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NOW CLOSED Please take a few minutes to read Ofsted's proposals for changes to how they inspect schools and fill in their survey about it

(114 Posts)
TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 27-Mar-12 11:30:47

Ofsted is currently running a consultation on how they inspect schools and potential changes that may be introduced.

They'd like more parents to take part in the consultation and have their say about how improvements can be made, and the steps Ofsted should take to help raise standards in schools.

Here's what Ofsted say about it: "In the consultation, we are focusing on the key areas of inspection that we believe will help those who provide education to improve children's chances of success. This consultation provides an opportunity to comment on proposals that Ofsted would like to introduce from 1 September 2012."

Ofsted would like you to complete their short survey, but before you do, please download and read the background info here so that you're familiar with the proposals, and are able to answer the questions in the survey. Once you've done that, please click on the link below to complete the survey (please note that the survey and questions look a bit different to others you may have seen on MN because it's an Ofsted survey rather than a MN one).

www.surveymonkey.com/s/ofsted-gefa-sch

This is an opportunity to have your say on issues which impact on children's education. If you can spare the time to take part, please do.

Thanks
MNHQ

bubby64 Thu 29-Mar-12 13:48:51

I feel there should be some notice, even if it is 24hrs before, just for courtsy sake. For instance, if they had come to inspect my kids school yesterday, all of KS2 (65kids) were on a educational trip, they left at 8am and returned at 4.15pm! Another big problem with the whole inspection thing is the amount of time given for each inspection is not enough, how can you judge a school in the time already given, and because there will be extra inspections to get done, these will be done over shorter and shorter period. This is all very well and good, but the big thing is the money side of things. In many cases if a school were to be graded as "needing improvement", one big factor would be have the facilities available and in good order, and also being able to attract the right type of staff to the posts. All this is dependant on money, and we keep being told by the goverment that this is the one thing they will struggle to provide! Finaly, yes, the whole concept of the good grade is wrong, as everyone cannot be "above average", its a mathmatical impossibility!

TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 29-Mar-12 15:39:57

Thanks to everyone who's taken part and/or added their comments to the thread so far. Ofsted would like to respond to a few of the points raised:

Q from Hassled: Have they not only just launched a new Framework for Inspection? What are they trying to do to us? Here Framework from Jan 2012. That's 2 months old. I'm assuming that Framework remains but the semantics change. Will read and digest and then complete the survey but my initial thoughts are that Ofsted have their work cut out to implement any significant changes by September.

A "Ofsted introduced a new school inspection framework in January 2012. This framework raises expectations and gives a very strong focus on the importance of teaching. We want to do more for our children; they deserve the best education we can provide. All schools must be at least good so that our country’s children have the best possible chances in life, and an outstanding school must be truly outstanding in every way. It should be a model of excellence."

Q from KnottyLocks: I fail to see how my sexual orientation or which gender I am living as is relevant to their survey. I appreciate I do not have to tick that box but feel they shouldn't ask nonetheless. If they are to give no notice prior to inspections, how the hell can they guarantee the Head Teachers will be on site? – we capture this info because XXX – none of this information is mandatory to have your say

A "Ofsted in complying with and applying the Equality Act 2010 understands the importance of including all our protected characteristics, one of which is sexual orientation. By monitoring the consultation responses by the these characteristics we are able to see if all sexual orientations are happy with our policies or whether there are specific concerns we should consider. These questions are optional for all respondents."

Q from Blu/Balia: I am in some sort of circular loop where every time I click on the link for what I think I need to read it takes me back to where I was....could we have a link directly to the paper we should read?

A "Apologies for this, you can access survey directly via www.surveymonkey.com/s/ofsted-gefa-sch, which also includes a link to the background papers."

Q from LilyBolero: Quite ironic that there is a blatant spelling mistake in the survey - apparently I am hetrosexual....

A "Thanks for letting us know, and apologies for the mistake - this has now been amended"

LilyBolero Thu 29-Mar-12 16:42:42

Thanks for the responses!

The key point I would like addressing is the idea that 'good' is the baseline acceptable standard, when in order to be good, a school must be exceeding national averages. It is simply not possible, unless you are creating a situation where 50% of schools are by definition, failling.

KatAndKit Thu 29-Mar-12 16:49:34

Ofsted inspectors can not have had a "satisfactory" mathematical education if they think ALL schools can be above average. It is like expecting ALL babies to be born above the 50th centile. It is a mathematical impossibility for all schools to improve faster than average and all pupils at those schools to make progress above and beyond the national average.

