“Nothing is ever good enough, it would appear,” says Ofsted inspector who criticises “frightening” new regime

Janet Downs's picture
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Graham Lancaster, Ofsted inspector and Area Improvement Manager for the Essex Primary Heads Association, “hit out” at the new Ofsted regime, reports the TES. The inspector said, “The bar has been raised and it is really focused on pupil achievement as it never has been before. There has been more flexibility for inspectors in the past, I think, to take account of context, to take account of current data.” He expressed concern about the number of Essex schools that had gone from good to inadequate saying, “I don’t believe that schools have got worse since January.”

Mr Lancaster commented that “lack of trust [in teachers]” and “the continuing raising of the bar” triggered damaging headlines and was contributing to plummeting morale of teachers. “Nothing is ever good enough, it would appear.”

Since the new Ofsted framework began the percentage of schools judged inadequate has risen from 6% of schools inspected in 2011 to 13% in the first five months of 2012. Some of these judgements are disputed: Caistor Yarborough Academy, Lincolnshire has formally complained to Ofsted about its inspection and Sinfin Community School, Derby, is considering the same step. Downhills School, Haringey, was judged to be failing only months after a previous Ofsted inspection reported that the school was improving thanks to support from the local authority and a “core of experienced senior staff with high levels of expertise”. Now, thanks to the rushed second inspection, the head of this team of experienced staff has resigned, his career and health ruined. Both the Downhills inspections had the same lead inspector, Kekshan Salaria. Quite how she was able to overturn her previous judgement so quickly is unclear but such rapid reversals bring Ofsted into disrepute.

It is ever more difficult to regard Ofsted as an impartial inspectorate dedicated to supporting school improvement. It is increasingly being viewed as an arm of the Department for Education especially now that Michael Gove’s favourite, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has become Chief Inspector of Schools. Sir Michael is on record as saying that a sign of low staff morale is a sign that he is doing his job well.

The NAHT voiced concerns about Ofsted at its recent conference. So did other teacher unions. But it seems that it’s not only teachers who distrust Ofsted – Graham Lancaster can’t be the only inspector with misgivings. Perhaps it’s time for teachers and concerned inspectors to call time on Ofsted.

 
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Ricky-Tarr's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 08:45

“Nothing is ever good enough, it would appear.”

In almost every other area of human endeavour from business, via medicine, to sport or the arts there is a constant search for improvement and a striving for perfection. That's the norm. Why should teaching be different?

You would have thought that schools that are not doing as well by their kids as comparable schools elsewhere would want to be helped to do better.

On the wider point - the new inspection framework looks at 4 things, as opposed to 27 (or whatever it was). Obviously, with inspectors more tightly focused, there is going to be a change in the pattern of outcomes. Now, the emphasis is on the quality of teaching, the way formative assessment data are (or aren't) used to inform teaching practice and ensure progress, and on behaviour. The schools that are found wanting are - time and again - either the ones that collect data but don't use it properly, or the ones where teaching is poor, or the ones where good teaching is blown out of the water by low level disruption.

The inspection criteria are hardly a state secret. So why don't these schools just meet them?

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 10:15

"In almost every other area of human endeavour from business, via medicine, to sport or the arts there is a constant search for improvement and a striving for perfection. That’s the norm. Why should teaching be different?"
It isn't. Teachers are always striving for improvement. The children in front of them who constantly need them pull many to give more of themselves than they thought they had to give.

"You would have thought that schools that are not doing as well by their kids as comparable schools elsewhere would want to be helped to do better."
They do and they welcome appropriate support. Special measures if a hugely destructive process designed to break staff, not improve them.

It should be the case that where results are below average, inspectors search to see if the reasons why this is the case are real and justified or not. Now it seems they just turn up with an agenda to fail the school. They go through the motions of doing a real inspection (visiting lessons and judging them all satisfactory or inadequate without actually looking at them), systematically fail to report all the things the school does well, fail the school on multiple counts including the head and the governors so that there is no-one left with any credibility to challenge the inspection and leave. Then the hell begins. Eventually all the staff learn to tell the inspectors whatever it takes to get rid of them as they learn they have no interest in reality apart from using it to condemn the school wherever possible.

"The inspection criteria are hardly a state secret. So why don’t these schools just meet them?"
In secondaries in challenging areas this is because they can't appoint the key middle management as the career expectancy of such a person is so short and their quality of life so low.

More generally schools yeargroups with specific problems and years when they are training up new staff or dealing with exceptional circumstances.

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 09:45

An example of an Essex community primary that has been downgraded from Good to Inadequate is Thundersley Primary School in Benfleet.

In 2008, 80% of pupils achieved level 4 in English and Maths at KS2.
by 2011, that had dropped to 56%.

The school has a low SEN (2.9%), a tiny (1.3%) EAL, and a below average FSM (10%). KS1 is broadly average. Behaviour is pretty good and attendance isn't so very bad as to cause alarm.

So, how does Ofsted explain the decline?

At the time of the last inspection, attainment in English and mathematics was broadly average, but since then it has declined.... There are weaknesses in the marking and feedback given to pupils.... middle leaders are not consistently holding staff to account for the
pupils’ progress and the quality of the feedback and guidance that is given to pupils. The curriculum is broad, balanced and generally well matched to pupils’ needs. However, insufficient opportunities exist for pupils to develop their literacy and numeracy skills in different subjects. ..... here are still some inconsistencies in teachers’ use of assessment, planning and marking that hinder more rapid progress. In addition, where teachers provide helpful feedback to the pupils, they do not always follow it up to ensure the pupils have put it to good use.


So, in short, there are no huge external issues. What needs to be done is basic good practice - good teaching, using assessment properly, having a proper marking policy, ensuring the kids know what they need to do to improve, having a whole school literacy approach...... this isn't rocket science.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 10:16

Ricky that's the standard cut and paste crap used to fail a school.
Can't you see that yet? It's not rocket science.

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 11:06

Rebecca

You are so blinded by your prejudices about Ofsted. Have you actually read Thundersley's Ofsted report? It certainly bears no relationship to what you describe.

