Mike Cladingbowl (@MCladingbowl) realsed this document today (4th June) on the Ofsted website.
Brace yourself …
“Why I want to try inspecting without
grading teaching in each individual lesson.”
Indeed, this is true and is very real! From 9th June 2014, Ofsted is piloting a new approach to the recording of evidence about the quality of teaching during some school inspections. This is great news! To say I am exited is an under-statement. Sad, old me! You can ignore my blog and go straight to the news here or read my views and summary at the very bottom of this blog …
You can download the document here: Ofsted: NO MORE grades.
In February 2014, when The Famous Five – as we were quickly nicknamed – went to Ofsted headquarters. We raised this very issue – amongst many other – with Mike Cladingbowl. My response to this meeting was published in my edu-blogger mandate for @OfstedNews. It’s great to see this has now being actioned and made public.
In bullet point 4 of my article, I stated that:
“regarding all classroom teaching and teachers: this crucial conversation was repeated throughout the meeting; that no more (one-off) lessons should continue to be graded. If feedback is provided, they should not carry a grade and if inspectors provide this in their feedback, they are not following guidance. Ofsted (Mike Cladingbowl) stated: ‘this was never our intention’ and disappointingly, this clearly seems to be the perfect example of how schools; leaders; consultants and teachers have misinterpreted the whole-school framework for grading overall quality of teaching and learning. It was never – I repeat – never, intended to be used for one-off lesson judgements! We only have ourselves to blame … “
Mike Cladingbowl then – one week later – responded in an article published by Ofsted: Why do Ofsted inspectors observe individual lessons and how do they evaluate teaching in schools?
He finished the letter with this significant point:
“Finally, if instructing inspectors to feed back on the range of evidence used to arrive at a judgement without giving a numerical teaching ‘grade’ would help, or even removing the grade for teaching on the evidence form altogether, then I am prepared to consider it. We might, for instance, just ask inspectors to note all their evidence gathered about teaching, and then bring it all together at the end of the inspection in a plenary before discussing the single overall judgement on teaching with the school.”
And there you have it. The early indication 3 months ago, and today, Mike has kept to his word. Below, shows you what has currently been the ‘grey-matter’.
Current Evaluation Forms (EF):
The current form (circa. May 2014) that inspectors visiting lessons use, asks inspectors for ‘Quality of Teaching; Running EF? (Y/N)’ to record a grade for teaching (not the teacher) if there is significant evidence. This will soon change if the new pilot is successful.
Very recently, I had this quote published in The Guardian newspaper: How can @OfstedNews win over teachers? It said:
“Allow inspectors to visit classrooms, but do not record a graded evaluation for teaching. Ofsted holds such a major – perhaps damaging – influence on educational orthodoxy and any sound regime, would be one that improved the quality of education, and not have teachers second-guessing pedagogical preferences.
Hold all schools to account, consider different types of inspections, but allow the data to speak for itself! When meeting with Mike Cladingbowl in February 2014 (Ofsted’s Director of Schools) he was prepared to consider this. He stated that Ofsted wanted to engage with teachers and schools, but how they go about this is another issue.” (Comment in full)
To say I had my ‘ear-to-the-ground’ would indeed be true. I had indications that this news was coming and it is proof, that Mike Cladingbowl is true to his word and does want to improve the reputation and overall effectiveness of Ofsted. regardless of what we may thing of inspections, this can only indicate that the new-Ofsted want to take our views into account.
We have seen this already in our initial meeting in February; more recently with Mike saying that he wants all ‘rogue inspectors’ held to account and also in third-party contracts with Tribal and Serco, brought back in-house in 2015, to employ inspectors directly.
And today this: Why I want to try inspecting without grading teaching in each individual lesson.
So, what are the key points?
- That inspectors must always visit classrooms and see teachers and children working.
- That we can give a different grade for teaching than we do for overall achievement.
- No aggregated grades. No more grades recorded on EFs.
- Instead, inspectors will record what is going well, and what is going less well, and use this to feed back to teachers.
- Looking across a range of children’s work (in books), establishing how well children acquire knowledge (student conversations), understanding the teachers’ own views, observing direct practice, and checking on the views of children and parents.
- Concerns that ineffective and unnecessary lesson observation is (still) going on in too many of our schools.
- That individual lesson check-lists that are aligned to specific behaviours are not helpful.
- Headteachers should decide how to assess teaching – and what style of teaching they want – in their school.
- Schools nor individuals should use inspection to justify their own particular view.
- Inspection should take a pragmatic view.
- The pilot starts from 9 June 2014, across the Midlands region.
And my favourite:
- It’s equally unhelpful to advocate traditional methods only as it is to favour only progressive ones. Traditional versus progressive, false dichotomies or otherwise, might make for an interesting debate when it’s underpinned by evidence but in most classrooms teachers do a bit of both these days. Put another way, children need facts but also need to develop the skills to use those facts.
As Mike states: “While (I am) he is confident that most inspectors have got the message, I fear it is not yet established firmly enough in schools.”
Mike ends his document with a question for the reader. Rather than considering evaluating teaching on the same issues. For example, activities set; questioning; meeting the needs of students etc. Why not consider the teacher’s subject knowledge; routines; humour; a change of lesson-plan (mid-sentence); and a common-sense approach to differentiation.
Hallelujah! Let us hope that this does “lead to better inspection and (to) more good teaching in schools”.
Hurrah for @OfstedNews!
If you are reading this blog. Emai it NOW to all your staff; we can control our own fate. Share this with your leadership teams where the message has NOT got through. Download the actual document Ofsted: NO MORE grades and present an unbiased viewpoint of the article to your staff.
Spread the word. NO MORE GRADES…
n.b. I’ve cobbled this together very quickly. I will redraft shortly.