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In defence of Ofsted ...

(11 Posts)
paperdiary4ever Sun 10-Nov-13 22:39:15

I was going through some old school books yesterday, and found a biology exercise book from the equivalent of Year 9 in 1985/6. It was full of beautifully written descriptions and diagrams in my best 14-year-old handwriting. As I was looking at it the memories flooded back of the teacher dictating aloud from a book, as we wrote it all down, and the handouts of diagrams that we had to copy perfectly to avoid caustic comments.

The same happened in physics, but the teacher used to write the text on the board for us to copy, and then we had to learn definitions off by heart - I can still remember the one about "the lightning conductor". Thankfully we got a different physics teacher higher up the school, otherwise I'd never have chosen it as an option. I avoided biology though, because I couldn't stand the thought of more dictation.

Some of my teachers were inspiring, but those two stick in my mind as being monumentally rubbish, and there were others too.

I'm sure there are still rotten teachers, but presumably not quite so rotten as that. They just wouldn't get away with it in the era of the Ofsted inspection. Of course I'm sure teachers are much better trained now. But what came first, better teacher training or the Ofsted inspection?

IndiansInTheFuckerLobby Sun 10-Nov-13 22:42:36

I was saying to my friend today how pretty much everything I was 'taught' was dictation. I think inspections are important-just not the way that it is now done. It's gone ridiculously far in my opinion.

IndiansInTheFuckerLobby Sun 10-Nov-13 22:43:04

Dictated even! Loooonggg day.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 10-Nov-13 22:49:04

Ofsted do very little except justify their own existence.

rabbitstew Sun 10-Nov-13 22:51:38

Better teacher training? I don't think Ofsted was established until 1992, yet teacher training has been developing and changing for a great many years. It's also only very recently that outstanding teaching became a compulsory part of an outstanding Ofsted (probably around about the same time Ofsted started contracting its work out more and more, thus reducing its own quality and consistency of judgment?...).

EvilTwins Sun 10-Nov-13 23:23:04

That's bugger all to do with ofsted.

ravenAK Sun 10-Nov-13 23:30:49

Yup, what EvilTwins said.

I happened upon an old A-Level Eng Lit essay of mine the other week. Total bobbins. I'd expect considerably more of the B/C target GCSE year 10 students I teach now.

But I don't think we got from there to here because of Ofsted.

BackforGood Sun 10-Nov-13 23:52:52

Nowt to do with OFSTED.
I never had any teachers who spent their whole time dictating, and I was a school a good decade before you.

paperdiary4ever Mon 11-Nov-13 09:31:10

"I never had any teachers who spent their whole time dictating ..."

BackforGood, I'm sure lots of other people didn't either, and they'll always be the ones who say "education was much better in my day, etc etc". The fact is that, across the board, I don't think it was. There was no consistency, and no way to root out pockets of inadequacy. Those that were least well educated had no voice, and had fewer champions than they have now.

I think a combination of Ofsted, better teacher training, and parental scrutiny (facilitated by Mumsnet and the like, of course) creates a more level playing field. It's nowhere near perfect, but it's getting better. Perhaps the Ofsted methods need to be refined, but I wouldn't want to go back to the days of minimal inspection. If they weren't allowed in to scrutinise our schools I think parents would be banging on the door to do the job instead, or we'd all just have to rely on "word of mouth" and league tables.

Certainly my 9 year old is a lot better educated than I was at the same age, and I'd like to bet most other mums here would say the same about their own kids.

clam Mon 11-Nov-13 15:36:47

My dh says that the only times in school he spent copying down dictated notes ad infinitum was when he was at a (highly expensive) private school.

rabbitstew Mon 11-Nov-13 20:58:16

paperdiary4ever - I'm not sure many parents really have a clue what's going on in their children's classrooms, and there does still seem to be a colossal amount of inconsistency between schools, only likely to increase significantly with all the governmental changes being made.

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