For instance, you say:

...systematically fail to report all the things the school does well

Yet the Thundersley report is very positive about a heck of a lot of things the school is doing well.

You say:

...fail the school on multiple counts including the head and the governors so that there is no-one left with any credibility to challenge the inspection ...

Yet this report is very complimentary about the head and her/his steps to improve and quite complimentary about the governors too.

You say:

It should be the case that where results are below average, inspectors search to see if the reasons why this is the case are real and justified or not. Now it seems they just turn up with an agenda to fail the school.

Yet, here they really are zeroing-in on what the school is getting wrong and making helpful suggestions for improvement.

You say:

...that’s the standard cut and paste crap ...

Yet you offer no alternative explanation of why attainment has so steeply declined when there are no obvious social factors to consider, when the KS1 position and the EYFS look healthy etc.

Ofsted looked for the answers in the actual basic approaches to teaching & learning at KS2 and found the school wasn't doing what most good primaries are doing. That's Ofsted doing its job.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 11:18

I have a very strong opinion that in its interaction with state schools Ofsted should be obliged to the same standards and laws which are designed to ensure best practice which all other inspectors and regulators are obliged to instead of it being totally unaccountable.
You describe this as me being "blinded by your prejudices about Ofsted".

"Have you actually read Thundersley’s Ofsted report?"
Nope. I just recognise a standard cut and past Ofsted passage.

"Yet you offer no alternative explanation of why attainment has so steeply declined when there are no obvious social factors to consider, when the KS1 position and the EYFS look healthy etc."
The school went through substantial changes during the last year for which there is data. There is no 'post change' data yet. What's the point of labelling the school 'inadequate' this term when there will be data available by next term to allow a more coherent judgement to be made?

"That’s Ofsted doing its job."
Why is it Ofsted's job, as defined by law, to work in the interests of itself and of politicians rather than to work in the interests of children and society?

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 12:43

Rebecca

...instead of it being totally unaccountable.

I'm afraid that's just the sort of intemperate statement that led me to say you were blinded by prejudice. Ofsted is by no means 'totally unaccountable'. The Chief Inspector is accountable to a Board, chaired by the Labour peer Sally Morgan and including the education academic Geoff Whitty and Alan Steer, a distinguished former headteacher. Ofsted is also accountable to the Government, Parliament (including via pretty detailed oversight by the Education Select Committee) and to the public through reporting mechanisms.

Ofsted's role and structure has been much debated in the past few years and great changes have been made by Government with select committee and general parliamentary support.

The idea that Ofsted can do what it likes and is accountable to no-one is total tosh.

I know you have a bee in your bonnet about the Hampton Principles, but the extent to which those principles should have to apply to inspections of public sector bodies (such as state schools) was the subject of long debate and a robust public consultation just a few years ago. Your position is not a foolish or unreasonable one, but the fact is that it is not the one that prevailed. Parliament settled on a compromise position that requires Ofsted to "take account" of the principles in a general sort of way but falls short of requiring them to apply them in the same way as elsewhere. That, of course, may change in the distant future, but meanwhile Ofsted has to abide by the law as it is, not as you wish it to be. This was democratically decided upon and your habit of painting those who disagree with you on this subject (such as senior Ofsted directors) as villains and crooks is totally out of order.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 13:38

Ofsted's website says, "We report directly to Parliament and we are independent and impartial." However, that independence and impartiality is being called into question. This isn't a recent phenomenon - TES reported in January 2011 that the number of formal complaints by schools about Ofsted inspections had doubled. That figure, of course, didn't include complaints made by other people, via MPs for example. In 2010 TES published an article expressing concerns about mutating Ofsted frameworks - since then the framework has changed again.

But it's not just the changing goalposts. There are the dubious Ofsted judgements such as the one for Downhills which contradicted a judgement made a few months before and the feeling that the second Downhills inspection was brought forward at the behest of the Secretary of State. There's the downgrading of schools previously judged good, or even outstanding, even though they are carrying on with the type of teaching that was praised in an earlier inspection. There's the appointment of Sir Michael Wilshaw whose "bully boy" tactics have been criticised by heads' organisations. And now we have an Ofsted inspector openly expressing concern about the new framework.

Time for a vote of no confidence in Ofsted, I think.

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/about-us

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6068007

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6038082

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2012/03/%e2%80%9cbully-boy%e2%80%9...

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 16:06

There’s the appointment of Sir Michael Wilshaw whose “bully boy” tactics have been criticised by heads’ organisations.

The innovations in the inspection framework introduced by Sir Michael Wilshaw were all mooted long prior to his appointment. Some came out of the Education Select Committee's 2010 report, others from the DfE's changes in inspection policy. Wilshaw introduced these changes in response to policy shifts democratically arrived at. Calling him a "bully boy" and even personalizing the changes as "Wilshaw's tactics" etc. is empty rhetoric. Ofsted has done precisely what Parliament asked it to. A vote of confidence would be more appropriate.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 15:08

"The Chief Inspector is accountable to a Board, chaired by the Labour peer Sally Morgan and including the education academic Geoff Whitty and Alan Steer, a distinguished former headteacher."
Many thanks for this Ricky, I didn't know. I shall write to them all personally and ask them why they are allowing Ofsted to go into schools, fail them and put them into special measures without any proper inspection taking place (and failing the head and the governors as well to ensure no-one can complain), what powers they have to identify cases where this is happening and prevent it happening and why the are choosing not to make use of those powers.

"Ofsted is also accountable to the Government, Parliament (including via pretty detailed oversight by the Education Select Committee) and to the public through reporting mechanisms."
It's accountable to Michael Gove. It can be scrutinised by the Education select committee but the experience of this government surely shows it it not accountable to it and it can ignore the findings of reports such as Graham Stuart's review.

"The idea that Ofsted can do what it likes and is accountable to no-one is total tosh."
That's true - it's accountable to Michael Gove. It may seem like it's accountable in other ways but in practice it no longer is. That's very obvious by what's going on.

