Amanda Spielman

/Tag: Amanda Spielman

Garbage in, garbage out


This is my latest article for the rather wonderful Teach Secondary magazine. Schools are awash with data but do we know any more about how children are performing, how likely they are to achieve particular targets or what’s preventing them from making progress? All too often the answer is no. The problem can be simply summer up as data ≠ knowledge. There’s a lovely video on the internet of celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, showing a group of youngsters what goes into chicken nuggets. He whizzes up a mixture a skin, bone and “horrible bits” and explains that manufacturers squeeze this revolting [...]

Garbage in, garbage out2018-10-16T11:22:54+00:00

What is a broad and balanced curriculum?


Historically, the curriculum schools have taught hasn't really mattered that much. Then, when the National Curriculum was introduced in the late 1980s, committees of experts had made all the decisions for us. As more and more schools have academised and won free of the strictures of  the National Curriculum, you might have expected a flowering of thought about how best to structure and select what children should be taught, but far more effort has been expended on the how of education. This may, in part, be due to Ofsted's long preoccupation with judging the quality of teaching and learning provided by [...]

What is a broad and balanced curriculum?2018-02-26T09:18:51+00:00

Put down your crystal balls


Many of the schools I visit and work with feel under enormous pressure to predict what their students are likely to achieve in their next set of GCSEs. In the past, this approach sort of made sense. Of course there was always a margin for error, but most experienced teachers just knew what a C grade looked like in their subject. Also, when at least half of students' results were based on 'banked' modular results, the pressure to predict became ever more enticing. Sadly, the certainties we may have relied on have gone. Not only have Ofqual have worked hard to [...]

Put down your crystal balls2017-07-04T09:32:36+00:00

A response to the Education Select Committee: Why Amanda Spielman should run Ofsted


So. The Education Select Committee has rejected Amanda Spielman as the next Chief Inspector. Andrew Old has already summarised why he feels Amanda would have been a terrific appointment here and I agree with him entirely. The purpose of this post is to reflect on quite serious flaws in the Select Committee's reasoning. In the document detailing their decision, they claim that they sought to "test Ms Spielman’s professional competence and personal independence" and were "left with significant concerns about her suitability for the post of HMCI." These are their particular gripes: First: Ms Spielman did not demonstrate the passion for the [...]

A response to the Education Select Committee: Why Amanda Spielman should run Ofsted2016-07-08T11:58:49+00:00

Where now for school improvement?


In the past, school improvement was easy. You could push pupils into taking BTECs or Diplomas (sometimes with 100% coursework) equivalent to multiple GCSEs; you could organise your curriculum to allow for early entry and multiple resits; you could bend the rules on controlled assessment and a whole host of other little tricks and cons intended to flatter and deceive. Now what have we got? PiXL Club? As Rob Coe laid bare in Improving Education: A Triumph of Hope over Experience, school improvement has been a tawdry illusion. Evidence from international comparisons, independent studies and national exams tell a conflicting and unsavoury tale. As [...]

Where now for school improvement?2016-07-04T16:04:16+00:00

Why I'm optimistic about the new Chief Inspector


Guardian journalist and ex-teacher, Michelle Hanson thinks education in the UK is "going down the pan". In this article she tells us the memory of working as a teacher still makes her "feel a bit queasy" whenever she so much as walks past a school. I can only imagine what kind of horrors she might have endured and I have nothing but sympathy for the many thousands of teachers who, like Michelle, have chosen to get out of the classroom and do something less injurious to their mental health. She's absolutely right to point out that the "preparation, planning, note-taking, sudden irrational initiatives, testing [...]

Why I'm optimistic about the new Chief Inspector2016-06-14T14:17:05+00:00

Is it possible to get assessment right?


No. After my last blog on how to get assessment wrong, various readers got in touch to say, OK smart arse, what should we do? Well, I'm afraid the bad news is that we'll never get assessment right. Or at least, it's impossible for assessment to give us anything like perfect information on student's progress or learning. We can design tests to give us pretty good information of students' mastery of a domain, but as Amanda Spielman, chair of Ofsted said at researchED in September, the best we can ever expect from GCSEs is to narrow student achievement down to + or [...]

Is it possible to get assessment right?2015-05-31T11:18:35+00:00