By Gavin Mackintosh And Sheila Mckenzie-
Teaching unions have reacted to the Conservative party’s plans for longer and more Ofsted inspections, with some branding the plans ”draconian”.
Headteachers have argued that the proposals were potentially damaging, forcing schools in England to divert energy into preparing for inspections rather than teaching.
Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the proposals confirmed that current inspections did not give “a fair and reliable judgement” on a school’s performance.“Ofsted is indeed stretched and is undoubtedly spreading itself too thinly. However, the answer is not to do more of the same, in fact it is the precise opposite,” Whiteman said.
“Ofsted needs to focus its efforts on the small fraction of schools that are struggling to provide a good standard of education and offer a stronger diagnostic insight on what is going wrong, to help them improve more rapidly.
“For schools that are already good – the vast majority in this country – high-stakes inspection has been shown to limit progress and stifle ambition, as schools are driven to spend more time on being Ofsted-ready instead of improving teaching and learning.”
In reality, Johnson’s proposals are positive and should be embraced. It is important for Ofsted inspectors to observe pupils and students without warning in order to get an accurate picture of what actually goes on in schools.
The level of complaints by parents and teachers about nuisance behaviour by disruptive pupils has long been serious enough for urgent intervention. At the moment schools have circulated guidance from Ofsted about how to deal with bad behaviour, but this is always easier said than done.
Some schools have been able to implement strict policies of discipline that work, but this cannot work in every school. Some children have serious behavioural problems not even at the level of special behavioural problems who are sent to special schools for such pupils. Witnessing first hand the problem of managing difficult pupils is the best experience for the education watchdog.
It is also important for Ofsted to observe without notification given to teachers, how they are teaching their pupils on any given moment. The claim from union groups that teachers are only given a few hours notice is weak, because notice is notice. Teachers can plan an effective teacher strategy they would not have planned if taken unawares.
Ongoing research conducted by The Eye Of Media.Com has shown that many secondary schools find lessons boring and are not taught well how to read, despite some of the good ratings some of them receive from Ofsted.
Schools ranked by Ofsted take into account the percentage of pupils who excel in reading, but fails to take into account that a good percentage of those who read well and effectively have their reading skills enhanced either by the efforts of private tuition by educated parents or private tutors. The best level of teaching occurs in private and special schools, and not all private schools give value for money in the teaching department.
There are a number of mainstream primary and secondary schools with top levels of teaching and commitment to motivate their pupils, but this is not widespread enough.
Even parents of pupils attending these very good schools offer additional tuition to their children to keep them on top of the high standards set in their schools, and others hire top private one on one tuition, which is better than the standard £25 an hour group tuition hired by parents who can’t afford the best tutors. Group tuition is better than no tuition for may students, but there is still a gap in the standard between one on one tuition and the standard group tuition many parents get for their children.
Johnson’s plans to empower Ofsted with more funds to broaden the quality of their inspections is on the right track and should be commended.
P.S Both writers contributed to the content of this article