"Parliament settled on a compromise position that requires Ofsted to “take account” of the principles in a general sort of way but falls short of requiring them to apply them in the same way as elsewhere."
Ofsted does precisely the opposite of what the principles recommend.
For example the Hampton principles mean that the categorisation of quality of provision is considered to be unacceptable as this militates against healthy diversity, innovation and appropriate professional freedom and compromises regulators duties in reporting to government regarding the state of the organisation they regulate as they will be shown practice in the pre-defined categories rather than what's actually going on. Would you like to explain to my how Ofsted are 'taking account' of this principle Ricky?

The Hampton principles dictate that inspectors should only identify cases where there is 'cause for protection' and that any action taken must be related to the specific issue which has been identified and proportionate to it.
Michael Gove has decided that 'no cause for concern' is a 'cause for protection' and that where targets are not met in one subject for very obvious reasons, schools should be put into special measures, the senior and middle management cleared out and the most able teachers placed in capability, demoted and generally bullied until they collapse with stress.
Please explain to me how this is 'taking account of the Hampton Priniciples Ricky'.

"Your position is not a foolish or unreasonable one, but the fact is that it is not the one that prevailed."
It is not one which was properly heard Ricky. Graham Stuart recommended Ofsted invite me in to discuss my concerns about what was actually happening on the ground during the consultation you described but they same Ofsted director who was so welcoming of such a suggestion in public made it absolutely clear to me in private consultation that such points of view would not be considered and I would not be allowed to discuss them. But you could of course prove me wrong by naming a single MP who feels they were properly advised regarding the purpose and function of the legislative and regulatory reform act and its implications for state education during the relevant consultations?

"This was democratically decided upon"
No it wasn't Ricky. It was forced through in ignorance and without proper consultation or consideration of what it actually meant.

"This was democratically decided upon and your habit of painting those who disagree with you on this subject (such as senior Ofsted directors) as villains and crooks is totally out of order."
Why the heck are Ofsted employing directors on massive salaries who have no experience in either inspection or regulation or education and appear to be there entirely to preserve the interests or Ofsted and politicians and to prevent there being proper debate about what is actually going on Ricky?
When the Ofsted legal department contacted me to say I had been misled by the BBC reporting that Ofsted was subject to Judicial Review they were very friendly. I proactively took that opportunity to link them to the other comments I had made about Ofsted on the internet and to ask them if they had any objections to any of them. They did not. It has always be and remains my intention to describe the situation correctly.

What's your objective in trying to argue that Ofsted should be kept outside the standard laws of inspection and regulation Ricky. Why do you think that's a good idea?

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 16:46

Rebecca

I shall write to them all personally and ask them why they are allowing Ofsted to go into schools, fail them and put them into special measures without any proper inspection taking place (and failing the head and the governors as well to ensure no-one can complain)

If you - and more to the point, teachers involved - really believe this is happening, then there is something that can be done to find out if that is the case.

All session observations or subject leader meetings etc that happen during an inspection have to be recorded by inspectors on Evidence Forms (EFs). EFs contain personal data and so are discoverable by the teacher concerned under the Data Protection Act (possibly for a small fee). The rubric states quite clearly that any grades or evaluations entered on the EF must be supported by appropriate evidence/analysis recorded on the EF.

It’s accountable to Michael Gove.

Gove does not micromanage Ofsted. He sets the overall policy framework and Ofsted itself decides how it is to deliver within that. The relationship is 'arm's length' and akin to that which obtains between the SoS for CMO&S and the Arts Council.

Recent examples: Gove asked for inspections to be simpler, for them to be more focused on underperforming schools etc. Ofsted produced a new framework and inspection cycle meeting those policy objectives.

..Would you like to explain to my how Ofsted are ‘taking account’ of this principle Ricky?

Ofsted is not required to take account of Hampton principles except when inspecting/regulating private sector providers. The Hampton Principles were designed for the regulation of the private sector. Ofsted's exemptions and the arguments for/against were all well rehearsed during the consultation which began in the autumn of 2008 and in the (Labour) government's response and subsequent statutory instrument.

If you really want to understand this you could start with "GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE CONSULTATION ON EXTENDING THE COVERAGE OF THE REGULATORS’COMPLIANCE CODE AND THE
PRINCIPLES OF GOOD REGULATION"

of May 2009 and then work backwards through the consultation papers.

Why the heck are Ofsted employing directors on massive salaries who have no experience in either inspection or regulation or education

Another of your wild inaccuracies. The three directors who have any responsibility for schools inspection are:

Sue Gregory - who has twelve years experience as an HMI.

Matthew Coffee - who had a long career in 16-19 provision before Ofsted.

Richard Brookes - formerly Senior Policy Adviser at the Department for Children, Schools and Families, and before that Associate Director at the Institute of Public Policy Research (a left-leaning think-tank) where he was responsible for education. (His current job description as Director, Strategy is responsibilty for the data that supports inspections, for the publication of Ofsted’s official statistics, and for generating critical insight from the evidence base. His background would seem appropriate for that role.)

It has always be and remains my intention to describe the situation correctly.

Then do so.

leonard james's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 22:53

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 18:34

This is all very interesting Ricky. I shall find and read the report as soon as I can.

In the meantime can you explain why, when Michael Gove came to power with his mantra of increasing professional freedom, he chose not to implement the standards of inspection and regulation which are designed to allow appropriate professional freedom, innovation and diversity and instead he made Ofsted far more punative, less consistent and more destructive - in complete contradiction to these practices and principles?

If you want to strip the issues away from Hampton, you could go back to this, which I wrote before I knew about Hampton:
https://www.ncetm.org.uk/community/thread/73884?post=73884
I have been asking nicely for ever such a long time despite the cost to my reputation and career of doing so.




So we have 2 out of 6 directors with experience in education. (No about of SPADism counts Ricky). Have any of those actually been inspected by Ofsted themselves? How many of the 6 properly understand Inspection and Regulation. We both know that at least one of the three you have mentioned doesn't. Do you have any insight into the level of professional experience required for someone to be even an entry level inspector in other regulatory bodies and also huge amount of training they go through in the practice of inspection and regulation, the principles and the law associated with it?