Yet schools who are not able to meet this ridiculous target will now be judged as inadequate?

Why can't they just use Good English?
Outstanding = this is an excellent school
Good= as it says on the tin
Satisfactory = children make expected progress but the school has areas where they could do better
Unsatisfactory = this school is not ensuring that pupils make good progress.

In what world of Newspeak can the word "satisfactory" now mean "not good enough"?

Obviously schools should strive to be better than average, but if you put all the schools that can't be better than average in special measures, that would mean half the schools in the country.

ONLY HALF CAN BE BETTER THAN AVERAGE!

exoticfruits Thu 29-Mar-12 17:04:25

I agree entirely LilyBolero and KitandKat. People in general don't seem to understand the term average. It is the same with DCs-the majority will be average and if most have a general IQ of 120 that will be the new average!

If most schools are good-that becomes average.

I have never understood how Ofsted managed to make satisfactory mean 'not good enough'.

exoticfruits Thu 29-Mar-12 17:06:12

I hope that Ofsted read your excellent post KitandKat.

PestoPenguin Thu 29-Mar-12 19:08:09

In our school some of the senior management team have actual teaching responsibilities (shock horror!). So, one day OFSTED will turn up unannounced and will require meetings with various people from SMT who have the specialist and in-depth knowledge of the areas they take resposibility for (e.g. English, Maths, monitoring, SEN etc). So, those staff will be pulled ot of lessons they have carefully planned, and other staff will be required to provide emergency, and hence unplanned, cover. Then, some of the inspection team will wander off to observe a variety of lessons, possibly including those where the teacher is now teaching children she doesn't know and isn't familiar with the progress of a lesson that she has had zero opportunity to plan. How is this a good idea?

I am all for not giving schools weeks and weeks to prepare, but 24-48 hrs notice seems sensible.

edam Thu 29-Mar-12 21:02:23

<applauds> katandkit.

Ofsted, are you listening? Parents aren't thick. We know that it's impossible for all schools to be above average - that just means you have created a new average.

Plain English is important. This Alice in Wonderland world where 'satisfactory' suddenly means 'not good enough' according to Ofsted is not going to help parents or children.

The 'consultation' is pretty meaningless - if you are cynical because the outcome has already been decided, if you are generous because the questions are impossible for parents to answer without better definitions and explanations - especially of the difference between 'good' and 'satisfactory but it doesn't mean satisfactory any more'.

Call me a cynic but I suspect Gove's plan is to downgrade as many schools as possible now and then miraculously by the time of the next election it will look as if they are all improving...

DPotter Thu 29-Mar-12 21:38:35

Oh how I agree and how does my gender re-assignment change my comments. Far too intrusive. If memory serves me this is the same 'more about you' stuff asked by OFSTED of adult learners during a college inspection

KatandKit - hear hear!

exoticfruits Thu 29-Mar-12 22:18:50

They may not even be there, PestoPenguin,if they come without notice.
People go on courses, meetings etc in school time-especially the Head.
It would seem sensible to arrange it the week before so that you don't have to say 'I'm sorry the Literacy coordinator has taken her class to London for the day!'

edam Thu 29-Mar-12 22:21:25

Just trying to fill in the survey and it's already gone wrong - Ofsted, have you not heard of parent governors? We exist at every single state school, so why on earth have you made the first question impossible to answer if you are both?

exoticfruits Thu 29-Mar-12 22:29:49

I am not going to bother-being cynical I think they have already decided.

AndiMac Fri 30-Mar-12 10:28:55

If these are proposals for September 2012, the only thing this survey is for is for them to plan their PR when people complain about any changes. They don't care what we think, they just want to know what people will say about it beforehand so they can put the right spin on it.

senua Fri 30-Mar-12 10:55:47

I agree that it is a done deal but I don't think that the answer to that is apathy. If enough people complain then politicians eventually take notice. It might be too late for Sep2012 but if they take it on board for next time (because there will be a next time) then there may be a happier outcome.

PestoPenguin Fri 30-Mar-12 13:09:45

I think it's likely that they want more schools to fail so that they can either close them (and allow the opportunity for more free schools with less regulation) or get them taken over, eg by companies and/or the academy process. I don't support either of these things.

Edam, obviously you have to fill it in twice, once as a parent and once as a governor wink.

