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Why has there been a fall in the number of parents who trust Ofsted judgements?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    ‘The proportion of parents who trust Ofsted’s judgements of a school’s quality has fallen, a new survey has found.

    The YouGov survey, published by Ofsted today, found that 59 per cent of parents agreed that Ofsted provided a reliable measure of a school’s quality in 2017, compared to 66 per cent in 2016.

    Reasons given by parents for feeling that Ofsted information was unreliable were that the school was different during inspections, that inspections were too short to give meaningful information and that inspectors were not looking at the right things.’

    What are your views about the results of the YouGov poll? Do you think that Ofsted has lost its relevance as a valuable and reliable source of information? Do you think that parents are right to want no-notice inspections? How would you feel if your school was given half a day’s notice before an inspection took place? Would it really benefit schools if teachers have less time to worry and prepare for an Ofsted inspection?

  2. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    In my home town, there is a school which after several Oustandings in a row suddenly and without warning went into special measures. Nothing had changed, substantially. It was probably never truly 'Outstanding' - whatever that means, but probably didn't deserve special measures either. Parents with kids in the school knew they hadn't seen any deterioration in standards that would warrant such a downgrade so lost faith that Ofsed was any meaningful measure of how good a school is.

    Parents, teachers - and students for that matter - are perhaps looking for something else in a school which Ofsted either doesn't see or doesn't care about.

    You only have to read the thread here on comments made in observation to know what a monumental waste of time and money it all is.
    BetterNow and needabreak like this.
  3. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    My view is that this poll is a reflection of the wider mood of a society which is losing respect for any form of authority.

    Has Ofsted ever been a relevant, valuable and reliable source of information? Certainly for at least the last decade inspection judgements have been broadly predetermined by data before an inspector has ever set foot in the school.

    Short notice inspections have contributed greatly to the teacher workload issues as more and more schools attempt to run "Ofsted ready" all year round. Any sensible employee knows that this is not manageable or sustainable.
  4. install

    install Star commenter

    Some parents/ guardians have maybe realised that some Ofsted teams do not seem to know the school they are criticizing. Others maybe see the Ofsted grading system as a nonsense, especially when a grade can so easily be changed from a '1' to a '4' just three years later and so dramatically.

    It is also possible that they feel Ofsted does very little in real terms to support, aid and really care for the school community. Some might say: 'How many Ofsted Inspectors are prepared to live in our area for at least five years, and how many of them send their kids to our school to be educated?"
  5. lulu57

    lulu57 Lead commenter

    I agree with install.
    I think it's the lack of common sense that does it.
    I knew a school which got an outstanding grade for student behaviour, but it had some serious problems with a largish group of recalcitrant students - and the parents knew it. It undermined the validity of the whole report for them.
    I've also known two previously 'good' schools, which did a smashing job in hard circumstances and were appreciated by parents, but got RI when OFSTED visited.
    When the report goes against what is manifestly obvious to parents - or anyone who has regular contact with the school - OFSTED shoot themselves in the foot.
    phlogiston, install and nervousned like this.
  6. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Friends of mine became upset when their local school, which had always got 1s and 2s, recently decided to dissolve their Music department, and dropped Drama and German as subjects.

    Despite being left-leaning, they decided to send their kids private.
  7. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    Perhaps because to keep themselves "relevant" they keep changing the goal posts. A decade ago, everyone was pursuing that elusive 20-minutes-demonstrate-progress-window (mini-plenaries abounded!); then, a few years later, response to feedback was the latest Ofsted Holy Grail. Of course both these 'initiatives' or 'drives' (or latest wheeze, in my opinion) were built on spurious evidence of impact - but nobody seemed to care about that. Would parents - or anyone - believe that a school was no longer outstanding because a class were observed for 10-20 minutes and not all of the twenty-eight students made "progress" in that window? And when I say progress, I mean progress that is very evidently demonstrable. Even if that judgement is made about a class/teacher that achieves excellent results.

    Despite what they may claim publicly, Oftsed are all about the latest fashions in education (or, like the fashion world itself, recycled fashions). When a school is no-longer outstanding, what Oftsed mean is that the school isn't pursuing their latest criteria of what they consider outstanding to be: even if this is constantly changing. Logically, it's an absolute nonsense.

    At the moment, Oftsed have gone mad for core maths and English (at least at secondary). Last year, we (that is, English and maths teachers) were each observed several times throughout the day, were subject to two core-subject specific book scrutines; and both HoDs were thoroughly grilled. Ofsted weren't interested in any other subjects or middle leaders etc. So, if one were to draw conclusions from this inspection, to be outstanding means to be exemplary in maths and English (only).

