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Ofsted: "drawn up in a middle class drawing room"

Discussion in 'Education news' started by englishtt06, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    First - I am no fan of Ofsted. Second, apologies if these issues have already been posted.


    However, I am genuinely divided on this story:

    On the one hand, I know the new framework is creating a 'tsunami' of work for primary teachers because of the 'deep dives' into subject areas. In general, the remit to extend inspections is not what schools want to hear in a severely demoralised, over-worked and under-appreciated workforce. (Good article here: https://www.tes.com/news/have-ofsteds-problems-only-just-begun)

    On the other, as a Head of English in secondary with several feeder schools, a large percentage of our intake were coming from a school with excellent SATs results but the Y6 were being hot-housed at the expense of all other subjects: which, on the whole, created weak, needy students who weren't actually that impressive even in literacy and numeracy (unless defined by the narrow constraints of the SATs papers). Y6s from feeder schools that have a full, balanced curriculum had the same levels of achievement in SATs but were much more robust, happier and productive students. Our feeder schools all have similar intakes in terms of socio-economic measures. I am lucky to be able to work closely with my KS2 colleagues and literacy leaders so I have been in these schools and worked with the classes so I speak from first-hand experience.

    As a GCSE teacher, I totally understand the impulse to teach to the test (particularly when our PM targets and therefore pay are factored in) but it's quite corrosive for education as a whole. Too often I see Y7s being taught GCSE questions in other subjects in other schools - I have Y11 students who aren't motivated by GCSE questions so why expect Y7 to be? Such a narrowing of the curriculum does need to be tackled.
  2. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    For anyone of my vintage with more than a decade of teaching under my belt when the 1988 "Great Educational Reform Act" was passed, under madMaggie, with brylcreemKen at the helm of the DES and then a few years later Ofsted was invented with pursed-lipped teacher baiter chrisWoodhead, the nubile VIth former's favourite teacher, eager and willing to appear on tv at the drop of a hat to undermine classroom teachers, Ofsted cannot be taken seriously.

    Its personal and political provenance is antithetical to the concept of integrity which any such organisation requires.

    What if anything the 3 people mentioned might have known about teaching in bogStandard(*) schools, still less in deprived areas is quite beyond me.

    (*) Thank you Tony & Alistair
    agathamorse and Jamvic like this.
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I always felt sorry for the late Stewart Sutherland, the first HMCI and first head of Ofsted for two years before Woodhead appeared on the scene. Rarely remembered nowadays, when most think Woodhead was first head of Ofsted. He wasn't.

    If Sutherland had shaped Ofsted's future development relationships with schools it could have been very different.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. bessiesmith2

    bessiesmith2 New commenter

    This is a story with 'more information required' in order to make a judgement. I doubt that the inspection team have a really accurate picture after spending only 48 hours in the school. However, they may have a point that the school are focusing too much on jumping through the SATs hoops at the expense of a good, balanced education. If Ofsted were there in an advisory role, and not required to make an all or nothing judgement then this could be an excellent point for discussion which could have helped the school's staff develop the curriculum further. As it currently stands as a very public pass or fail test it just creates turmoil as staff resign and the pupils endure an extended period of instability - which given their reported backgrounds they could well do without.
  5. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    My memories of Sutherland are by no means as sharp as of Woodhead. Quite the contrary, indeed.

    Here however is one piece of contemporary evidence, dated March 1994, which suggest that the picture of a relatively benign Ofsted at the outset subverted by Woodhead is not quite as valid as presented "above."

  6. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

  7. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    My added emphasis


    John Izibicki?
    M Piaget????
    Rot Weiler?????

    Just asking
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Sorry, I don't understand your answer.

    I just wondered who he was, what his role in education is, as you've cited him as contemporary evidence of Ofsted. Who is he?
  9. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    He was an English Teacher/ Librarian at a Hampshire comprehensive at the time who wrote opinion pieces for newspapers. He left teaching in 1996 and is now a freelance property journalist.
    agathamorse and Rott Weiler like this.
  10. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    A quick google suggests he is still a journalist. Whether he's the same journalist is not checkable on my phone.
    The article was evidence that not all teachers loved Ofsted . My recollection is that they came in for a week and aimed to be thorough. I recall complaints of "they went through my filing cabinets without asking". My first Ofsted in 1996 was comparatively unconfrontational, with some limited constructive dialogue after observations. The lead inspector was disappointed that mot all of us had heard of his rugby international son.
  11. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    ...pre-Woodhead, that is.
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    That's my recollection too. An enormous amount of trepidation and uncertainty about how it was going to work.

    Did teachers ever love Ofsted? I don't recall meeting any who did. (Did someone say teachers liked Ofsted pre-Woodhead? Unlikely, I'd have thought))

    But Sutherland didn't go out of his way to antagonise the profession the way Woodhead later did.
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Given that he was only in post for 2 years on a 6 year cycle, only about a third of teachers will have experienced Ofsted under him.
  14. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I was thinking about the public pronouncements Woodhead made rather than the experience of actually being inspected.
  15. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    I think OFSTED needs to die.

    After decades of OFSTED tacitly supporting the media's ongoing underminng of the teaching profession this corrupted entity has no right to exist in any sane world.

    When in the UK I worked on supply in too many schools where OFSTED came in failed numerous departments and passed the SLT as good when in fact each school's problems were rooted with SLT's incompetence, undermining of staff etc.

    OFSTED and league tables are the twin garrottes that are strangling education in England. Successive governments have shown their contempt for teaching as a profession by allowing OFSTED to continue.

    Other QUANGOs can and have been dissolved. With the dossolution of OFSTED inspection of education could be returned to HMI rather than the gutter of public denegration by league tables.
    agathamorse likes this.

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