, the point is that Ofsted are not satisfactory, but either require improvement or complete abandonment - allowing schools vast amounts of money (raised by their sacking) to improve resources for every single child.
  9. There's a lot of outrage at the announcement, but actually there's no change in real terms. Schools that are graded satisfactory have been classified as 'schools causing concern' for years. That's why grade 3 monitoring inspections, notice to improve monitoring visits and special measures monitoring visits have, as a group been termed SCC visits (schools causing concern) under section 8 of the education act. Come on. We've all really known that the term 'satisfactory' actually means 'not quite good enough'. It's a bit strong to say it's 'violence' against the English language though isn't it?

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