Imagine working in a crap school?
If we fall for the rhetoric of progress 8 metrics, then as a measure of our success celebrate them ourselves when it suits, we only have ourselves to blame for fuelling a high-stakes accountability system in England.
Only last week, someone wrote to me promoting the fact that they could determine the success of a school – and I use that word loosely – within 30-seconds! God forbid anyone believes that they can do such a thing.
Don’t be fooled by the grades …
There is not one person on planet Earth who can visit a school over two days and make a reliable judgement of a school. It’s that simple, but the proof will be in the pudding when schools begin to experience Ofsted’s new magic wand – which is essentially doing the same thing. For the vast majority of state schools, they may never see an Ofsted inspector under the new framework because it will take at least 5 years for inspectors to visit all schools.
Is your school stuck?
Superb data analysis by FFT Education Datalab highlights that as of the end of 2017/18:
- 102 were rated outstanding;
- 723 were rated good;
- 286 were rated satisfactory or requires improvement;
- 134 were rated inadequate;
- 116 had either closed outright or been involved in a complex reorganisation that had resulted in pupils moving to different schools.
As the chart below shows, 14% of the 1,400 became ‘stuck’, and a further 6% either closed before becoming good.
Choose to work in a tough area?
It appears to be a tougher gig for teachers who choose to work in schools around the East Midlands and Humberside, those who are more likely to become stuck or closed. Schools in these regions, or ‘stuck’ schools so to speak, tend to have greater proportions of white British, free school meals-eligible pupils and have lower average attainment on entry.
Find me one school that does not want to improve. Find me any school in England that doesn’t face any of the challenges all schools are facing? Find me any school that has never struggled to recruit new teachers? Oh, and whilst you’re pondering those answers, if you take a little to long to make any suggestions, someone may just label you and your institution as ‘stuck’ or requiring improvement. We want rapid progress, and Ofsted wanted it yesterday.
Let’s stop pretending that this is all a school thing, rather than an out-of-school thing. And whilst I’m at it, stop believing you can judge a school in 30 seconds!
In 2014, Ofsted dropped the grading of lessons because of the evidence against it. The weight of argument against grading institutions is even greater. Stop grading schools – and we may save the teaching profession from potential disaster.