Teaching Ideas To Bin: Ofsted Gradings

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John Dabell

I trained as a primary school teacher 25 years ago, starting my career in London and then I taught in a range of schools in the Midlands. In between teaching jobs, I worked as an Ofsted inspector (no hate mail please!), national in-service provider, project...
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Do you still grade lessons Ofsted-style?

If OfSTED removes the teaching and learning grade from the school inspection process altogether, then there will ZERO reason for ANY school to continue to grade teachers/lessons. If your school still does this from September 2019, RUN!

I was hoping to hear that school inspections are becoming less high-stakes, but sadly this is still not the case. Only two out of 513 schools have challenged their overall outcome in the past 12 months. Ofsted gradings are something I would like to see banished forever in schools and colleges across the U.K. I can’t imagine there will be many people who disagree, but if you do, let me know why they shouldn’t be put in the bin.

We can already see the impact on teacher recruitment that OfSTED gradings have for schools; there is much to do here and the debate is largely out of our hands, but there is hope. We can also see the impact our blogs are having on Amanda Spielman and Nick Gibb in their speeches – so, let’s keep the blog exposure high-profile.

Not Yet Good

If we cannot settle for ending Ofsted grades, then what? I’d settle for the four-scale overall judgement to simply ‘good’ or ‘not yet good’ – but that already looks like this is not going to happen.

While I’m at it, let’s reduce the need for reliance on data to determine how well a school is performing – perhaps move to a three-year average – as highlighted by Loic Menzies. This would certainly help resolve the teacher-retention crisis we have. It would also reduce any ‘football manager syndrome’ we see evolving in our school system for those who get a bad year of results.

Schools, Multi Academy Trusts and local authorities have little idea if their value-added schools have been calculated correctly … accepting that the termination of their jobs or the closure of the schools is a fair decision based on solid analyses.

Jury: I’d think twice before working in a challenging school again – where the possibility of an ‘Outstanding’ grade is elusive.

Read the rest of the Teaching Ideas that TT thinks we should Bin in 2018!

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