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School inspectors are not monsters so we shouldn’t fear them…

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

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Hmmm, is this a case of easier said than done? An interesting viewpoint on inspection and why teachers should use the opportunity to showcase their skills:

    ‘There is no point in fearing inspectors. All we achieve is to make monsters out of them. We build a caricature, an opponent. In doing so, we sabotage our own practice by creating an insurmountable challenge. Becoming anxious about something that hasn’t happened or might not happen is counter-productive, isn’t it? Admittedly, it’s not easy to control adrenaline, but the mastery of emotional responses is generally a trait that teachers possess. Think of when a child threatens to throw a chair across the room, or when a student has an allergic reaction. We cope well in those situations, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing the job.

    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.’

    Sam Tassiker is a secondary teacher in Scotland

    What do you think? Do you agree? What are your views about inspections and inspectors?

  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    The author is in Scotland and presumably writing about Education Scotland inspections. Not Ofsted. Maybe the author would think differently if writing about Ofsted inspections in England?
  3. slick

    slick New commenter

    I think it is the luck of the draw in respect to Ofsted inspections. Years ago, one inspector stood with me at lunchtime and mentioned the lack of non-white students and stated that, 'there must be issues of racism in school'. My response was to ask him to look at the boys playing football, be it whatever colour and background, and the only concern about racism was brought up by him and not the students....

    The last inspection and the Ofsted colleagues were very efficient, friendly and realistic about the school and the challenges and success that we encounter daily to achieve the results we achieve... working hard with staff, parents and students.
  4. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    C'mon; that's not the same as Ofsted disapproving of your pedagogy and giving you less than good and having follow-up from a vindictive SLT. Even teachers are more complicated than this. Next you'll be saying we should remember that people have reptilian brains that can over-rule their rationalism although it won't apply to teachers who have no excuse.
    phlogiston likes this.
  5. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    Whenever they think they've found a weakness. No point saying that they've found one and then asking if they are wrong. The problem may be that some Ofsted inspectors are not very competent, or self-obsessed, or arrogant or, indeed, just plain nasty. They're people. Over here we had HMI and I found them to be good, knowledgeable, helpful and supportive. One or two were a bit deaf and needed questions asked a second time a little more forcefully but I had respect for them although the weren't necessarily ex-leaders.
  6. kittylion

    kittylion Senior commenter

    Becoming anxious about something that hasn’t happened or might not happen is counter-productive, isn’t it?

    Perhaps so, but as my experience of Ofsted inspectors is nearly all negative, I will continue to think of them as I always have - not monsters, but definitely not as allies.

    Well ... yes, not surprisingly.
    drek and JohnJCazorla like this.
  7. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    It's not my fear of OFSTED that's the issue, fearful or not, there's little I can do about it. It's the SLTs' fear and that translates to action that makes my work/life balance even worse.

    I've often compared OFSTED to the early gods,
    "If I sacrifice a neighbour's goat then perhaps that will please the gods and the harvest will be good"
    "If I sacrifice a lesser teacher then perhaps that will please OFSTED and the report will be good"
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

  9. thin_ice

    thin_ice Occasional commenter

    Current, actually, in many cases. Get the facts right.
  10. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    In my experience, you never get to find out whether the inspectors are human or not. Any conversation is brief, and from my point of view edgy. At best they're looking for good data, but there's always the underlying fear of being tripped up.
    No constructive dialogues about pedagogy.
    The best outcome is that they go away and don't annoy you for a few years (but SLT will still fret).
    bevdex, agathamorse and JohnJCazorla like this.
  11. tterb

    tterb New commenter

    No fear. It's just people's jobs and livelihood, school reputations, etc that are on the line from a politically driven authority who cannot even provide a consistent framework after countless years of trying. A waste of money on an organisation that doesn't know what it's doing.
    tenpast7, briancant, Piscean1 and 5 others like this.
  12. drek

    drek Star commenter

    When an inspector who has never been around children sees one child in a class of 30 messing about their gut instinct seems to be ‘its the teacher’.
    They don’t recognise the non verbal and verbal tools the teacher uses to get the child to refocus.
    they should be asking is how long has the teacher had to deal with this student on their own? When do senior staff intervene. Do they do it a way that makes the student feel responsible or in an finger pointing way at the teacher? Were the parents supportive of the school behaviour policy?
    It is their responsibility to decide whether the school and parents are working together to build intolerance towards persistent disruptions, rudeness and disrespect.
    Parental and community support or lack of should be mentioned in the school report when indicating a spread of poor behaviour and categorising a school.
    Why aren’t there surveys about how parents respond or not as the case may be to staff phone calls.
    Why do some schools in a community end up as the place for the worst performing/behaved students to be sent to from the other schools in the area?
    The paper trail and judgemental methods that end up leaving some schools stuck in a never ending cycle ofchallenging students/staff shortages leads right back to OFSTEd and the dfe
    tenpast7 and agathamorse like this.
  13. tterb

    tterb New commenter

    Agreed, well said. Politically driven and therefore not driven to help drive real improvement.
    agathamorse likes this.

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