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Discussion in 'Ofsted inspections' started by Orion, Aug 20, 2008.
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But half of the reason that teaching is so poor in this country is that a teacher is reliant on their own knowledge and prep of resources. In reality we are not that expert on everything but have the skill to interpret and adapt things already created.
If I had a bank of free high quality resources which covered the QCA scheme for Year 9 for exmaple then I could adapt and use them. Why can these not be made available. I am not saying you have to use them but it would be nice!
Entire sets of resources are available from commerical publishers, and they are almost invariably of better quality than anything the government produces. Talk to your head of department/headteacher if you feel that's what's missing. But please don't encourage the QCA to send us any more third-rate tat!
That is the point though QCA can just pay centrally a company for this stuff so we can share it all.
Anyway looks like the Inspectors saw this thread and are coming!
So now it is 4 hours, even more silly, why not make a no notice inspection, really no notice!
4 hours is more stressful than overnight as at least you can take moment to prepare. 4 hours when you are teaching already not nice to get visitors like that
Hi, I think that your idea would definitely help to prevent the torturous build up of stress and anxiety that snowballs when getting near to a due date. Showing the reality, is essential. I met a teacher of a secondary school who told me that her school paid for all the "troublemakers" to go to a theme park for 2 days!!!! As professionals, we need to have a bit of back bone to inform those on high when they are making ridiculous demands and conjuring up new initiatives to keep us busy and out of mischief.
Having had a no notice as part of the pilot of new inspections I can honestly say it was totally terrifying when the inspector walked in (no 'phone call beforehand). It was the most stressful 2 days I've ever had, and they expected me to be available to do joint observations and also to be interviewed by various members of the team, produce reams of paperwork and go through all the data at a time to suit them, I had to be available to meet with the inspectors after the 1st day - this meeting ended at 7.30pm, good job my husband was able to pick my children up. I then had to find all the other evidence they wanted to see for the next day (I left school at 10.30pm, exhausted). This was in a large primary - had I been a teaching head it would have been much, much more stressful. Having said that - they saw the school exactly as it was, and the teachers were not putting on a show (most obs were done on the 1st day with just a few revisits) They saw lots of outstanding teaching (on both days) so that was great. There was only one sleepless night (between the 2 days) and we came out very, very well. But if we are to have no notice inspections there needs to be some flexibility in the system - what if the chair of governors is not able to make themselves available? (ours did and had a 1hr interview), what if the head is out? or teaching full time, what if key members of SLT have commitments at home which they can not just drop because Ofsted have popped in? If we are to have no notice inspections they need to have more realistic expectations. Maybe more inspections, more frequently,with no notice, but without the expectation that everything will be absolutely perfect 24/7 ? Or am I just being very naive?
One strange consequence of having been on a competency procedure for two and a half years is I that have come to the conclusion that ALL OFSTED inspections should be no-notice.
It will never happen though. They are too afraid of having to admit the complete dis-connect between the comfortable theory and the day-to-day reality of a profession who get the results they do without always teaching to the latest narrowly defined requirements.
That school proves what the current OFSTED regime has done to teaching. When there is a disconnect of this magnitude between reality and theory, one is forced to be a Hustler rather than a Worker. That's the polite way of putting it.
Put another way, the Headteacher of that school is a liar and a fraud. But I can't say I blame him/her.
I think in sucgh a regime there would have to be a SEF protocol, requuiring all schools to have a constantly updated SEF, of a set (and LIMITED) format available at a omoents notice, with Inspectors not being allowed to demand any further evidence be produced.
I have written this before, but I am going to post it again!
It amazes me that it seems to be only teachers who get so hung up about being watched whilst they are at work. From manual labourers to medical surgeons, from artists, musicians and the like to crafts persons, plumbers and other artisans, from an office worker to a CEO in a big accounting firm, from a steel worker to a farm worker to a factory worker, nurses, through the fire service and the police force and the army, I cannot think of anyone who reacts to being watched in the same way that teachers appear to do. Any suggestions?
In my early years of teaching I worked in a full team-teaching area involving six teachers. Open-plan, the kids could go wherever they liked, and so could we. We successfully developed it over six years, 1966-72, in one school. Since then my classroom door was always permanently open, and whether they be a parent, HT, window cleaner, inspector, whoever, they could walk in at anytime. I was in full command in my own area (which may have involved children being out of my immediate view), I greeted my visitor(s) and invited them to join in wherever they could, without unduly interrupting the children whilst they worked.
