Sean Harford’s response to Tom Sherrington’s criticism of OFSTED inspections has resulted in this refreshing admission about inspectors:
the weakest ones have been guilty of using the published data as a safety net for not making fully-rounded, professional judgements based on the school’s own information, work in books/folders over time, progress seen across year groups/classes, the attitudes to learning of pupils, improvements to teaching following focused CPD etc.
I said in “That was the term that was” that my view of OFSTED was that they were variable in their approach. I have seen very recently a critical OFSTED report on a school I know based upon this very approach – a focus upon one set of data that has then prevented getting a really thorough view of provision at the school.
I do not think that the removal of what was seen as “preferred styles of teaching” led by bloggers such as @oldandrewuk has helped resolve the situation. What has seemed to emerge is a removal of the ‘safety net’ that so many OFSTED inspectors relied upon and as a result a number seem to be making it up as they go along.
The more open approach is absolutely necessary, but to expect that our OFSTED colleagues could adapt to the new regime is perhaps as hopeful as expecting that all dogs will behave when off the leash. Some schools have been bitten and some have just been lucky to have a cuddly wet nose….