1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Special measures

Discussion in 'Ofsted inspections' started by imateachertoo, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. We were put in special measures just after Christmas. Watch out if you work in a white working class area. The new buzzword 'progress of white working class boys'.

    I think the Inspectors had already made their mind up because 'your boys underachieve'. The SMT are shell shocked and are finding it difficult to come up with a 'plan'.

    Lesson observations- 10% rule-make sure no more than 3 are of task at anyone time. Low level behaviour will make a lesson be unsatisfactory. Progress- if they are on task they will generally make some progress.

    Good luck if you are due an OFSTED.
  2. Great, isn't it...wasters with clipboards judging something they know nothing about. How many of them could put down the clipboard and show you an outstanding lesson? We can all criticise.
  3. I'm able to put down my clipboard and teach outstanding lessons. I'm no superman and not all lessons were successful - but over the time students did make exceptional progress and not only in exams. I have spent a considerable part of my teaching career teaching in schools in special measures or in schools that are far to close to special measures for comfort - this was of course my choice and I'm pleased to say all of the schools gave students a better deal at the end of my time there. I worked alongside some outstanding teachers that were recognised as such but I also had to put up with some appauling teaching and appauling leadership - As did the students who got a raw deal.
    So who is going to identify the very small number of schools that are letting children down form the vast majority of schools that give students a good deal - The LA are not. The SIPs are not and the leaders in failing schools are not often aware of how bad things are -
    The inspection process is far from perfect but it has a role to play - or maybe I'm just another waster with a clipboard and my experience of moving schools forward at the chalkface has no place in inspection ?????????????

  4. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    But not run a spell checker?
  5. The spal cheKa doesn't wurc on Mi masheen and att this tyme as yoo can cea I need won - but back to the point
  6. If an inspector has not taught successfully in the very recent past, (s)he will be judging staff tackling "initiatives" that (s)he has not attempted to implement. Mmmm....credibility struggles a little..."I've never actually tried to do what you are doing, but because I was once a good teacher, using the old definition, I am able to judge your work." Sounds familiar doesn't it. Good teachers tend either to stay teaching, or go on to headship. Inspection is a great get out for those who are not up to teaching, but please don't pretend to be a fantastic teacher! The only answer, IMHO, is to limit cushy inspection jobs to seconded, successful, current teachers. Anything else, you maintain the credibility gap, as at present.
  7. Well my personal experience is very recent and I do have a concern about really keeping in touch with the classroom - but I think this misses the fact that inspection isn't teaching - As a Head bringing a school out of Special measures I taught- but very little - This didn't stop me from leading the school and many heads don't teach at all but are very effective heads. But then headteachers job is not to teach - If inspectors haven't been successful teachers I see your point - And to have more practicing Deputy heads and Headteacher in inspection teams would be a real factor to strengthen the inspection process and ensure schools are more able to use inspections.

    As for your point as my job being a get out - It is rather a shallow comment - I've spent all my teaching career countering the accusations about those that can do, those that can't teach - It was insulting to teachers and your comment is just as insulting - I'm not pretending to be a fantastic teacher - but I can still teach and teach well. I think putting inspectors into schools for a few weeks a year to get back to the chalkface would be a good move - I would welcome it -some would be petrified - teachers should also spend time shadowing inspections again most would welcome it and some would be petrified - I'm suprised and dissappointed that the NPQH and leading from the middle programmes don't include such experiences