    What I particularly hate about Ofsted is that they parachute into a school, make damning judgements, then leave. They are not invested in a school's place in a community in any way. They did this recently to a school I know in a Northern England city. It's a large inner-city secondary with a very difficult catchment area. The school struggles to recruit teachers. Most students are taught by non-qualified/supply etc. Ofsted went in last year, lambasted the school (of course - it would be hard for it to be 'good' in these circumstances). The few staff/SLT who were permanent and working hard for the students were thoroughly demoralised and many left, making things even worse for the school to turn itself around. It is already an academy, so can't be re-branded. This ties in to Wilshaw's 'context is irrelevant' approach that tried to refute that the make-up of a school's catchment is everything (rather than, say, the idelness of teachers which was his favourite caricature and easy to wag his finger at). How is this useful as a model for improving schools? Why can't the inspectors work in these schools for a sustained period of months (and years for monitoring) so they appreciate the uniqueness of the schools they visit. The cynic in me would say that it's a case of 'do as I day not as I do': they wouldn't be able to cut it as teachers....
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  8. Catgirl1964

    Catgirl1964 Occasional commenter

    To be ' Ofsted ready' is a ridiculous, highly stressful and unnecessary situation to be in. In a profession which is widely acknowledged to be stressful and results driven, this is an extra burden on staff. All schools have different students with different problems to deal with and, for Ofsted to attempt to compare one school with another is ludicrous.
  9. Benbamboo

    Benbamboo Occasional commenter

    A similar experience to our recent primary OfSTED, englishtt06

    The inspectors had already decided, based on the results of last year's year 6 sats, that our pupili premium children weren't making enough progress (they were meeting national expectations, but not progressing enough beyond that compared to other children). 88% of children achieved national expectations, way higher than both national and local schools, but the inspector had a bee in his bonnet about pupil premium and the scope was narrowed drastically.

    So, across 2 days the reading, writing and maths coordinators were grilled on pupil premium data and interventions. The only children observed were pupil premium children and the only subjects observed were reading, writing and maths.

    The result: we are now RI based on the results of 2 children last year and vague observations of less than 10% of our total intake. Nothing else mattered - we may as well have not taught foundation subjects for all OfSTED cared. Staff were demoralised and the inspectors swanned off to their next targets with a warning that we would be reinspected within 2 years.

    Linking to the original post question, many of our parents were confused and simply didn't see the school reflected in the ofsted report at all. They wanted to know why so many of the things we do daily were ignored and not taken into account. They have their impression of the school based on their child's experiences, their daily visits and discussions with staff and the progress they see in their children. When that doesn't corrolate with the formality and pedantry of the OfSTED report, they prefer to believe their own exeriences over the report thay don't understand.
    bevdex, phlogiston, Sally006 and 2 others like this.
  10. slick

    slick New commenter

    I would be interested to know how many Head teachers of schools that are RI or Special Measures are serving Ofsted Inspectors? It is good to have current colleagues within schools leading the inspection process, BUT if they are based predominantly in 'nice' schools, then what experience do they have of turning around 'disadvantaged' students (hate that term) who don't make the expected progress because they do not turn up to school, DESPITE every effort to engage and coerce (through fines) or alternative pathways... (we have not tried adoption as yet!!- joking)
  11. Taboo71

    Taboo71 New commenter

    I don't trust OFSTED's judgements full stop.

    My school has gone from 'outstanding' to 'RI'! Obviously no political agenda there then is there?
    ....wait a minute! Didn't the government declare that any school that Is 'RI' would be forced into academisation? I let you make your own minds up on that one.

    It's not the parents who disagree with OfSTEDs judgements but school staff also disagree with this political agenda into privatisation!
  12. claudette_A

    claudette_A New commenter


    This BBC article is a bit old but I have an inkling 3 years down the line Ofsted are still doing the same old same old; they didn't get rid of enough from the first round of "purging" **** inspectors and aren't hiring enough suitable ones too.

    It's been awfully quiet as well, isn't it about time a higher body comes in for "Ofsted inspector moderation", just as all teachers need to be marking at the same benchmark Ofsted inspectors need to be regularly checked for judging at the same standard - taste of their own medicine I say!
  13. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Sometimes it can change in a matter of months. Anyone recall the 'Trojan Horse' schools in Brum. All were outstanding or good. And then the bomb dropped and a quick re-inspection put them all into Special Measures even though some had only been inspected the term before!
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018

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