/Tag: Ofsted

Should Ofsted observe lessons?


As you may have seen, Ofsted have published a report which lays the ground work on how they might start observing lessons once more: Six models of lesson observation: an international perspective. Most people will probably accept that if Ofsted are going to inspect schools then should almost certainly observe lessons as part of the inspection process. And, as someone who spends a fair bit of time visiting schools around the country, it’s clear that you can learn a lot about a school from seeing how lessons unfold. But when I observe lessons, I do so informally. I’m not attempting to make [...]

Should Ofsted observe lessons?2018-05-31T16:33:03+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

How can school inspection get what it wants?


I read a great piece by Dr Becky Allen in Schools Week this morning on inherent unreliability of school inspections. In it she makes the point that human beings are incapable of making reliable, high stakes judgements due to our adaptive reliance on heuristics and our inability to adequately introspect about our biases  and preferences. But despite the dangers, she says, "This is not to say that school inspection should not have a role in our system. It is possible that the threat of inspection, day-in-day-out, leads to better practice in schools that outweighs the obvious dysfunctional behaviours it creates." I [...]

How can school inspection get what it wants?2017-02-11T07:33:17+00:00

Bottom sets and the scourge of low-level disruption


In many English schools, low-level disruption is the norm. Children talking when expected to be silent, fiddling with equipment and each other, calling out, and generally not being 'on task' are all routinely accepted as just something with which teachers have to contend. In 2014, Ofsted published this report on low-level disruption in schools. It it, "around two-fifths of the 723 teachers in the survey who believed that disruptive ‘talking and chatting’ was a key problem said it occurred in almost every lesson." The entire concept of 'behaviour management' is predicated on the idea that teachers must manage students' inevitable disruptive [...]

Bottom sets and the scourge of low-level disruption2016-11-14T21:10:57+00:00

Why Ofsted inspectors shouldn’t give advice


Unfortunately I was unable to attend the recent Learning First conference in Wolverhampton, but I did manage to follow some of the tweets. This one in particular caught my attention: Marilyn Mottram HMI talking about what Ofsted are looking for #LearningFirst pic.twitter.com/MJDrm3cUkf — school data updates (@jpembroke) October 1, 2016 As you can see by reading the thread below the tweet, it's possible that Marylin Mottram didn't actually say this was what Ofsted were looking for, but that's certainly what was inferred by some members of the audience. In response, I tweeted the following: As long as Ofsted 'look for' instead [...]

Why Ofsted inspectors shouldn’t give advice2016-10-01T21:52:21+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

Why I ♥ blogging (and believe there is hope for Ofsted)


Earlier today I posted an outraged spume of invective directed at a recently publish Ofsted inspection report. Since then Sean Harford, Ofsted's National Director for Education, has been in touch to say that the report has been taken down and arses are being kicked. To be clear, I don't want or expect Ofsted to change its judgement about the school in question - I am in no way placed to make any kind of judgement or even comment on what the school in question might be like - but I do want and expect the report to be changed so that [...]

Why I ♥ blogging (and believe there is hope for Ofsted)2015-12-03T15:19:58+00:00

Marking: What (some) Ofsted Inspectors (still) want


It is up to schools themselves to determine their practices and for leadership teams to justify these on their own merits rather than by reference to the inspection handbook. UPDATE: There is a happy(ish) ending to this sad story. As you will no doubt be aware, Ofsted has gone to great lengths to clarify its position on marking. In October 2014 it very helpfully published this clarification document which, from September 2015 has been incorporated into the Inspection Handbook. In it, several pervasive myths relating specifically to marking are addressed: Ofsted recognises that marking and feedback to pupils, both written and oral, [...]

Marking: What (some) Ofsted Inspectors (still) want2015-12-05T12:59:28+00:00

Why we *really* mistrust Ofsted


In the Schools Week profile on Ofsted's head honcho, Sir Michael Wilshaw apparently puts the teaching professions' lack of confidence in Ofsted down to "his relentless drive for challenge". He is reported as saying, Me coming out and being quite critical sometimes of leaders not doing what they should be doing, giving my view about how schools should be run, immediately puts people’s backs up. … and what has become clear to me is, once one person says ‘Ofsted’s broke’ … other people jump on that bandwagon... I know we’ve got this reputation of being this tough organisation that costs people their [...]

Why we *really* mistrust Ofsted2015-09-16T08:33:10+00:00

Should schools have to prepare for inspection?


Like everyone else who has witnessed Ofsted's attempts to clarify misconceptions and improve the inspection process over the last few years, I'm certain that those who led the organisation are genuinely well-intentioned and are actively seeking to do the best they can. The removal of individual lesson gradings was a triumph for common senses, and the attempts to learn from and engage with teachers to improve the system is entirely laudable. Without going into any specifics around Michael Wilshaw's latest round of announcements of what Ofsted will and won't be looking for, I feel genuinely confused about one point. Consultant and [...]

Should schools have to prepare for inspection?2015-06-16T23:55:35+00:00

Ofsted inspections to be higher stakes: for inspectors!


Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Mathew 7:7 Sometimes life takes a surreal twist. In January 2014 I predicted Ofsted would stop grading lessons within a maximum of two years. I was wrong. Grades had been scrapped by June the same yearGrades had been scrapped by June the same year! I then got a call from Sean Harford to cast eye over the new Inspection Handbook and was stunned to find that all my advice had been taken on board. Now today, after suggesting for [...]

Ofsted inspections to be higher stakes: for inspectors!2015-05-29T06:49:48+00:00

Why 'triple marking' is wrong (and not my fault)


You can't blame celebrity edubloggers for teachers' unreasonable workloads - Albert Einstein In his indefatigable efforts to get schools and teachers to recognise that much of what is done in the name of demonstrating progress for Ofsted's benefit is a pointless waste of time, apparently, Ofsted's National Director, Mike Cladingbowl has been blaming me for inventing 'triple marking'.[i] This is an accusation I refute. As I understand it, the phenomena of 'triple marking' of goes something like this: You mark students' work They act on your marking You mark students' work again. The logic is that in responding to students' responses to [...]

Why 'triple marking' is wrong (and not my fault)2014-11-29T12:14:33+00:00