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Ofsted Legitimacy?

Discussion in 'Ofsted inspections' started by lermentov, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. I've noticed a lot of fully justified complaining about the methodologies Ofsted apply to their inspections and teachers constantly upset, demoralised and outraged at the whole process. And yet I hear very few comments that actually question the legitmacy of Ofsted. I think when one looks at these kind of questions interesting answers begin to appear. Now, I am no expert, but from what I can gather - the goverment appoint the Head of Ofsted. They are funded by central government. They decide the criteria of what consitutes a good and bad school. They are almost wholly unaccountable. Their approach has changed somewhat - become shorter, ahem, cheaper. I would be interested in correlating this new approach with their funding of the past few years! Has it remained constant?

    I have been through several Ofsteds and never enjoyed or felt satisfied by the experience - despite, for the most part, being on the end of some overflattering panegyrics. I am constantly frustrated that I have no say over the shape of Ofsted or their approach. I, of course, believe wholeheartedly in the fact that schools shouldn't be completely autonomous and should have to answer to somebody. I don't believe that person should be Ofsted though - not in their current form.

    Recent Labour leader candidate John McDonnell had within his policies a desire to reconstiute Ofsted in a supporting and advisory capacity. It sounded like a good idea.
    The present system isn't though and I am sick and tired of it and of encountering schools who are de facto run by Ofsted i.e. the obsequious Head compeletely subordinated to the whims of a highly politicised organisation.

    What do other people think?
    What should the alternative look like?
     
  2. I've noticed a lot of fully justified complaining about the methodologies Ofsted apply to their inspections and teachers constantly upset, demoralised and outraged at the whole process. And yet I hear very few comments that actually question the legitmacy of Ofsted. I think when one looks at these kind of questions interesting answers begin to appear. Now, I am no expert, but from what I can gather - the goverment appoint the Head of Ofsted. They are funded by central government. They decide the criteria of what consitutes a good and bad school. They are almost wholly unaccountable. Their approach has changed somewhat - become shorter, ahem, cheaper. I would be interested in correlating this new approach with their funding of the past few years! Has it remained constant?

    I have been through several Ofsteds and never enjoyed or felt satisfied by the experience - despite, for the most part, being on the end of some overflattering panegyrics. I am constantly frustrated that I have no say over the shape of Ofsted or their approach. I, of course, believe wholeheartedly in the fact that schools shouldn't be completely autonomous and should have to answer to somebody. I don't believe that person should be Ofsted though - not in their current form.

    Recent Labour leader candidate John McDonnell had within his policies a desire to reconstiute Ofsted in a supporting and advisory capacity. It sounded like a good idea.
    The present system isn't though and I am sick and tired of it and of encountering schools who are de facto run by Ofsted i.e. the obsequious Head compeletely subordinated to the whims of a highly politicised organisation.

    What do other people think?
    What should the alternative look like?
     
  3. No, you have to sack the lot of them. Otherwise they will reform with a new hat on.

    I don't see what was so terrible about HMI. They generally had a clue what they were talking about, and were helpful and supportive as well as critical.

    Oh, I remember. They weren't in hock to the government. Silly me.
     
  4. Be careful autismuk we may be accused of being afflicted with the deadly disease that is Consiparasus Theorem! I constantly hear the aphorism - think outside the box. If only more of us did we'd realise that when we were told to think outside the box, it doesn't actually mean think OUTSIDE the box. It actually means stay thinking inside the box and do more work. Having disparaged that idea, let me be a real hyprocite and engage in a bit of intra-box thinking:
    Ofsted have only one agenda - the educational well being of children. The fact that they are beholden to the government of the day, makes no difference upon their desire to make schools better places for everyone. Indeed they are a highly humanitarian, altruistic organisation. The inspection is a coming together of like-minded people all with a singular goal in mind. Indeed the whole process could be described as symbiotic - benefiting one and all!
    Anyone convinced?
     
  5. I'm convinced you're drunk or high on something .... ;-)

    They will say that. All quangos do. It's complete ****** of course.
     
  6. The other argument is that schools should be accountable (fair enough) and at the moment there is no alternative. The current Ofsted regime is certainly better and less punitive than before (based on the one I have just gone through).
     
  7. I think that's only half the problem ; I think the main problem is it's unreliability.

    I don't disagree that schools need to be inspected. The problem is doing it with people who are (IME anyway) often embarrassingly ignorant who are given an utterly inflexible framework which being clueless, they will leap on going "rules are rules", like mini-Hitlers do.

    Private Schools are the problem. OFSTED are down on them sometimes not because they are poor schools, but the don't follow the DfES's micromanaged idiocy "new policy of the week" syndrome stuff. That's because they don't want to because 90% of it is total ****. However, their refusal to provide multicultural toilet paper is just report as "Insufficient care on health and safety" or "Racist attitudes" or some such ****.

    Those of us who are teachers whose children go private sometimes do it partially to *avoid* the moronic rubbish the DfES/OFSTED forces on us. I pay for my daughter to have a nice old-fashioned education in many ways, and it's worth every penny.
     
  8. A very interesting discussion guys... Here's my theory... You can determine the outcome of an inspection in the following way:

    1) The number of days it lasts for, and

    2) The number of guys/gals who visit.

