Post by Guy G4DWV 4X1LT
On Wed, 9 Aug 2017 13:27:40 +0100, just as I was about to take a herb,
Post by Brian Reay
Personally, joking aside, I've no issue with OFSTED. I think they serve
a necessary function - schools and teachers do need to be
If it is anything like the CQC that inspect medical and dental
practices, care homes etc, the only thing that they do not check is
the actual quality of care! They are more concerned which way mops are
stored (I jest not) than anything else. In fact, in dentistry, there
are NO checks on the quality of treatment at all, NHS or private.
They do observe lessons, if that is what you mean. Also check the
school's results etc- not only in terms of absolute performance but in
terms of the intake, 'value added', etc. They also verify that schools
are conducting their own monitoring of teaching quality via
observations, monitoring of results, etc. That is why the Unions don't
like it- especially when there is the merest 'whiff' of rewarding the
teaching who get better results etc. I always liked that, then I always
got very good results ;-)
Essentially, a 'team' turns up and they will generally have a 'theme'
for the inspection (unless it has changed). The theme could be, say,
'Gifted and Talented provision' or 'Numeracy across the curriculum',
While they can, and may well, look at almost anything, that will (in
theory) be their focus. Some of them will be looking for evidence of
provision etc. in the teaching, others in the leadership. Others may
well be looking into the school 'admin'. Unless it has changed, you've
no idea if you will be observed, they just appear - possibly for the
whole lesson, may be part way through. Also, you can be 'called in'
and, say, asked "What is the school policy on xyz?" "Show us that you
know who are your Gifted and Talent pupils." "What do you do to provide
for them?" etc. Likewise pupils and parents are interviewed. Pupil
books are examined for quality of work and evidence of quality marking
etc (you don't get away with a 'tick' and 9/10 etc, you need to give
feedback with areas/advice for improvement). To be fair, it is all good
stuff, I don't really have any gripes with the process.
The 'weakness' is the ever changing ideas on what is 'wanted' or how
things should be done. Every now and then some 'new' idea comes along,
often as not just and old idea with fancy name. It may well be what you
are already doing but you have to use the new name or all hell breaks
loose. Then there are the 'wacky' ideas- 'high fiving' (although it
wasn't called that) when someone had a good idea. Classes walking in
circles in pairs, high fiving each other when they have an idea, then
changing partners to tell the new partner the idea.
You can see why, especially in say maths, some schools don't get good
results when you consider that some of the 'wacky' ideas insist that you
shouldn't teach even basic problem solving processes or the basics of,
say, algebra- the pupils have to 'discover them'. The problem is, they
may well end up with the correct answer to the problem/question at hand
but their method is only good a 'one off' and/or inefficient. Heaven
forbid you should point that out.
The worst thing is, the National Curriculum is actually pretty darn good
and, if teachers were to essentially 'stick to it' using tried and
tested methods, without the 'wacky ideas' the poor schools would improve
dramatically. Don't get me wrong, I've no issue with changing things
for the better but don't use wacky methods that just don't work.
Take long division. When it was deemed 'too difficult' by the 'old
fashion method', several 'easier ideas' were taught. They worked, up to
a point with 'ordinary numbers', although got 'tedious' with large ones.
Useless for algebraic long division. Whoever decided to dump long
division obviously hadn't thought ahead as algebraic long division is a
key skill for A level (well AS level) maths. Also, if you understand
'place value' and powers, which are already taught, even in the lower
key stages, long division is a doddle, if you like them together. Whatis
more, if you make that like, several other things 'drop into place'-
including other number systems like binary, hex etc and working in them.
Just think of the implications when teaching computing.