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OFSTED is not ‘Fit for purpose’ yet world class education goal?

(127 Posts)
CvD66 Thu 07-Dec-23 17:13:48

In his latest pledges (Nov 20th) Sunak promised us a ‘world class education’. Yet the Beyond OFSTED inquiry, looking into the death of experienced headteacher Ruth Perry, has declared OFTED as not fit for purpose and having a detrimental impact. Given this education inspection body is seen as having lost the confidence of teachers and parents, what next for education?

eazybee Thu 07-Dec-23 18:52:06

An absolutely shameful Inspection, with not a shred of remorse from any of the three inspectors, or indeed, Amanda Spielman, who has already deserted the ship.

GrannyGravy13 Thu 07-Dec-23 19:03:56

I am not a teacher, I do have close links to the small local primary next door but one to me.

I think primary school teachers should be allowed to teach freely according to the abilities of their pupils. Forget all the ticking of boxes until the children are 9/10 then teach the national curriculum.

GrannyGravy13 Thu 07-Dec-23 19:09:44

Sorry meant to add I am a fan of Montessori methods in early years.

Casdon Thu 07-Dec-23 19:14:43

The Ofsted song by Fascinating Aida to cheer up the despairing, not for those who dislike a bit of swearing (albeit in a good cause).
m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut-0f9qsZV0

V3ra Thu 07-Dec-23 19:50:54

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-67639942

Senior coroner Heidi Connor has been quite blunt in her report about Ruth Perry's death.

BBC News - I.N.A.D.E.Q.U.A.T.E - Ruth Perry’s despair in handwritten notes
www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-67612233

Sobering reading.
The inspection was carried out in November and, as usual, Ruth Perry was forbidden to tell anyone the outcome until the report was officially published.
That didn't happen until March.

Oldbat1 Thu 07-Dec-23 20:07:10

Poor woman all due to ofsted being heavy handed. Even if they “pass” everything well in the school except say missing one thing which could be minor then the school must be awarded a fail. No chance of rectifying unlike an mot failure say. Totally totally over the top.

Marydoll Thu 07-Dec-23 20:22:00

I have experienced an HMI inspection in Scotland, the process seems to be different from OFSTED.
It was stressful, but fair.

I know of one of our local schools, where at the end of the week long inspection, the HT announced over the tannoy that the team had left the building. Everyone started cheering.
Unfortunately, she was a little premature! wink

Mollygo Thu 07-Dec-23 20:22:22

OFSTED have been through several phases.
My experience includes lay inspectors, who ask questions like “Why don’t you leave half the class in the classroom so your computer suite isn’t so busy?” Evidently he felt it was OK to leave children unattended whilst I taught computing.
Or the inspector who said, (about my classroom provision that had been praised by our school’s adviser,)
“You could add some more literacy activities.”
When I asked what she suggested, she said, “Oh that’s not my job to tell you.”

Or the one who decided she could do my job better and took over the story telling session. It was not her forté and the children let her know, by putting their hands up and asking when I could have the book back.
Some of them have been good, knowledgeable about teaching, keen to hear my explanation for why I was doing a particular thing, and interested in the children’s responses.
Some of them seem to be on an ego trip and feel they’ve failed if they haven’t found sufficient faults.

Joseann Thu 07-Dec-23 21:04:46

I feel so very sorry for Ruth Perry and her family, and I suspect many Headteachers come close to breaking point during and after an Ofsted inspection. I am appalled that the Headtescher was subjected to rudeness and insensitivity. Intimidation should not be allowed.
However, I know someone who is an Inspector, who is sensitive to the needs of teachers, and who makes every effort to prevent undue stress for Headteachers.
As Mollygo says, the inspecting is variable and definitely needs an overhaul.

Marydoll Thu 07-Dec-23 21:19:54

Joesann, I also have friend who is an HMI inspector, who was a brilliant teacher and HT.
She is empathetic and sensitive. Not all inspectors are awful people.

Luckygirl3 Thu 07-Dec-23 21:37:08

It is so very sad.

OfSted visit under the banner of improving educational standards when in fact they arrive, make their judgements and leave. There is no element of support to improve areas that they decide are in need of attention.

The old school inspectors were locally based, understood the communities, established a relationship with local schools, knew the ones that were struggling and were able to access help via the LA. Then all that was swept away, both the format of inspections and the LA support - local educational authorities have dwindled away to almost nothing and schools have to buy in help for payroll, legal advice, buildings advice etc. etc.

I am chair of governors at a school and the OfSted inspection includes a judgement on the governance, so we are under scrutiny too, and it is extremely nerve-wracking and stressful as, above all else, we do not want to do or say anything that might cause a downgrade when we know how hard the staff work.