So - take a completely hypothetical case.
Say a group of inspectors visted a CofE secondary school with a prejudice against Christian schools and an assumption that they must be homophobic places. Say this was one of their three concerns about the school - the other being that results in one major subject were below par and that in the pre-Ofsted survey some concerns were raised about the head by a very honest staff as he seemed stressed and withdrawn with worry.

So - those hypothetical Ofsted inspectors walk round the yard looking for the disaffected kids, pick on the one who looks like he has gender issues and get him to agree that he feels homophobically bullied.

However when they take this issue to the head in one of their meetings the head can readily identify the child - a child know to have serious gender orientation issues who tends to bring bullying on themselves and can explain in detail how tolerance is taught across the school.

He can explain how particular staffing issues, illness and issues with recruitment have caused the dip in results in one subject and how they are now being addressed. He also explains how he has been seriously stressed at the thought of this inspection becuase of these staffing issues and how a positive inspection outcome will solve that. He then goes on to detail the impressive and outstanding achievements of the school.

Ofsted fail the school on the grounds of the one subject, the homophobia and they fail the head and the governing body.

Are you saying there are transcripts of the meetings which can be used by that head to prove what happened? If so who deals with this outside Ofsted? Could you give me an example of a case where a situation like this (where the school has been failed on multiple counts including the head and the governing body and there is no effective LA in place) has been successfully challenged please Ricky?

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 07:02

Leonard - thanks for reminding us of the Southern Cross collapse. It should serve as a warning to those who want to see private firms profiting from the provision of services to vulnerable people which, of course, includes children and their education.

Concerns about Sally Morgan's appointment to Ofsted were discussed on LSN at the time of her appointment (see second link).

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2011/06/what-lessons-can-be-learne...

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2011/02/sally-morgan-to-continue-a...

Park Ranger's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 18:50

"If you want to strip the issues away from Hampton, you could go back to this, which I wrote before I knew about Hampton:

https://www.ncetm.org.uk/community/thread/73884?post=73884

I have been asking nicely for ever such a long time despite the cost to my reputation and career of doing so."

You do realise that a conversation requires at least one other participant?

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 19:08

Rebecca


You are once again engaging in that borderline deceitfulness about which Andy had cause to chide you not long ago. I won't let you get away with it.

So we have 2 out of 6 directors with experience in education.

As you very well know, Ofsted also inspects children's services and childminders as well as schools. Two more of its 6 directors are former heads of scoial services or children's services in LAs.

So that's 2 schools specialists, 2 social care specialists, a Finance Director (with a background in....er...finance) and Richard Brookes, Ofsted's in-house number-cruncher/policy wonk, who has a background as...(blow me down) a policy wonk. Can't see the problem there. And Sir Michael Wilshaw himself has...ahem.... some measure of experience in teaching, no?

Now that's the truth. And it's a long way from the impression you seek to convey with less than totally fair & honest phrases such as "2 out of 6 directors with experience in education" or "who have no experience in either inspection or regulation or education".

As to your hypothetical - I'm afraid it completely demolishes your case. Under the inspection framework introduced by the last Labour government, there was a system of 'limiting judgments' whereby a school that was found deficient in promoting equality or combating racial or homophobic bullying was classified inadequate however good its teaching, leadership, attainment etc. were. So, conceivably, a school could score a 1 in every other heading, but if it got a 4 on homophobia it would be graded overall as 4 ..... inadequate.

That was how it was under Labour.

Gove/Wilshaw have abolished the limiting judgments system.
They have also abolished 23 of the 27 headings schools used to be marked on. They have made it less punitive and unreasonable, not more. Your homophobia example wouldn't happen now.

leonard james's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 08:19

Hasn't Sally got something to do with vodafone as well?

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 19:11

:-) Not everyone's prepared to chuck their career away Park Ranger.
I did of course write directly to Mr Gove too.

Got an nice reply from some secretary thanking me for my interest in education :-)

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 19:20

Fascinating. So of course that would never happen now and the ispector simply delete the homophobic from 'homophobic bullying and harassment' and so it looked like bullying and harassment was rife at the school. Would they Ricky?

Anyway, I shall find and read the report which explains why the practices which are outlawed for private and publics schools as being damaging practice are considered to be appropriate for state schools.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 21:59

“GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE CONSULTATION ON EXTENDING THE COVERAGE OF THE REGULATORS’COMPLIANCE CODE AND THE
PRINCIPLES OF GOOD REGULATION”

So what did the government say?
Well the report said that five of the seven regulators that would be covered by the Code and the Principles welcomed the proposals that they be obliged to the five principals of good regulation and raised no objections (for all their inspection work Ricky - not just private and third sector work).

However Ofsted and the Audit commission objected. Regarding inspection in education - it seems only two bodies responded - the NASUWT and Ofsted - which sounds very off the ball for bodies in education. I wonder how that happened?

(summary of sections 1 and 2. Now we move to section 4 - the other relevant section)

Strangely Ofsted objected because they had a belief that 'there is a potential conflict between the Code and our statutory purpose and the legal framework in which we operated.
Now you and I know that isn't true, don't we Ricky, as you've pointed out that Ofsted's previous statutes were set up to defer to any future law on inspection and regulation. So there would only be a conflict if Ofsted were not legally obliged to this code in which case their earlier statutes would prevail. So why did Ofsted not make this clear? Why did then not welcome the change? They also expressed concern about there being a difference in the regulation and inspection of different types of school - which seems a reasonable concern.

The government responded thus:
"The Government recognises the concerns expressed by Ofsted and the Audit commission, but believes that none of these concerns justify their exemption from the scope of the Code and the Principles."

But they then make a mistake - they think the application would not override the other laws. But it would - wouldn't it. You said so Ricky. Do you remember?