Inspection SHOULD be conducted unannounced, no question about it.
I have no issue with being observed unannounced. Neither did any of the teachers when we had a nonotice. They got on with it. Many were outstanding, none less than good. They know that the judgement is based on what they do EVERY day, rather than show lessons. My issue is with the amount of paperwork they expect schools to have, up to date at all times, micro analysed to the nth degree. If you can honesty, hand on heart say that every single piece of paperwork you had is totally up to date, and you have nothing you need to be working on, then you've nothing to fear. You probably have no life though, or haven't got the paperwork Ofsted want!
Policy on writing a policy anyone? ( and before you ask I am NOT joking).
<font size="2">I'm not sure what people think is being hidden in schools that inspectors are going to catch.</font>
<font size="2"><font size="2">Schools are usually very open, honest and tell me who the outstanding teachers are and who they have concerns about - We're aware of the show lessons but it's clear what is the regular diet for students. Equally when we see a lesson that is less successful it is clear if this is the usual case or nerves hitting or a lesson that just didn't go well because you try different things. </font></font>
<font size="2"> It is the public that want the unannounced visits and there isn't the will to say they don't make any difference to the outcomes of inspections but they do put extra pressures on the school. - </font>
<font size="2">What do you think the ideal notice period is - I think telling schools on Thursday/ Friday for inspections next week is the right balance it does allow some things to be rearranged - too short a notice and it makes it difficult to plan for in order to meet with staff and especially governors. Too long and the school ends up working towards an inspection. Even telling schools on the Friday can put undue pressure on teachers to do extra preparation. Schools cope well with no notice but do they need to put up with it.</font>
<font size="2">-If you're asked for a ridiculous policy like curlygirly was asked for- “Policy on policy writing” the outstanding response to this request must be that; it would have absolutely no impact on outcomes for students so we as a school have risk assessed the need for such a policy and it therefore does not exist. </font><font size="2"> </font> <font size="2">Schools all follow the directive to complete a SEF. - I get a lot out of it as an inspector but didn't as a school leader - The SEF is not a compulsory document - Schools have an obligation to self evaluate not to complete the SEF - Schools that monitor their school development plan are evaluating and isn't this more personalised to the school. And how long does the SEF take</font>
Its good to have an inspector posting in the Inspection Forum, Welcome aboard, Avanzar!
In my day (circa 1960s-70s) the LEA people were called advisers. My science adviser was great, he gave all of my innovative stuff (based on Nuffield and IDEM from Goldsmith's College, pre-NC of course), his full support, even though it was sometimes pretty chaotic! HT had to accept it (he was MA not science), HMI never came near, and parents were happy since the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves, and learning something. AT GCE and CSE levels the school was very successful, even though it was a sec. mod.
I am dubious about this statement of yours. Inspection implies authority from above, I think, and therefore you are in a position to dictate the terms. I think that if you really want ot see what is going on in schools you should arrive unannounced, or is it that you would rather not see what is really going on!!? If you invite us to participate in the inspection process then call yourselves advisers, with advice being the only follow-up to your visit.
Of course, it is nice to have one's advice taken up, but that would involve subsequent visits, and perhaps a protocol could be put in place to deal with recalcitrant teachers and/or schools. This would be a public affair though, with union, parent and media involvement, I think.
I agree that Inspection implies authority and for it to have any bite it must have significant authority - but all politicians like to be seen to be responsive to the views of the public and I think this is where the push for no notice is strongest - from parents
I would ask - What does no notice add to an inspection apart from a lot more stress for the Head and teachers.
The tricks of sending badly behaved children home, writing a dozen new policies and briefing staff to say "the right thing" has no effect - It is not difficult to see through this.
I do see a big difference in the advisors service and the inspection process - but don't think there is a conflict in involving the school in the inspection - This way it can be more useful for the school and gives the school a good foundation for appeal if they feel the inspection was flawed in the judgements made - particulalry about the school DATA.
The difference is the starting point we come from - I go into schools expecting it to be giving students a good deal - because the vast majority of schools do - I'm usually not disappointed.
