The Ofsted Visit

20130506-201400.jpg So we have had a week of Ofsted. If you live in a foreign land you may have no idea what Ofsted is, so here we go. They are a group of people who visit schools, colleges and places of training. They are government sponsored and award marks as follows 1 Outstanding, 2 Good, 3 Satisfactory and 4 Failed. The education establishment in the UK fear them.
They go into a classroom and observe for around fifty minutes in those fifty minutes they decide on the quality of the teaching. Needless to say my college received a grade 2. So we are a good college. We are the same college we were before they arrived and we remain the same college now they have gone.
To be quite honest it isn’t rocket science, they have certain criteria that has to be met. So we meet it.                             Rocket Science                                                                                                             They want to see a lot of effort in numeracy and literacy so we do lots of it? Now, why do they want to see that?
Well my friends, the UK is now fourteenth in the world on the numeracy and literacy league.
Ofsted

Why is that? Because successive governments over the last 30 years have played with education to such an extent that it is now; not fit for purpose.
So now they pressurize us to turn it around. In reality they are asking us to achieve in thirty-six weeks what teachers could not achieve in eleven years because the government prevented them with their ‘blue sky’ thinking and wonderous ideas. Lincoln, Gandhi, Gladstone, Brunel, etc all started with a blackboard, easel and a thick ear when they misbehaved. Now they have computers, innovative little games and isolation as a punishment. Not one of my 14 – 18 year olds know their times table and they have the attention span of a gnat. It really is time to go back to basics.

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About charliecountryboy

Carpenter and Carpentry Lecturer. Writer, musician. Curious about life and all those wonderful people in it. Follow on Twitter:- Chas_countryboy Follow on Facebook :- Charlie Robinson
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5 Responses to The Ofsted Visit

  1. We have a similar problem in Australia. Our school children are assessed with the Naplan exam so the consequence is that schools study for the test instead of teaching because they want to perform well. We have a website called ourschools so you can see how well each school is performing. The govt wants to reward “good” teachers. The problem is all this is not in the interest of the individual student. It doesn’t encourage good team work and its far easier to improve the results of the average students than to spend time on the struggling ones that really need the help and resources. If you concentrate on the perfomance of the “better” students the overall results of the school will lift more easily than if you concentrate on the not so “bright”students which is often the ones with problems such as family issues and poverty. Education is how this latter group can improve its future. A big rethink is needed on performance indicators and the objectives of education. Is education just to teach students to read and count or is it role to enrich our community and level the playing field to provide equal opportunites for all?

    • Thats interesting, I’m not sure if I feel better or worse knowing the problems exist else where. Another thing I am uncomfortable about is how kids in FE are now units. Each one worth £4000 only if they pass. So we are under pressure to get all of them through (whatever it takes) thanks for the input, I appreciate it 😉

  2. Hear, hear, Charlie. As an ex head teacher I think we have to look at the systems based model we have and find it deeply lacking. But I think we need to take into account the rest of the environment too. That gnat-attention span? Why is that, do you think? Is it media, or computer games, or the fact that so many mums get in at seven and have no time to focus on those formative hours after school? It’s not school. We’re doing, by and large, more than we have ever done before to track each child and ensure their progress.

    We have to ask: is progress what it’s all about? Or is lifelong learning something broader than the narrow popularity-seeking mind of a politician is capable of embracing? Are we in a race to achieve, or could education really be a joyous exploration of our world, our purpose within it and how we are going to achieve it?

    Questions, questions, and a response long enough to be a blog. Glad you got through your OFSTED intact, Charlie. Congratulations.

    • Thank you Kate. Reading your comment I think it’s possibly a mix of all those things. You can throw in role models too. My role models were Jesus, Churchill, Kennedy, Robin Hood etc. Then my Dad and my six uncles who were all hard working tradesmen and farmers. Most of my lads don’t have a Dad around. Today they have a Soap characters, Jordan, footballers (spoilt brats) and Rap artists who think they are gangsters as role models. Ofsted are talking about studying the Swedish model? I’ve been doing that since I was 12 😉 thanks for reading.

  3. I couldn’t agree more, Charlie. What this regime calls education is in fact a depressing and Dickensian charicature of it.

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