DamselInDisarray Fri 30-Mar-12 13:56:33

I'm sure they have already decided. Why else structure a consultation around so little information that it's impossible for anyone to make an informed decision. It's all nonsense too. If a school is deemed 'satisfactory' it is obviously good enough, otherwise you'd decide it was 'unsatisfactory'.

I was actually quite worried about the including 'performance indicators' information for all staff. Very little information was given about this, and what little they said was very vague indeed. It sounds like an absolutely dreadful (further) bureaucratisation of teaching such that the professional attributes are reduced to a check box list. Knowing ofsted, that will be close to exactly what they have in mind.

exoticfruits Fri 30-Mar-12 14:51:54

If a school is deemed 'satisfactory' it is obviously good enough, otherwise you'd decide it was 'unsatisfactory'.

That is the one thing that I would like them to change-satisfactory should mean good enough-otherwise say so.
My dictionary says 'giving satisfaction, adequate,acceptable.'
This seems to me average. If all schools get good-then surely they are merely average -and satisfactory and outstanding becomes good and they would have to strive even harder to get be outstanding.

LilyBolero Fri 30-Mar-12 16:02:08

They want to amalgamate satisfactory and unsatisfactory to one 'requires improvement' classification. Problem is, to be good, you have to be above average so 50% of schools by definition will be not good enough. Barking mad if you ask me!!!

letseatgrandma Fri 30-Mar-12 16:21:34

*Ofsted inspectors can not have had a "satisfactory" mathematical education if they think ALL schools can be above average. It is like expecting ALL babies to be born above the 50th centile. It is a mathematical impossibility for all schools to improve faster than average and all pupils at those schools to make progress above and beyond the national average.

Yet schools who are not able to meet this ridiculous target will now be judged as inadequate?

Why can't they just use Good English?
Outstanding = this is an excellent school
Good= as it says on the tin
Satisfactory = children make expected progress but the school has areas where they could do better
Unsatisfactory = this school is not ensuring that pupils make good progress.

In what world of Newspeak can the word "satisfactory" now mean "not good enough"?

Obviously schools should strive to be better than average, but if you put all the schools that can't be better than average in special measures, that would mean half the schools in the country.

ONLY HALF CAN BE BETTER THAN AVERAGE!*

A brilliant post here-well said. My only concern is why NOBODY in the press/government has said this already!

LilyBolero Fri 30-Mar-12 17:27:27

letseatgrandma - they have said it! Gove was asked about this very thing, he said 'they can all be rated good, if they're improving all the time'....

Will see if I can find the clip

KatAndKit Fri 30-Mar-12 17:34:10

Yes but Gove obviously hasn't read the criteria to be Good. Pupil progress needs to be better than average. Only half of pupils can make better than average progress.

They can solve this problem by dispensing with the word "average". To be rated good, a school would have to ensure that all pupils make the expected level of progress or better. There would be a nationally agreed "expected level" which would have nothing to do with averages.

it would of course be ludicrous to say that everyone has to do better than expected. If you make the expected progress then you can't, by logical definition, be unsatisfactory.

Gove is an idiot anyway.

LilyBolero Fri 30-Mar-12 17:36:20

Can't find the clip, this is the transcript of the select committee relevant bit;

"Q98 Chair: One is: if "good" requires pupil performance to exceed the national average, and if all schools must be good, how is this mathematically possible?

Michael Gove: By getting better all the time.

Q99 Chair: So it is possible, is it?

Michael Gove: It is possible to get better all the time.

Q100 Chair: Were you better at literacy than numeracy, Secretary of State?

Michael Gove: I cannot remember."

KatAndKit Fri 30-Mar-12 17:43:03

That's brilliant. It proves what I said - Gove is an idiot. He can't even manage basic maths. A clever 11 year old would understand that half of any given group would be below the average.

If you are "satisfactory" and you get better all the time, but the "good" and "outstanding" schools are also getting better all the time (or else they will be downgraded) you will STILL be below average!

It is indeed possible to get better all the time. Although it is frankly quite unlikely.

The government and Ofsted need to decide what a minimum acceptable provision is. Then they can decide if each school meets that minimum standard. It should be like when you take your driving test - they don't compare you to the national average driver, you are either good enough to be let loose on the road or you aren't.

Can we have a minimum standard for Government Ministers too please?

Can we have a minimum standard for Government Ministers too please?

This please, as teachers we dispair each time a new diktat comes from the outpost of Gove.

Oh by the way has anyone else got their KJ Bible yet? Ours must be lost in the post.

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