Ofsted

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

2015-12-03T15:19:58+00:00December 3rd, 2015|blogging|

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 [...]

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

2015-12-05T12:59:28+00:00December 3rd, 2015|workload|

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, [...]

Why we *really* mistrust Ofsted

2015-09-16T08:33:10+01:00September 15th, 2015|Featured|

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 [...]

Should schools have to prepare for inspection?

2015-06-16T23:55:35+01:00June 16th, 2015|Featured|

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 [...]

Ofsted inspections to be higher stakes: for inspectors!

2015-05-29T06:49:48+01:00May 28th, 2015|Featured|

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 [...]

Why ‘triple marking’ is wrong (and not my fault)

2020-05-02T22:15:05+01:00November 29th, 2014|leadership|

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 [...]

What if we started trusting teachers?

2014-11-23T14:10:08+00:00November 22nd, 2014|leadership|

Who would not rather trust and be deceived? - Eliza Cook The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him. - Henry Lewis Stimson I've been out of the classroom for just under a year now. In that time I've had the privilege of visiting many more schools than I ever visited during the 15 years or so I taught. And in that time I've had the chance to see the sublime, the ridiculous and almost everything imaginable in between. The other luxury I've had is time. Time to think in a way that was never really possible when bogged [...]

Ofsted's new Inspection Handbook – a cause for celebration

2014-07-30T22:19:04+01:00July 30th, 2014|Featured|

As detailed by Old Andrew here, I attended a meeting with the new National Director for Schools Policy, Sean Harford in Birmingham on Friday 25th July. This had followed a series of telephone calls and emails in which I provided "free consultancy" on Ofsted's new Inspection Handbook. Whatever your ideological stripe, whatever your beliefs about the purpose of education, everybody can, I hope, agree that reforming Ofsted is in everyone's best interest. During the past month Sean has "taken a scythe" to the 500+ pages of subsidiary and subject specific guidance to produce a slimmed down document that will be useful to inspectors, and [...]

My impatience with some Ofsted inspectors

2014-07-24T16:34:31+01:00July 24th, 2014|Featured|

We hope we are transparent and honest. I am very keen that the people we inspect have confidence in the quality of our inspections and the quality of our inspectors. I believe the quality of inspection and the quality of our inspectors has gone up over the last few years. Sir Michael Wilshaw I'm genuinely of the belief that Ofsted as an organisation is trying hard to put right some of the worst excesses it has been responsible for in its 21 year history. But certain attitudes make the task so much harder. Consider this from the boss: We have done more [...]

Playing the game: Ofsted vs. Civitas

2017-01-09T09:26:46+00:00July 17th, 2014|Featured|

Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort. John Ruskin On the face of it, this seems both self-evident and obvious: if Ofsted aren't judging quality of teaching in a school, what are they doing? Now, I'm not one of those who feel Ofsted is a cancer needing to be cut out of the education corpse, but I do feel that along with the good they might have done in holding failing schools to account, they've done a lot of harm along the way. A new report from Civitas, Playing the Game The enduring influence of the preferred [...]

Is listening really passive?

2019-11-10T13:13:35+00:00June 30th, 2014|learning|

Listening is a positive act: you have to put yourself out to do it. David Hockney Like many others, I got very excited to see this published on the Ofsted website back in February: Inspectors must not give the impression that Ofsted favours a particular teaching style. Inspectors should not criticise teacher talk for being overlong or bemoan a lack of opportunity for different activities in lessons unless there is unequivocal evidence that this is slowing learning over time. Do not expect to see ‘independent learning’ in all lessons and do not make the assumption that this is always necessary or [...]

Perverse incentives and how to counter them

2014-06-09T20:14:48+01:00June 9th, 2014|leadership|

Call it what you will, incentives are what get people to work harder. Nikita Khrushchev Back in the good old days when the great unwashed could simply be shipped off to the colonies with nary a second thought, transportation of convicts was in the hands of private companies. These companies were compensated based on the number of prisoners shipped. As long as they were signed and sealed, no one cared over much if they were delivered and a depressing percentage of prisoners perished on-board these dreadful hulks. Eventually, the government, realising they were being short-changed and running the risk of running out of [...]