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Ofsted plan longer school inspections

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Shedman, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter


    This week Tes revealed how a heavyweight commission on school accountability has concluded that Ofsted inspection reports are unreliable and provide false assurance to parents – because inspectors do not have the time they need.

    I remember the first Ofsted inspection I suffered, about 15 inspectors arrived and they all stood at the back of the morning assembly. Each department had its own allocated inspector who pored over the schemes of work and lesson plans and would see every teacher in the department teach. There was even a lay inspector who would go around at lunchtime and break time talking to the students. They arrived Monday morning and left Friday lunchtime. The last inspection I suffered was conducted by a single inspector and only a selection of partial lessons was observed but this was about 10 years ago.

    It seems that there is no consensus about how to effectively inspect a school with Ofsted periodically changing their inspection regime. Ofsted can't even agree how to assess teaching and so they've dropped that from their reports. Perhaps, if they don't know how to inspect a school they should drop that as well and we could go back to the system of local authority inspectors who actually came to advise and help improve schools rather than damning them.
  2. nervousned

    nervousned Senior commenter

    bevdex and JohnJCazorla like this.
  3. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    I totally agree. The point of my original comments was simply to point how the inspection regime has changed over the last 20 years or so and they're still no closer to coming up with a reliable method.
    tonymars likes this.
  4. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    I thought they'd had their budget slashed by around 50%?
    Or will there (miraculously) be additional money for them?
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I remember those long, long inspections and the relief when you got to Friday lunchtime and knew you were safe.
    I think the model is flawed - local inspectors who know the schools and visit regularly might be a better model. But LEA inspectors weren't always reliable, in one of Mrs P's schools a fair while back, a new head's first question to the local inspector was "so why did you let the school get to this point and not do anything?"
  6. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    Yes, 1996! My first inspection was exactly that.
    Prior to that, HMIs who were effectively advisors! That’s the only way to go, but it won’t happen.
    Catgirl1964 likes this.
  7. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    I remember my first ever Ofsted inspection, on the week 6th - 10th March 1995 (the scars are that deep), for which we were being prepared for the preceding eighteen months! We had Mocksteds, both internal and external.......you name it, we had twice, with knobs on. We joked that we should have a swear box in the staffroom, in which anyone mentioning the 'Of-word' had to put 50p.
  8. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Like most things, what goes around comes around. I too, remember those week long inspections, grades for individual teachers, everyone knowing exactly who got what, the long lead up which ramped up the stress.
  9. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    The advent of OFSTED was one of the factors that ushered in the era of the 'snake oil salesmen', peddling things that 'Ofsted will want to see', and massively increasing teachers' workloads. As @foxtail3 implied, the lead in period to the old, 'long' inspections completely distorted teaching. Whether a school was due for an inspection became one of the criteria for someone looking thinking of applying for a job there.
    tenpast7 likes this.
  10. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    It could be said of OFSTED, 'Never was the time of the many wasted by so few'.
    install and Catgirl1964 like this.
  11. Ex-teacher

    Ex-teacher Occasional commenter

    I remember those full week inspections well. Early 1990's? Yup, we had many months notice, that spanned the summer holidays. I also remember setting my Mondays lessons up, getting out equipment, materials Tec before I went home on Friday, only to come in on Monday to find a "helpful" colleague had been in over the weekend and tidied up, ie. put everything away. Yup, I was inspected on Monday p1....

    However, at least in a full lesson visit the inspector could see real progress, rather than a 10 minute judgement. It also helped having a specialist inspector, not a French specialist coming into a d+t lesson...

    However they plan to do the inspections in the future, I'm sooooo glad I'm out of them!
  12. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Give the flippin' money to the flippin' schools and flippin' well let them solve the flippin' problems.
    Catgirl1964 and Grandsire like this.
  13. install

    install Star commenter

    I remember full on inspections and brown envelopes with a grading for each teacher. There were 'winners' and 'losers' - with the 'losers' being grilled by sone nasty ht types as to why they didn't 'perform' for Ofsted. I also remember some ht who put their 'base room' in the quietest place - and with lots and lots of stairs to climb for them. And of course, the 'look outs' in another school, to track where they were and run ahead to warn of their arrival each time.
    And don't forget the poorly behaved students who were suddenly absent. Or the sudden presence of slt in corridors for a change.

    These were the most stressful Ofsteds ever. If they return all teachers may well leave or go on strike. The unexplained bonus of 10,000 pounds that some Ofsted types really sums up what is going on here. Ofsted are in it fir the money - at the expense of teachers. Longer inspections means more money for them.

    The best thing is for Ofsted to go. They fail again and again to support schools and the communities the schools are in. If they realky care why don't they just teach for a couple of years in the schools they deem as failing?
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
    henrypm0, Mrsmumbles and tenpast7 like this.
  14. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    I remember that too, @install. My first OFSTED, which was over eighteen months in preparation, was run like a military operation by the DH, whose office became the 'command post'. If an inspector came into our lesson, directly afterwards we had to go the DH for a rapid 'de-brief'. His 'look outs' were immaculately turned out girls, who, officially, were on 'welcome duty', and conducted the inspectors around the school.

    Some usually desk-bound senior staff members were seen around the school. One, called 'Ironside' behind his back, strode purposefully along unfrequented corridors, attracting the comment, "I didn't know he could walk!"
    henrypm0 and install like this.
  15. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Could be expensive for the schools who want outstanding. They will have to splash out on a few more slap-up meals, and more evening entertainment:p.
    install and Mrsmumbles like this.
  16. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Too flippin' right!
    install likes this.
  17. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    As they stand, they are pointless.

    First of all, there are league tables. We might like them, we might hate them, but they exist. And no matter how inaccurate they are, they're almost certainly more accurate than Ofsted.

    So either they should just scrap the tables and let Ofsted report on that area of school life, or Ofsted should be changed so they say nothing at all about them.

    What does that leave Ofsted doing? Checking there are no major safeguarding concerns?

    I suppose there might be a need for the latter.

    But the big issues which are a concern in education at the moment appear to be the teacher shortage due to workload/pressure, and the MAT/money crisis. Ofsted does not appear to have flagged up a single instance of poor VFM/missing money when inspecting academies in trusts which have gone belly up, and only add to stress & workload.

    The first thing I'd do is scrap the idea of an inspection followed by a public report. I'd have an inspection to see if everything's okay. If it's not, I'd have clear instructions as to what the leadership need to do, extra funding & time to allow it to happen, and a follow up visit to ensure it has (not a full blown inspection).

    Only if a school consistently ignores this should anything be made public.

    Just my opinion.
    install likes this.
  18. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    And very valid too. If no one had an opinion these forums wouldn't exist and I wouldn't have a social life now I'm retired.
    install likes this.

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