Attitudes to OfSTED

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What are teachers’ attitudes towards the school inspectorate, OfSTED? 

For regular readers, you will have noticed that I have recently spoken out about inadequate demands made from inspectors during an OfSTED inspection, as well as the impact that an inspection can have on you, your colleagues and your school community. No wonder we are losing good teachers to the profession.

In this post, I share ‘Teacher Attitude’ to OfSTED research (July 2017). I’m also starting to question OfSTED’s independence …

Before I do, I want to highlight a few statements made by Sean Harford in his latest blog, ‘Progress, but a lot of work still to do‘.

Harford says:

“We know that teacher workload is a genuine concern and that, whether through reality or perception, the industry of ‘things that you must do for Ofsted’ has added to that burden.”

Headlines from the research suggest:

  • 81% knew that OfSTED don’t require individual lesson plans.
  • 70% knew that we don’t have guidance on preferred ways of marking.
  • 74% knew that we don’t grade individual lessons. (I wonder why 50% of schools still grade lessons?)
  • 70% of teachers still seem to think OfSTED has a preferred, child-centred, style of teaching.
  • 56% appreciate that most [not all] inspection teams include a serving school leader.

I wonder how many OfSTED inspectors are part or full-time classroom teachers?

Teacher Attitudes

The main objective of the ‘Teachers’ awareness and perceptions of OfSTED survey’ was to provide OfSTED with robust and timely evidence from classroom teachers to explore perceptions and help improve the way OfSTED communicates with teachers; plus measure understanding of OfSTED’s ‘myth busting’ campaign.

I’ve taken a read through the 45-page document and offered a summary below.

Attitudes towards OfSTED

An online survey was carried out between 8th and 21st February 2017, with a total number of 1,026 teachers responding; 395 primary and 631 secondary. The survey targeted teachers across England and cover all age-ranges, gender and school type.

You can view some of the headline data in the images below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As length of service increases, agreement that OfSTED acts as a reliable and trusted source, or a force of improvement decreases. I wonder why this is the case? Are we long in the tooth, or wiser?

Attitudes towards Inspections

If you work in an Outstanding school, you are less likely to receive an OfSTED inspection.

Research Sound Bites

  • Page 15 – Primary school teachers are more likely to be observed by an OfSTED inspection team than secondary school teachers.
  • Page 16 – 70% of teachers feel they had no or little opportunity to feed their views and contribute to the whole experience of their school being inspected. (That’s a high number!)
  • Page 17 – 30% of teachers working in a school with a Requires Improvement rating, believe inspectors were off-hand and intimidating.

Page 20

  • Page 18 – 57% of teachers feel the final judgement reached by the inspection team was a fair and accurate assessment. (That still leaves a whopping 43%!)
  • Page 19 – 44% of teachers agree that inspection is an important and necessary method of monitoring performance and holding schools to account. (I do too, but not under it’s current guise.)

Awareness of OfSTED Publications

Teachers with less experience are less likely to know about OfSTED publications.

Thank goodness our senior leaders share the latest guidance, but you could be forgiven for every teacher to think that “this is what we are doing because OfSTED says” so … in teacher training days up and down the country.

  • Page 25 – 20% of teachers disagree that OfSTED’s research contributes to the general understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in England’s education system.
  • Page 26 – 81% of teachers set aside some time in an average week to read relevant educational information.

You can download the full report here.

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