And in the end they decide

That Ofsted will only be legally obliged to the code in respect of its work with public and private schools, but it could voluntarily extend the standards of the Code and the Principles to the exercise of its functions affecting the public sector. So there need not be two different approaches.

The clear intention of the government was that Ofsted should adopt the law entirely but buy failing to obligate it to it left the inspection of state schools wide open to operating in the interests of the regulator and politicians, because the original law allows this and, while it could so easily have been overwritten it hasn't been.

I ask you again Ricky.
Why do you think this is a good thing?

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 22:10

I suppose you have to actually talk to some of these people to realise how little they know about the impact of inspection on schools Ricky. They extent to which they are deceiving themselves into believing what it suits them to believe is obscene. If they had substantial relevant training on inspection and regulation or experience of being on the receiving end of 7 external inspections a years the level of ignorance the demonstrate would not be possible.

Are you seriously trying to suggest that Sir Michael Wilshaw knows anything about inspection and regulation apart from what Ofsted have told him?

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 08:53

"You do realise that a conversation requires at least one other participant?"
Ibrahim Mohammed M turned up to help me out with this one: :-)
http://www.linkedin.com/groups/TOP-TRUMPS-State-Education-in-126310.S.69...

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 08:53

ooops, sorry - that post above was a second reply to Park Ranger.

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 18:27

Some of you may remember Martin Field's post from a couple of months back about what he called "Hypothetical community College" - a school where Martin teaches and is also a parent.

Just before the school was to become an academy, Ofsted arrived. It was rumoured that special measures would follow. Academy conversion was cancelled.

Here's a link to that post:

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2012/04/what-sort-of-academy-now/

Well, now the Ofsted report is finally out on the school's website.

No need for the 'hypothetical' stuff now. Neale-Wade Community College is - despite the brilliant new(ish) head (and even Ofsted acknowledges that Olympian Jason Wing is the bee's knees) - pretty much a basket-case.

This is one of those 'community schools' always defended on this site. It's possible conversion was attacked on an earlier thread -

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2011/12/i-dont-want-the-school-whe...

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 18:29

.... and the missing link:

http://www.neale-wade.net/blog/?p=3704

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 06/06/2012 - 22:04

It's often the case that people are trying to find reasons to explain why good schools are suddenly getting 44444 ratings and, in many cases, horrendous reports that bear no relation to reality. If those involved know how hard everyone is working and that it is basically a good schools which will be damaged rather than improved by being catagorised as being inadequate, they have the right to try and work out why they are being labelled as being failing.

People think Michael Gove has an agenda in failing them - that he wants to achieve something specific by doing so. Clearly it isn't going to be the improvement of the schools. So what is it?

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 08:18

horrendous reports that bear no relation to reality

Rebecca, you keep making these unsubstantiated allegations. So, show me just 2 schools that have got a bad report on Wilshaw's watch despite having attainment levels above the national and LA average and pupil progress in Maths & English comfortably above the expected levels of progress for their cohorts. Just two.

My hunch is that you will struggle to find one. Every special measures decision I've seen in the past few months has related to a school where either attainment or pupil progress is disappointing within its context, usually both.

That suggests that the Ofsted judgments really do relate to realities on the ground.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 08:36

"My hunch is that you will struggle to find one."

I'm not looking for any. As a mathematician I understand that half the schools will be below average and that this is unavoidable. I can count Ricky.

Schools with challenging catchments are likely to achieve below average results. It's not appropriate to label them as being failing schools because of this.

Forensic inspection by credible and experienced inspectors is needed to identify whether there are substantial problems at the school which the leadership is not addressing or not. What's actually going instead is as an absolute disgrace.


Ricky-Tarr's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 10:09

As a mathematician I understand that half the schools will be below average and that this is unavoidable. I can count Ricky.

Err.... I'm not a mathematician but surely that would only be true if by 'average' we meant 'median' and if the data set were made up of schools. But when discussing performance data we don't usually deal in medians and the data set is made up of students, not schools. And those students are unevenly distributed in schools of different sizes.

Indeed, when we talk about 'LA average' - we don't really mean average at all - neither mean nor median. It's just a lazy shorthand for
"percentage achieving 5 X A*-C GCSEs (or equivalent) including English and maths GCSEs".

So, no - it isn't unavoidable that half of schools will be below that line. By way of illustration:

Take a borough with four secondaries, each with a KS4 cohort of 100 where the headline target results were:

School A- 100%
School B-100%
School C-100%
School D- 0%

The LA figure would be 75% and only 25% of schools in the borough would be below it.

(If I have got this wrong, please correct my workings in red pen and make clear what steps I need to take to improve.)

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 10:35

accepted *giggles* :-)

Have you come up with any reasons whatsoever why Ofsted shouldn't conform with Hampton in their dealings with state schools Ricky? I think earlier you said it was because this was discussed under that last government and it was concluded that they shouldn't. Who told you that? Ofsted? :-)

Richard Brooks made it clear to me that he is personally against Hampton but I never understood why he is.

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 06:53

Ricky is correct in saying that the framework changes were mooted before Sir Michael Wilshaw was appointed. He refers to an Education Select Committee Report but unfortunately provides no link. I presume he is referring to the one below and I give the link as a courtesy to readers.

However, pointing out that the changes were discussed before Sir Michael Wilshaw was appointed in no way cancels out criticism of what have been described by the NAHT as Wilshaw's "bully-boy" tactics (see link below).

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmeduc/570/57...

http://www.naht.org.uk/welcome/comment/key-topics/inspections-and-accoun...

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 08:05

...in no way cancels out criticism of what have been described by the NAHT as Wilshaw’s “bully-boy” tactics

Thank you Janet for the NAHT link. It's very helpful as an object lesson in the smear tactics of the unions. Let's take what Sir Michael Wilshaw actually said to the 100 Group and set it against the paraphrase used by Mike Curtis of NAHT.

Sir Michael Wilshaw:Being a headteacher is all about being the lone warrior, fighting for righteousness, fighting the good fight..

