OFSTED is changing its spots

Ricky-Tarr's picture
As many good teachers as bad ones fear the arrival of OFSTED inspectors.

A frequent complaint has been that OFSTED is too prescriptive: that it believes that there's only one way to teach - the OFSTED way.

Good news, then, from HMCI Sir Michael Wilshaw, addressing the RSA.

Sir Michael said:

We, and in that word “we” I include OFSTED, should be wary of trying to prescribe a particular style of teaching, whether it be a three part lesson; an insistence that there should be a balance between teacher led activities and independent learning, or that the lesson should start with aims and objectives with a plenary at the end and so on and so forth. We should be wary of too much prescription. In my experience a formulaic approach pushed out by a school or rigidly prescribed in an inspection evaluation schedule traps too many teachers into a stultifying and stifling mould which doesn’t demand that they use their imagination, initiative and common sense.

Something to celebrate?

Transcript here
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Rebecca Hanson's picture
Sun, 21/10/2012 - 21:50

It is interesting how Old Andrew finds the time to blog so extensively given what a dedicated teacher he is'n'all. He has been a busy bee this weekend taking the time to come out to attack Jo Boaler and defend Milgram & Bishop n'all. Just what the average teacher has time to do!

Readers of this forum may be interested to hear that the private FRSA forums have responded with abject horror to the platform Sir Michael has been given at the RSA.

Nobody can understand it. People involved in education at the RSA actually understand the reality of both the width of the variety of good teaching (of which Sir Michael understands only part) and the way in which Ofsted actually interacts with good teaching (rather than what Sir Michael thinks Ofsted does).

Fellows of the RSA who work in industry have some insight into what regulation should be and the the legal obligations of regulators and note with horror that Sir Michael is not engaging with either the regulators code or the legal infrastructure of inspection and regulation, nor is he suggesting that Ofsted should.

For years Ofsted has published this guff about how wonderful it is and how it is changing for the better. All it does is create a smokescreen around its issues by putting supposedly credibly people on a platform where they can loudly say that Ofsted is dealing with its issues to neutralise the justified complaints with obfuscation rather than relevant action.

State schools to have the same legal rights to challenge their regulator if it behaves in ways which clearly contravene the regulators code that public schools, private schools and the vast majority of organisations in the UK already have. It's blindingly obvious, very simply and is being systematically covered up by drivel like this from Sir Michael. It's drivel which is there to sound plausible and make it look like positive things are being done while, as ever, things are changed but not in the ways which actually matter.

agov's picture
Mon, 22/10/2012 - 09:10

The reality is that Ofsted continues to condemn schools for not having harvested all the free money Ofsted discovered on the magic money tree growing in a secluded corner of the school grounds.

Talking of Ofsted - does anyone know where I can find a list of the words inspectors are banned from writing in their reports (- not that it prevents them spending all day saying them)?

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Tue, 23/10/2012 - 19:07

This drama beautifully describes Ofsted as it now is as we know it.

I suppose Ricky will know that Georgina Love in the drama is clearly a mentally ill paranoid nutter who needs to be punished. But then he didn't know her before the inspection.

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