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Ofsted - playing the game

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Shedman, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter


    There seems to be a real lack of respect for inspectors. Are these previous school leaders really so lacking in expertise and good judgement that whenever they find a weakness they are wrong? Do they really have no clue what they’re talking about? Are they completely out of touch? I’m not so sure.

    I once overheard a colleague complaining that her observed lesson didn't impress. The students had been writing an essay for the duration of the period. They did what she told them and were silent throughout the process. What more did the inspection team want? Well, a lot, I’d venture. I’d be willing to wager my morning coffee that this experienced teacher knew exactly what the inspectors wanted to see, too, and yet she’d chosen not to “play the game”.

    And playing the game is what it’s all about, isn’t it? Having a structured lesson, showing progress over time, setting high expectations. It’s what we do most days, if not every day. Inspectors only see a snapshot, so give them your best. As experienced members of the education profession, they know that the bells and whistles aren’t out every single lesson, but why wouldn’t you want to show off your skills when you’re being observed? It’s not often teachers get a chance to be celebrated, so it makes sense to maximise the opportunity.

    Other professions have audits and reviews, and the stakes are often much higher. Maybe it’s time that we made a concerted effort to give inspectors the benefit of the doubt – after all, like us, they’re only doing their job.

    I am reminded of the poem Vitai Lampada by Hentry Newbolt:

    There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night—
    Ten to make and the match to win—
    A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
    An hour to play and the last man in.
    And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
    Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
    But his captain's hand on his shoulder smote
    'Play up! play up! and play the game! '

    The sand of the desert is sodden red,—
    Red with the wreck of a square that broke; —
    The Gatling's jammed and the Colonel dead,
    And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
    The river of death has brimmed his banks,
    And England's far, and Honour a name,
    But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
    'Play up! play up! and play the game! '

    This is the word that year by year,
    While in her place the school is set,
    Every one of her sons must hear,
    And none that hears it dare forget.
    This they all with a joyful mind
    Bear through life like a torch in flame,
    And falling fling to the host behind—
    'Play up! play up! and play the game!

    What an inspiring way to start a new term!
  2. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

  3. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    maybe if they are so good they should be in a school helping it improve rather than visiting lots of schools and telling them that they need to improve. Where is the evidence that all the money spent on inspections has improved schools and young people's exam results more than the same money spent on in class staff?
    guinnesspuss likes this.
  4. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    An OFSTED inspector told me several years ago that to get to outstanding we would have to put the cherry on top of the cake. I asked him how to do this and he didn't reply!
  5. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    Perhaps he meant it literally. Did you give them cake?
  6. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    Well, my wife works in the medical field. She has looked over my inspection policies, and the track record of Ofsted, for comparisons with her clinical and industry standards. Hers are less complicated, more accountable, and significantly less prone to opinion based changes. In her words, "Nobody who has ever worked in real quality managed industries would be so stupid."
    monicabilongame likes this.

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