Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Ofsted Expects? Forget It

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Ofsted Expects? Forget It

Article excerpt

Towards the end of last term TES printed an intemperate letter about Ofsted. That is nothing new. What was striking was the author - none other than Her Majesty's chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw.

His main point was to lambast the criticisms of unnamed school leaders who were apparently too quick to perpetuate a "them against us" view of the schools inspectorate.

It seems we have an "axe to grind" in failing to acknowledge that Ofsted is now "more rigorous and demanding", and instead we fall back on a "clichéd defence-mechanism" of whingeing about inconsistency.

Well, that slapped us into place. However, since context matters, it may be helpful to point out the background to Sir Michael's letter. It was published on the day that TES reported Ofsted's decision to dispense with 1,200 substandard inspectors, a decision so woefully defended by its director of quality and training on BBC Radio 4's PM programme that it became much talked about among teachers.

That decision suggests that our accusations about Ofsted's inconsistencies may not be quite as wide of the mark as Sir Michael would have us believe. Dispensing with almost 40 per cent of inspectors on the grounds of quality is hardly an endorsement of standards.

But let's not allow this spat to distract us from the wider Ofsted story: the recent announcement of how inspectors will work from next term. This, I gather, is at least the twelfth incarnation of the inspection schedule in the past five years. …

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