I feel desperately sad for this poor head and her family - all so unnecessary. And th3 health service let her down as well - her OH took her to the local mental health services as he was so concerned but they said they could not see her without a GP referral. Wicked, just wicked.

growstuff Fri 08-Dec-23 05:14:16

Joseann

I feel so very sorry for Ruth Perry and her family, and I suspect many Headteachers come close to breaking point during and after an Ofsted inspection. I am appalled that the Headtescher was subjected to rudeness and insensitivity. Intimidation should not be allowed.
However, I know someone who is an Inspector, who is sensitive to the needs of teachers, and who makes every effort to prevent undue stress for Headteachers.
As Mollygo says, the inspecting is variable and definitely needs an overhaul.

If that's your OH, it's been established in previous conversations that he's not an Ofsted inspector and that state and private school inspections are different.

Joseann Fri 08-Dec-23 09:41:30

No growstuff, my DH is an utter bully of an Inspector.
Not really! The person to whom I refer in my comment is an Ofsted inspector - I do have friends/contacts in state schools too you know.
I don't live in a bubble. 🫧 🫧
Are state and private inspections really so very different that Inspectors in both don't have the same code of conduct to follow - that of being courteous and tactful? It is a gift in human nature to have, and to show, skill and sensitivity in dealing with others at a difficult time.
The person in question obviously didn't.

growstuff Fri 08-Dec-23 09:44:45

Yes, they are very different - I've experienced both.

Joseann Fri 08-Dec-23 09:47:43

You misunderstand me - the process might be very different, empathy within a person shouldn't be.

Luckygirl3 Fri 08-Dec-23 09:56:38

OfSted inspectors should of course be courteous and humane but we all know that sometimes they are not; and they too are tied by their rules and regs. They could be as kind as can be, but behind them is the strait jacket of the rules.

maddyone Fri 08-Dec-23 10:41:56

I experienced a number of OFSTED inspections during my teaching career. Some inspectors were polite and unobtrusive. Others not so much.

maddyone Fri 08-Dec-23 10:44:18

Independent schools do have official OFSTED inspections. My husband worked in an independent school for many years and there were a number of OFSTED inspections during his time there. Before OFSTED came into being, there were other governmental inspections at his school, but I can’t remember what they were called.

Luckygirl3 Fri 08-Dec-23 10:50:09

I guess there are nice inspectors and not nice, along with the rest of the population. But there are ways of conducting an inspection in a polite and human fashion.

nanna8 Fri 08-Dec-23 10:56:36

I’m sorry but I think the whole idea of OFSTED is disgusting and it should be dismantled. Do you not trust your educators, many of whom have long experience and lengthy study behind them? I think the system stinks and if I were a teacher I’d be out on strike against it. How dare they ?

Grantanow Fri 08-Dec-23 11:05:02

Time for an external review of OFSTED, its rules and the competences of its inspectors. I can't believe a school can go from excellent to inadequate in such a short interval.

eazybee Fri 08-Dec-23 11:12:06

Ofsted needs to be reformed; it has been used recently as a tool to persuade reluctant LEA schools into joining Academy Trusts, run primarily by business people and managers such as Amanda Spielman, (no teaching experience.)

Alan Derry, the HMI leading this inspection seems to be a rogue inspector; most of them are not as intimidating or rude as he was, but the process is increasingly stressful and can ruin people's careers. The Inspection recently at our local school led to two excellent teachers deciding to move into different fields, lecturing and social work, despite complaints against the findings of the team from governors and parents; teachers' views are ignored.
And private education inspections are far less investigative.

Bella23 Fri 08-Dec-23 11:22:03

maddyone

I experienced a number of OFSTED inspections during my teaching career. Some inspectors were polite and unobtrusive. Others not so much.

I would agree maddyone. One young teacher was so distraught they had D&S for days before the inspection. Our head asked if we minded if they went first, of course, we didn't. When asked the inspectors said no it had to go in the order they had and they had to wait until the afternoon.
I also remember a member of staff of another school being heard to tell an inspector that if they couldn't teach after 35 years could they please get them early retirement for incompetence?
I was told by one "It doesn't matter what I say, you always have an answer."Of course, I had and after the number of years I taught and regulations and new orders I had read and disseminated for younger colleagues, I should have had all the answers.
There needs to be a complete overhaul. Yes, schools need to be checked and kept up to standard, but not in the way they are at the moment.
When I first taught you never knew when the Inspector was arriving which was often. We knew them all by name, they were courteous and if anything wrong was found your head was discretely told and it was passed on to you. If people failed their probationary year they were encouraged to stay in the profession and were given extra help and supervision. Not made to feel a complete failure.

AGAA4 Fri 08-Dec-23 11:26:07

Ofsted will sit in on one lesson and pass judgement. A friend of my DD also a teacher was treated very harshly by Ofsted. She had been an excellent teacher getting very good results but she had one bad lessonwas marked on that not on her previous record. Ofsted cause stress and disruption and also cause teachers to leave the profession. To have caused the death of a headteacher is unforgivable.
I know there are good Ofsted inspectors. My DD has had some who were supportive and positive but there are others who cause a lot of damage