....now the NAHT version:

Mike Curtis:Are we going to stand around and let Wilshaw get away with what he’s saying? He’s saying we should be lone heroes who beat everyone in our schools into submission.

leonard james's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 08:22

Oh come on the lone warrior speech was a PR disaster.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 08:28

There are various interpretations of the role of a good head Ricky.

In his retirement speech, a great head teachers I worked for talked about the role being about balancing forces - giving people as much freedom as he could while ensuring co-ordination when it was necessary (he used the metaphor of having the job of driving a team of unbroken stallions - clearly referring to his heads of department) He talked about the semi-permeable membrane model of headship where the head is responsible for intelligently filtering the forces from outside and from within.

This is the model of devolved power and is an excellent model for headship.

Michael Wilshaw has a different model for headship which is also appropriate in some circumstances. It's not appropriate that he should be dictating which model should apply. As an entry level inspector he should be sensitive to the wide variety of good practice and as chief inspector such comments are totally unacceptable.

On the ground it really does seem to be the case that highly intelligent heads in challenging schools are being rated 'unsatisfactory' but lead inspectors with no leadership experience and no experience in challenging schools who have seen a video of Mossbourne and are out to fail any school which doesn't feel like that. Sir Michael should have clearly stated that Mossbourne is not an appropriate model for averagely funded schools and he has not done so - seemingly in the interests of his own vanity of making people believe Mossbourne is an averagely funded school and anyone could turn their schools into it if they were as brilliant as him.

His comments about teaching not being stressful were absolutely appalling.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-18025202

He's discredited himself and he should go.

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 08:39

Thanks, Leonard for reminding me of the "Pale Rider" comparison. Perhaps "bully boy" could be changed to "buffoon". Behind every successful head is a group of people (teachers, support staff, parents) whose efforts make the school a success. A successful head enthuses staff not shoots them up. And the religious language has a fundamentalist ring to it. It speaks volumes that Ricky should dismiss the NAHT's unwillingness to go along with such rhetoric as "smear tactics of the unions".

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6070585

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 13:55

As an entry level inspector ...

He's not "entry level". Wilshaw had ten years experience in schools inspection as an inspector & additional inspector earlier in his career.

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 15:04

PR disaster for whom?

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 15:00

Yes Janet, smear is the right word.

Since you posted a link to the TES report on the Wilshaw speech which the NAHT representative distorted, I hope you took careful note of the date.

The speech was made almost a year before Wilshaw became head of Ofsted and eight months prior to Michael Gove putting his name forward to Parliament as a candidate.

So to misrepresent this speech as being a manifesto for bullying being put forward as official policy by the head of Ofsted is downright dishonest. Rebecca even goes on about the impropriety of the Ofsted head prescribing the kinds of management schools should have etc. and says it's a resigning matter!

Whether you agree or disagree with what he said, you should at least remember that Wilshaw was just one headteacher addressing his peers. He had no idea he would become head of Ofsted. In fact, he was expecting to retire.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 15:16

I didn't say he was. I said his understanding of appropriate behaviour for an inspector was appalling for an entry level inspector.

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 15:27

You said:

As an entry level inspector he should be sensitive to the wide variety of good practice and as chief inspector such comments are totally unacceptable.

What you meant might be something different.

But, in any case, he wasn't chief inspector when he said what he said. The speech was made almost a year before he went to Ofsted and long before he knew he would be going. So "such comments are totally unacceptable" has no place. He wasn't talking about Ofsted, expressing Ofsted policy or anything to do with Ofsted.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 16:13

I said he should go when he came out with all the guff about teachers not knowing what stress is because it was so out of touch with the reality of what staff go through in special measures and relentlessly trying to avoid it.

I didn't say anything negative about him until then.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 09:09

So Ricky - to summarise regarding Ofsted:

Under the Tories it was decided after consultation that it should be configured with a local voluntaristic structure.

But someone swapped the vote to midnight on the night before Ascot and slipped in an amendment to make it precisely the opposite of what the consultation had decided it should be and it was created with the potential to be a political tool which politicians could use to drive very narrow agendas at the expense of overall quality.

Then Labour developed Hampton and concluded Ofsted should be obliged to it for all its actions. But some how they felt it was only necessary to make this a legal obligation in the case of public and private schools as Ofsted had themselves said it was inappropriate to run two different systems for different types of schools. At this time it was clear that Ofsted were moving in the direction of implementing Hampton for all their practice.

Under Gove, however Ofsted have gone in precisely the opposite direction to Hampton in key aspects of their practice with State schools despite his rhetoric of 'increasing professional freedom' and his massive consultation over the future of Ofsted.

Let's face it Ricky - that consultation over Ofsted should simply have concluded 'An order to the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act (2006) should be obliging Ofsted to it for all its activities'.
Job done. Then if Ofsted were behaving inappropriately the standard law for inspection and regulation could be used to sort that out instead of it all being up to Michael Gove and Sally Morgan to sort out.

Of course it could still be done very rapidly. Who on earth would object? Why would anyone object?

Why do you think this shouldn't be done Ricky?

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 12:17

Rebecca

I have no strong, personal view on the matter. It is not a subject I'm much interested in. Some of my elders and betters, however, do have views and I occasionally squirrel them away in a bottom drawer in case I come across someone like you. So here, in no particular order, and not in any way marshalled in support of any policy case, are some of the contents of that bottom drawer:

* Philip Hampton's 2005 report was commissioned with a view to reducing the burdens on business created by regulatory systems. It was not intended or designed to govern inspectorates of public services in the public sector.

* Some of the principles explicitly acknowledge the above, e.g. Regulators should recognise that a key element of their activity will be to allow, or even encourage, economic progress and only intervene where there is a clear case for protection and one cannot/should not just cut out the bit about economic progress and abbreviate this as Regulators should ...only intervene where there is a clear case for protection as this sleight of hand robs the principle of context, purpose and validity.

* As Ruth Deech said of the Hampton Principles: "they are very business oriented with no hint in them of how they might apply to the regulation of the professions, or say, higher education."