You seem to be implying that inspections are stressful, Avanzar, which is anathema to me! I have posted a few times now challenging this concept, I ask why teachers in particular should find that being observed is stressful? All other competent professionals, tradespersons, artisans and artists do not seem to suffer in this way. Well, I can suggest one answer, that teaching is an art form like acting, but first-night butterflies do not last with professional actors, I think.
It is more likely that the teachers themselves are not competent, and they know it. This may be down to the rare person who just is not suited to teaching, but I mostly blame their training and the lack of support from their overseers when they are in the classroom. This stems from the "sink or swim" attitude which I experienced when I was a probationer in 1966!
If this is the case (that is - there is incompetence for whatever reason) then a no notice inspection will not arouse extra stress, until the inspector walks into the classroom - but so what? My door was always open to anyone, anytime. You distinguish between the advisory service and the inspectorate without giving details, and I suggest that there should be no difference, except to acknowledge openly that there is incompetence and the central government is trying to do something about it, rather than leave it to local authorities, or individual schools.
On the political front, I am therefore beginning now to talk about decentralization, ultimately to put the real authority back with the teacher in the classroom, where, traditionally in the english educational system, it belongs.
In my MEd year (1992-3) we learnt a lot about action research. In my probationary year I was already into this, but was told by one HMI who found something to criticise (surprise, surprise, I was only a probationer) to concentrate on becoming a good teacher rather than to take on extraneous research!! Perhaps it was good advice for me as I never became a researcher, but my MEd year made me think it was a wasted opportunity. Mixing with other adults, instead of being permanently shut in a classroom with children only, must be a professional experience essential to even the probationary period. That was why I moved into team teaching.
I am pleased to hear that you think most teachers are fine. The moaners here on the TES website are in the minority, but I do think too many children nowadays are getting away with their nonsense.
I am upping this thread before it slips off the front board.
It is a great pity that Avanzar has withdrawn for the time being, I really would like to know the criteria by which advisors are distinguished from inspectors, except to re-enforce the observation that a teacher is not doing a very good job, but not to expect any help from me (the inspector).
It isnt about the teaching I don't think as such - it is about everything. I feel I am a good teacher, working well with the children etc but I do know I struggle with the amount of data that OFSTED would require seeing - APP, levels, IEPs and evidence of how I have supported children, raising causes for concerns and meetings with people to support this, my displays, working walls, targets in childrens books regularly being changed, marking permanently being up to date in every single book, annotations of plans etc.
I know this is all part of teaching and is why for the moment I have taken a step back from it. This is the part of OFSTED coming in that I would find stressful - not them observing me teaching.
The other thing you mentioned was about first night nerves for actors not lasting. I agree but teachers aren't observed daily by people in authority and so each time it feels like first night over again.
I acknowledge what you are saying, starsanddreams, but in my probationary year I did two things. The first was to make myself the best teacher I could be for the kids, and to get on with their parents, (which I think you have already accomplished), and secondly not to be pushed around or directed by anyone supposedly in a position of employment authority over me. Do a good job, and nobody can touch you unless they are vindictive, which also would then have to be addressed with the full force of the law.
When I was an 11 year old child in a grammar school, my mathematics teacher never wrote anything else on my report apart from "satis." in the five years he taught me. BTW, he was a very good teacher! As a probationary teacher, I did the same for my first set of reports, 220 to write at the end of the first term! Well, I did say something different for the half dozen or so in each class who were lazy or naughty, and the one or two who were really bright. My HT said this was not good enough, and I went spare with him. I came into teaching after two years in industry, and I could not believe the pettyness which existed in the teaching so-called profession.
After my blast, which was totally professional concerning the work I had done with the kids and my contacts with parents, he conceded and asked me if I would go through the reports and change "satis." to "satisfactory". I too conceded and did this, and in the next 30 years I never developed my record-keeping any further.
I am told I would not get away with this now with Ofsted, but neither would Ofsted get me off their backs if they plonked a pile of paperwork in front of me and said I had to fill this stuff in. I would argue to what benefit is it to the children? They are fine, their parents are happy, and they all get the grades to which they are capable. If they said it was now the law, (NC), you have to do this, then I would be out of teaching.
Regarding observation, my classroom door was always open, therefore I was easily seen by anyone, any day, just like my analogy with a professional bus driver.