    Perhaps you should apply for the additional inspector secondment and walk in another's shoes for just one year - I'm aware of initiative overload I taught throught the last 20 years.
  8. I agree with some of your points, Avanzar, which you have presented well. My point about teaching & inspection is just that....I think inspectors should be currently practising, successful teachers. People would then have some respect for them. Twenty seven years ago, my HT was the type who would just walk in to the class room and involve herself. It was amazing to see her in action. I listened to her every word, and took all of her advice. For one good reason; she was able to do the job much better than I could. How many teachers respect inspectors, and why? I think we both know the answer. If inspectors were to teach in schools for a term or two each year, and , most importantly, undergo inspections in exactly the same way as teachers, I think that would be an enormous improvement.(Of course, only those judged "outstanding" would be allowed to continue to inspect). Inspectors would realise the nonsense that teachers have to cope with, from HM Government, SMT, and ofsted. (BTW, I qualified as a team inspector in '94/5....long before AIs, if I remember correctly, were dreamed up. Twenty years ago,I was an experienced deputy, looking forward to headship. My current school was recently judged outstanding, under the new framework. I've walked in some pretty good shoes, and some good, pretty shoes. )
  9. I don't agree that inspectors need to be current practicing teachers. I do agree that they need credibility and having more current practitioners on the team can't be a bad thing as long as they can inspect aswell. OUtstanding teacher doesn't translate into outstanding inspector. How this is brought about is a thesis in itself. I'm fully aware of the nonsense that teachers have to cope with from all sorts of directions including from OFsted - I'm also aware that schools have been wrong footed for quite some time and not doing some of these things was a shot in your own foot even when you knew they were useless and transient. I think history will prove the SEF to be such an activity - It's not statutory and a development plan thats tracked effectively should suffice but as schools we're damned if we don't fill in the SEF. I'm heartened that the inspection argument is raging so feircely as it feels to me that the media has at last recognised that most schools give students a good deal and it's not news but inspector bating is fair game and so it should be. But just like in the last twenty years a lot of teachers have had a great deal of extra stress striving for professional recognition - Many inspectors do a good job there are obviously too many that don't though and it is this that needs the biggest fix. The Inspection framework can wait -
    So isn't it your duty to raise the credibility of the inspector by inspecting yourself - and changing from within - You can do it
  10. No, sorry. Inspectors are quite capable of looking after themselves, as you know. My life is spent developing and looking out for children. It's much more rewarding. We'll have to agree to differ re. inspectors' credibility. I think outstanding teacher translates into inspector a lot better than rubbish teacher translates into inspector. My real criticism is of a system that allows mediocre (and worse) heads and teachers to muddle through in the classroom, escape, and then be reborn as judges of quality teaching. I remember my ofsted training well, and I also remember the dire quality of many of those with whom I trained. I have met some excellent inspectors over the years, and equally, known some pretty dire teachers. But as a profession, we deserve a much, much better system than ofsted and their inspections offer.
  11. littlerussell

    littlerussell New commenter

    I have no particular problem with OFSTED inspectors. It's the organisation itself which is the problem.
    I'm interested to know why you think that SIPs can't identify failing schools (with the relevant training). They already know that a school must "raise standards in English", as OFSTED frequently point out. More to the point, they are the ones who, after a school is placed in a category, will identify exactly what is going wrong in a school, which OFSTED consistently fails to do. A read through reports of schools in special measures throws up an incredibly narrow range of "reasons" why the school is underperforming: too much unsatisfactory teaching, poor use of data or AfL, insufficient pace or challenge. Occasionally behaviour, but I can't think of many more. There is no insight. You don't read OFSTED reports which give any kind of detail about what the problem is. You don't read that children fall behind in Mathematics because they have limited practical experience of number in Year 1, followed by inadequate delivery of intervention programmes by poorly trained TAs in Years 2 & 3. You just read that "standards in Mathematics are low" because "teaching is unsatisfactory".
    For the vast majority of schools which fail, it is because there are big blue Sig- blocks all over their Raise Online. If the purpose of OFSTED is not to specifically identify what is the problem and/or offer a solution, then what exactly is it? OFSTED simply exists to confirm and make public what is already known.
    What underperforming schools need is a detailed analysis of what *exactly* is going wrong, narrowed down to individual staff, cohorts, groups of pupils, and an insight into why and what strategies they might employ to deal with them. This is what the SIP/LA do.
    I have no problem with you as an inspector, Avanzar, but given that you want to make a difference, don't you think you could do far more in an LA role *supporting* schools rather than writing a report to tell them what they already know and making judgements which reflect a set of national criteria rather than the local circumstances of the school?