* More or less overlapping with Hampton, there were a number of other reports on public sector regulation which put forward different principles (some arguably more appropriate). Among these were: the Macrory report, Regulatory Justice: Making Sanctions Effective (2006) and The Audit Commission report, The Future of Regulation in the Public Sector (2006).

*In 2007, the government legislated to regulate the legal profession. This took the form of the Legal Services Act 2007. The Legal Services Board, the regulator,was required to take on board the Hampton principles but also “any other principle appearing to it to represent the best regulatory practice” and another 14 or 15 principles particular to the legal profession. The LSB had wide discretion whether to give precedence to Hampton or any of the other principles in case of conflict.

* Ofsted is both a "regulator' and an "inspectorate" and Hampton may not always allow both roles to be most effectively discharged.

* Ofsted has certain statutory duties which may conflict with bits of Hampton.

* In any case, compulsion is not necessary because, where appropriate, government 7 Ofsted act within "the spirit of Hampton" already.

Examples of how government/Ofsted are doing this;

That regulators should use comprehensive risk assessment to concentrate resources on the areas that need them most

- reducing frequency of inspections for well performing schools, concentrating on underperformers.

Regulators should be accountable for the efficiency and effectiveness of their activities, while remaining independent in the decisions they take

- maintaining institutional independence of Ofsted from DfE.

No inspection should take place without a reason</i.

Duty to inspect laid down in statute.

Businesses should not have to give unnecessary information, nor give the same piece of information twice

- scrapping self evaluation form/lightening paperwork load.

Those who break the regulations should be identified quickly and face proportionate sanctions

- special measures.

Regulators should provide authoritative, accessible advice easily and cheaply

- more publications and guidance on website and advice direct to schools

Regulators should recognise that a key element of their activity will be to allow, or even encourage, economic progress and only intervene where there is a clear case for protection

- focus on underperformance and low attainment.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 15:59

"Philip Hampton’s 2005 report was commissioned with a view to reducing the burdens on business created by regulatory systems. It was not intended or designed to govern inspectorates of public services in the public sector."
Ofsted thought all types of schools should be under the same system of regulation. So do I. Could you explain why you think it's appropriate that state schools should be regulated in a different way or is it just 'because they should'? As you'll see from the consultation document you recommended to me in most cases regulators saw no difference between appropriate regulation for private and public sector work.

"Some of the principles explicitly acknowledge the above, e.g. Regulators should recognise that a key element of their activity will be to allow, or even encourage, economic progress and only intervene where there is a clear case for protection and one cannot/should not just cut out the bit about economic progress and abbreviate this as Regulators should …only intervene where there is a clear case for protection as this sleight of hand robs the principle of context, purpose and validity."
It's fine as it is Ricky. There is no need to change it. Economic progress comes from people having appropriate professional freedom and an intelligent regulator who uses best practice. That's what we want in education too.

"* As Ruth Deech said of the Hampton Principles: “they are very business oriented with no hint in them of how they might apply to the regulation of the professions, or say, higher education.”"
The Hampton Principles are designed to ensure that customers and society are protected against unacceptable practice, that improvement process are robustly in place and there is effective reporting to the government regarding the state of what's going on in HE. Everyone struggles to define what is and isn't unacceptable practice but it's better that there is disucussion about this and that there are some standards in place than that nothing happens. Was all this clearly explained to Ruth Deech? If she still doesn't get it she's welcome to come round for coffee and a chat.

"* More or less overlapping with Hampton, there were a number of other reports on public sector regulation which put forward different principles (some arguably more appropriate). Among these were: the Macrory report, Regulatory Justice: Making Sanctions Effective (2006) and The Audit Commission report, The Future of Regulation in the Public Sector (2006)."
What's the difference? Essentially it's going to come down to pretty much the same thing. When I read the Hampton principles the clearly addressed the ways in which Ofsted is damaging schools. I'd be happy to accept any principles which do this. That other frameworks exist does not justify not having any framework in place.

"*In 2007, the government legislated to regulate the legal profession. This took the form of the Legal Services Act 2007. The Legal Services Board, the regulator,was required to take on board the Hampton principles but also “any other principle appearing to it to represent the best regulatory practice” and another 14 or 15 principles particular to the legal profession. The LSB had wide discretion whether to give precedence to Hampton or any of the other principles in case of conflict."
And if it is found to be behaving in ways which contravene Hampton and are damaging to legal services then action should be taken. If they are not then no action should be taken. What's this got to do with Ofsted?

"* Ofsted is both a “regulator’ and an “inspectorate” and Hampton may not always allow both roles to be most effectively discharged"
So? We have plenty of bodies who are inspectors and regulators who abide by Hampton.

"* Ofsted has certain statutory duties which may conflict with bits of Hampton."
Bunkum. Ofsted's duties are to drive improvement, protect against damaging practice and report to the government regarding the state of the organisations they inspect and regulate, just like any other regulator. Hampton is designed to spread best practice in carrying out these three duties. Ofsted behaves in ways which contradict best practice. It's original statutes were written in ways which are designed to be succeeded by better practice. This is better practice and Ofsted should be obliged to it in a way which clearly overrides best previous practice.

"* In any case, compulsion is not necessary because, where appropriate, government 7 Ofsted act within “the spirit of Hampton” already."
I don't care how it is complying with the spirit, what matters are the hurrendous ways in which it is doing precisely the opposite of good practice. Ofsted doesn't give a stuff about the action being taken being 'proportionate' to the issue identified for example - an absolutely fundamental 'spirit of Hampton'. It's also blindingly obvious to anyone who's in touch with the ground that the new inspection framework has made judgements less transparent and less consistent. This is urinating on the spirit of Hampton, not abiding by it.

Sound's like someone's sent you the standard Ofsted obfuscating guff Ricky. Given how blindingly obvious it is that they should be held accountable to these standards, why do you think they are going to such enormous lengths to avoid being so? At least laying it out here gives us some insight into what our governments have been up against and why they got confused.