    All of this, of course, is based on SAT's results. It has to be as if it were a level playing field and 'first experience of the school was the main judgmental factor' then there would be the same length of inspections ajnd the same amount of inspectors (based on school size of course). OfSTED will say the numebr of inspectors and length is determined by the size of the school and this simply isn't the case! Friends of mine who are at schools where they had 1 guy for 1 day were all judged outstanding. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't as it's entirely subjective who knows? My big beef is if one guy turns up for one day, how can a school be anything less that good (to be honest outstanding!!) cos if I was a head and some bloke turned up for a few hours popped here and there for 15 minutes and judged us satisfactory - I'd get my lawyers in!!!! So why don'e they just tell us over the phone the final judgements as they base it entirely on SATs results after all ... And save us a whole load of money and stress. The new system stinks by the way! I was best man at a wedding on the weekend before our OfSTED on the Monday!!! How is one supposed to organise their life around that!!!
     
  9. My sons school had OFSTED a couple of weeks - apparently a very agressive team who upset and demoralised a lot of staff who I know to be excellent teachers - This team was led led by a relatively young inspecto whom I would guess is out to make a career for himself/herself(delete as you wish for PC)

    My school (a primary) has just this week had an inspection - a very positive experience led by an experienced (I would guess) ex-head.

    I've now had 2 - both good, but only because the team we're prefessional and actually very supportive.

    With this approach, I have no problem and nothing to fear.

    What we as teachers have to sort out out is getting rid of the mavericks who are a pain to all and sundry who clearly have some sort of personal self-fulfilling agenda.

    We have to get governors and heads to identify these rogue teams/inividuals and have them removed from the system. If this is done then any teacher worth his or her salt (sorry for the expression) should have nothing to fear.
     
  10. Sorry for the last message and all the typos - post OFSTED and I'm knackered!
     
  11. What we should have is a system that we have some say on. We all agree with some form of school assessment - so why does that take the form of a flawed, politically-motivated, protean organisation - whom we have no control over, or input into.
    An organisation whose raison d'etre is underpinned by the belief that there are always schools out there which are failing. It is my opinion that Ofsted are not really interested in the raising of standards. I believe it is in fact the opposite - in that they ensure the standards and criteria THEY determine can't be met by everybody; therefore they will always find 'failing' schools and their continued existence is assured.
     
  12. magazine

    magazine New commenter

    Spot on, lermentov.
     
  13. here here!
     
  14. But my theory still holds... One guy means good SAT's results - OUTSTANDING.

    Not so good SAT's results - 3 guys - Satisfactory...


    So basically - a school that cheats at SAT's is laughing!
     
  15. By cheating, I mean do as my wife's school does - drag them thru SAT's kicking and screaming!!!
     
  16. I'm afraid your theory doesn't hold, Smithy - my best friend's school just got inspected today. One inspector, one day: deemed unsatisfactory.

    I am ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED that there is a political motive behind it - don't want to say too much in case the school is identified, but there is a specific political reason for undermining the school and my friend and I are certain that this is the reason for this short, sharp f*** up of an 'inspection'.
     
  17. Re Post 8

    I?m pleased that your experiences of inspection have been positive ones.

    After every inspection, schools are invited to comment on their inspection by filling in a short questionnaire. It is a pity that not all headteachers complete these. Where schools have a positive experience of inspection, they should say so. Where they believe that inspectors have been acted improperly or unprofessionally, they should also say so. In the latter case, there are also clear procedures to follow to lodge a formal complaint.

    Where complaints arise, they are always investigated and adjudicated upon. If an inspector is found to have acted in breach of Ofsted?s code of conduct, competency action can be taken.
     
  18. Previous writer's post is typical of the standard defense. It suggests the Ofsted system is fair as there are levels of accountability that they are held to.
    What the hell have we all got to complain about?!
    Well look a bit closer...
    Firstly, who drew up Ofsted's code of conduct?
    Don't recall myself or any other teacher I know (or parent for that matter)being consulted on this particular set of regulations.
    Who adjudicates when a complaint arises?
    A wholly independent panel, or Ofsted again?
    What if I disagree with an adjudication?





     
  19. I wasn?t attempting to offer any defence ? standard or otherwise. My reply was to a questioner who had had positive experiences of inspection but who was bemoaning what they saw as ?maverick? inspectors out there who were not doing a good job. Of course, you can campaign for an end to inspection or a revision of the system. However, while the system is in place, it?s in all our interests to ensure that it works as best it can. To that end, I am reiterating a reminder that schools have the opportunity to put in their feedback on inspections and they should do so ? criticising the flaws and praising the positive.

    Most complaints about inspections are resolved informally, usually between the inspector and headteacher, whilst the inspection is taking place. When complaints are made following an inspection, they are investigated by an inspector unconnected with the inspection in accordance with the published complaints procedure, copy of which is available on the Ofsted website (www.oftsed.gov.uk). Where a complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint they may request an internal review, a second, impartial investigation by Ofsted.

    Following this, complainants have a further option of taking their complaint to the Independent Complaints Adjudicator. The Adjudicator is independent of Ofsted and offers impartial views and advice to complainants and the Inspectorate. Anyone who has complained to Ofsted and is dissatisfied with the response can ask for an independent investigation by the Adjudicator.
     
  20. Agree with other posters Selwyn is talking rubbish. We as teachers try to teach day to day - we manage behaviour - plan for needs - complete plans and be observed. The problem with current limate of observations is to watch for 8 minutes - a snapshot of teaching and learning - when this might be brilliant - we all know and appreciate when this is - but might be terrible - if learning is not as good as it should be through a pupil's behaviour - we as teachers can fail and it is made aware as purely our fault to the head, pupils and parents. Having gone through old style inspections when I was considered very good and new style - when offered ridiculous feedback with what to do witrh my whiteboard - I know whic I prefer - even given old style inpectors expected us to fail on motivation which we didn;t Ofsted purely serves to justify its own rule - put them in special measures - four years on call them outstanding - when in reality in the school and with the children nothing has changed.
     

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