  12. Nice post, LR. The difficulty is that for inspectors to identify the source/cause of the problem, they would need to understand children and be able to teach. You may get an answer about inspectors not daring to give the solution, in case a school sues them if they are incorrect. Yes, ermmmm. Unsatisfactory, methinks.
  13. Ofsted has added to the general demise of teaching as a 'profession'. Most inspectors have no recent experience in the classroom and no respect for those of us doing the job today or they wouldn't do it. They might have been good in their time, but have no concept of the damage they do to schools, teachers and children. I joined a profession. Today it is a job which can't be done properly because of all the garbage that has to be produced to satisfy a discredited system. I am speaking as someone in a school judged successful by Ofsted. Just imagine how the rest feel.
  14. In September I moved from an outstanding school to a school in category which was a considered move on my part. The reason I did this was because I wanted to be part of the team moving the school forward and to use my skills as an experienced teacher as part of the SLT at this school. It has been an intense, often accutely stressful but ultimately rewarding experience for us all.
    We are curently waiting for Ofsted to call on us again after our last 'satisfactory' judgement, we have all worked our socks off and feel we just want them to come to give us another satisfactory to trigger the full ofsted so that we may come out of category.
    Ofsted in its current format puts untold stress and strain on schools, i feel that it would be much better to expand the role of the SIP and local authority inspectors so that they have regular and consistent support and input into schools. This would enable schools to have the support they need in key areas, would build upon the role of the SIP as critical friend and also ensure all members of the school team are supported to move the school forward.
    I have met many different Ofsted inspectors in my teaching career, some of whom I he respected, others however that I felt were unfortunately totally out of touch of the reality of working in a school in an area of severe economic and social deprevation and the challenges facing staff working hard to raise attainment for pupils in such an area.
    Yes we should be accountable as a profession for what we do but I do not feel that the current inspection regime is necessarily the correct or most effective way of achieving this.
  15. bobbycatrules

    bobbycatrules New commenter

    I have lots of experience as a supply teacher, both in Primary and Secondary schools. I've been thinking that probably my judgments of schools are more accurate than OFSTED's since I get to compare many more schools- I may go up to 5 different schools per week, in a mix of challenging and well- performing schools. I get to see how these schools perform on an average day, not when the SMT and teachers are 'on show' for OFSTED.
    I find OFSTED's judgments often incorrect. A school I know well is in Special Measures (quite rightly), yet OFSTED has graded pupils' behaviour as 'Satisfactory'. This is just not possible at all- their behaviour is appalling by any sane person's standards. Also, other schools I have expected to go into SM have been graded 'good'. Maybe some Inspectors have been promoted 'out of the classroom' to where they can limit the damage they do to pupils as weak teachers, but certainly their professional judgments are somewhat questionable on many occasions.
    On the other hand- I'm a just lowly MPS teacher, so what do I know, hey?
  16. Practising is a verb is it not and therefore spelt with an s not a c in the middle? There goes your A*.
  17. Practising? With a c? No wonder inspectors lack credibility. Those who inspect are bound to be judged at least as harshly as those whom they inspect. A decent system wouild allow an inspector to teach a class which has not been satisfactorily taught (or only satisfactorily in OFSTED speak) to demonstrate how it should be done.
  18. As far as I'm aware, the regional inspection providers as part of their contract have to refresh their inspection workforce quite often. Pre 2005 there were about 3 times the number of inspectors there are now. Of the ones that are left, the majority I believe are recently retired headteachers of successful schools, serving LA senior advisers, serving heads and deputy heads of successful schools. My wife's school was recently inspected and the whole team were serving practitioners. I think this anecdodal thing about inspectors being out of touch is a legacy of the pre 2005 days where the vast teams included 'lay inspectors' who might well have been local businessmen, ex police officers or even the old dear who works in the local charity shop.
  19. This is an important thread because it raises many of the issues to do with the current inspection process. Ofsted is being reviewed at the present time. It is true that the process of inspection has lost some of the respect of schools over time. I hope that the review improves the process. It is important that it does.

    The first issue is that Ofsted is now looking hard at how schools cater for the underachieving groups of pupils within schools. They will find out the groups that form your intake and see how well each group does. It is fair that they do this because there are schools that put extra effort into such groups and ensure that they do as well as other groups. So if these groups don't do as well in the school they are inspecting then it is fair for them to make a comparison.

    The next thing about this thread is that it is challenging the credibility of inspectors. It is a while since I did inspections but I will say that it is a different job to teaching. I was a good teacher many years ago but I have since had many other more senior responsibilities since then. I think I did a good job as an inspector. It isn't realistic to say we should only accept being inspected by an Outstanding teacher. Were that Outstanding inspector to go through the channels to become an inspector - including senior leadership experience - then once again the complaint would be that they are no longer an Outstanding teacher.
    The important thing is that inspectors operate completely within the published code of conduct and that they can justify the decisions that the make on the basis of the evidence that they collect. They way to question their quality is to challenge their evidence - or show where they haven't stuck to their code of conduct. We do need to be a bit grown up about this.

    Having said this, I do think that current inspections are too brief and that inspectors need to spend more time looking at teaching and weighing up the school's own evidence. If it is shown that inspectors need more training or more guidance then they should get it.

    I have said before on this forum that schools themselves could in many cases do much more to collect their own evidence of current standards and teaching quality. The schools that do this rarely find inspections so unpredictable or pressurised.

Share This Page