"Some of my elders and betters, however, do have views and I occasionally squirrel them away in a bottom drawer in case I come across someone like you."
Best you don't let on you have the answers that will shred these paper thin views Ricky. From the personal messages of support and the accounts of behaviour under this government I've received, it seems those who have done so received no more work and have remained unpaid for their previous work. The recruitment consultants have been absolutely clear that people working anywhere near Gove have no right to an opinion, they just have to be people who 'get the job done'.

It's the absolute opposite to my philosophy of life which Bronowski so brilliantly expressed in his last three sentences here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0PDGZKGAWs But then that's what it takes to create a lie like 'Arbeit Macht Frei' in practice. That's what it takes to create a group of people who actually believe that what Ofsted is doing now is improving schools.

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 19:29

(in reply to 07/06/12 at 3:59 pm)

Rebecca

Bravo, until the boilerplate anti-Gove rant at the end, that was shaping up as quite a strong case. Alas, I forgot the killer objection (which I'm afraid trumps everything):

* Lawyers say it would be a nightmare, massively expanding scope for any crank with a grievance to go running to the High Court brandishing Hampton and asking for judicial review. Because Hampton isn't either tightly drawn or sequenced, this would mean even more judge-made law (and we have quite enough of that already, thanks).

On which note, I'm afraid I've shot my bolt on this subject, which is anyway probably too nerdy for others here and already proving a bit of a bore. So, while I shall watch your campaign with interest, I have nothing further to add on Hampton. Amen.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 20:28

"* Lawyers say it would be a nightmare, massively expanding scope for any crank with a grievance to go running to the High Court brandishing Hampton and asking for judicial review. Because Hampton isn’t either tightly drawn or sequenced, this would mean even more judge-made law (and we have quite enough of that already, thanks)."

Not very good lawyers obviously or they would know that the legal system is designed to cope with this - because after a couple of Judicial reviews the system configures an Independent Commission with examines they way other regulators interpret the law to resolve issues and ensure the regulator is compliant.

So you could run through that process or you could suspend Ofsted and reorganise it - bringing in the experts from those other regulators in conjunction with respresentatives from the NAHT and ASCL to ensure that you effectively pre-empted these issues by creating a robust framework.

Parliament makes the law - not judges. Case law is only used to clarify issues. Regulators need to be accountable to all their stakeholders. The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act provides is the structure under which this is done effectively by most regulators.

"On which note, I’m afraid I’ve shot my bolt on this subject, which is anyway probably too nerdy for others here and already proving a bit of a bore. "

Shame - told you you you should have stuck to lol rather than olo. I don't think others are finding it boring by the way. I'm not the only person around who is desperately worried about what Ofsted are doing in case you hadn't noticed.

Nice meeting you.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Fri, 08/06/2012 - 10:15

Oh jolly good you've not gone.

Well since you've got such easy access to figures let's chat about this:
"Lawyers say it would be a nightmare, massively expanding scope for any crank with a grievance to go running to the High Court brandishing Hampton and asking for judicial review. Because Hampton isn’t either tightly drawn or sequenced, this would mean even more judge-made law."

To be honest Ricky this sounds like complete bunkum.
It's expensive to request a judicial review. Schools don't have much money so they aren't going to do it unless they have a very clear case in which case they should be doing it. That's the whole point.

Private and public schools have now been under Hampton for over 2 1/2 years. Has this led to any crank with grievance demanding a judicial review? How many judicial reviews have been requested? How many have been granted?

To be honest Ricky your post sounds like a hysterical rant. Mine is just a metaphor for what I see going on in front of my eyes in the schools around me and a succinct and brilliant revealing commentary as to how this happens when theory is not grounded in reality. What's going on is horrific. Let's analyse the facts and see if the legal implications of applying Hampton to Ofsted in the case of state schools would also be horrific or not.

As I said - don't worry about people getting bored with our geeky conversation. They can just stop following it and getting updates from it and start or contribute to others instead. That's the job of cyberspace. It's never full.

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 15:51

Ricky - reply to post above about the publication of Sir Michael's "lone warrior" view of headship. You say it is "dishonest" to use this speech as revealing the views of Sir Michael as head of Ofsted because he made the remarks "eight months" before Mr Gove put his name forward to become Chief Inspector (HMCI).

The article was published on 18 February 2011. The vacancy for HMCI was advertised on 20 March 2011. Although Sir Michael was not appointed until the end of 2011 it is on public record that he was approached by Mr Gove well before then. Sir Michael told the Education Committee that Mr Gove had discussed the possibility of Sir Michael becoming HMCI “in the summer”. He also said he had been approached by headhunters appointed by the Department for Education who phoned him “on several occasions”. However, he did not seriously consider it until Mr Gove personally asked him. He made the decision to apply in the summer of 2011.

It was no secret that Sir Michael was Mr Gove’s “preferred candidate”. It is also obvious that Sir Michael had been approached before the summer by DfE headhunters. We will never know, of course, whether Sir Michael's "Pale Rider" speech impressed Mr Gove, but it clearly could not have done him any harm.

Sir Michael's views on being a head were criticised at the time (see third link).

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmeduc/uc1607...

http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/inthenews/a0076494/michael-gove-fo...

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6071840

Ricky-Tarr's picture
Thu, 07/06/2012 - 16:19

Janet


Yes, it is dishonest to imply that Wilshaw abused his position as HMCI by using "bully-boy rhetoric", using distortions of a speech in support of a motion of censure of HMCI when:

a. Wilshaw was not HMCI at the time he spoke the words complained of.

b. Had no position of authority outside Mossbourne when he made the speech, so could not have been trying to coerce heads to adopt a particular management style, or indeed coerce them into doing anything at all.

c. Never used the phrase "beat everyone in our schools into submission" or anything remotely like it.

Your time scale is about right. Gove put his name forward in October, having spoken to him over the summer.

It was no secret that Sir Michael was Mr Gove’s “preferred candidate”.

Indeed not. It is the duty of the SoS to designate a 'preferred candidate' and Wilshaw was it. Gove regarded Wilshaw as 'heroic' long before the Clint speech (as did many of us).

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