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What do you think of this:Ofsted to introduce tougher standards

(22 Posts)
OrmIrian Fri 12-Jun-09 14:22:49

It will almost certainly impact on DS#1's school. A truly amazing place. Big VA score. It does great things with an intake incl many pupils that come in from primary with level 3 in SATS (and below). But it's GCSEs results are not that good although improving. It currently has an outstanding rating - well deserved according to most of the parents and pupils.

What is the point of this change? League tables will tell parents the results. Ofsted is supposed to do more and in greater depth.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 12-Jun-09 15:16:03

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smallwhitecat Fri 12-Jun-09 15:29:50

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OrmIrian Fri 12-Jun-09 19:26:39

Yes I saw that about HE. Not good. They don't trust teachers and now it appears they don't trust parents either.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 12-Jun-09 19:43:18

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smallwhitecat Fri 12-Jun-09 19:47:59

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flatcapandpearls Fri 12-Jun-09 19:56:41

I think spending more time in classroom is good and making the standards higher is fantastic. During my last OFSTED I was shocked at how little time the inspectors spent in classroom. I was also amazed that the school got a satisfactory when it clearly was not.

I have mixed feelings about results, of course an inspector should take into account the school;s intake but at the end of the day if a school is getting below 30% A-C something is wrong. I know in the case of a school I taught at it was only the very low results that got the school under the pressure from OFSTED that it needed to in.

I think VA scores can be misleading, aschool I used to a teach in had one of the best VA scores in the country but was IMO a failing school.

The thing about relying on teaching to judge a school is that too often a poor teacher will pull it out of the bag for an inspection but that in no way reflects what is really happening on a day to day basis.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 12-Jun-09 20:01:31

There are now so many different qualifications that a basic figure like % of A*-C GCSEs is pretty much meaningless IMO. Because a BTEC First National Diploma is equivalent to 4 Cs at GCSE. It isn't of course. But it takes those children out of the equation in that subject. It's a numbers game at our end of the educational spectrum. And it sucks.

flatcapandpearls Fri 12-Jun-09 20:04:04

I agree FallenMadonna I do think we may need tp move to having a figure where we just declare passes for Maths and English GCSE.

OrmIrian Fri 12-Jun-09 20:41:52

But flatcap, if you have a school whose intake is 30% lower than the national average, whose GCSE results are 5% lower than the national average how is that a failing school? Why does a school in a deprived ward have to acheive so much more to be outstanding than a school with a above average intake?

I don't argue that there needs to more detailed inspection of lessons. But I feel strongly that final results are only a small part of the whole picture.

flatcapandpearls Fri 12-Jun-09 22:44:33

I agree results are not the whole picture but they are a big part of the picture.

At a school I used to teach at we had outstanding VA probably because of the fact their primary schools were so awful.

If a school is getting below 30% a-c there must be something wrong, it may not be crap teachers of a failing school but for some reason bright or even average pupils are either not passing the exams they should do or are choosing to be educated elsewhere. Something is wrong.

cornsilk Fri 12-Jun-09 22:48:16

I've heard that there will be a greater emphasis on a school's provision for SEN and vulnerable children under the new ofsted regulations which can only be a good thing. It's not just about the exam results.

OrmIrian Sat 13-Jun-09 07:37:09

But you haven't answered my question flapcap. If a school has a 30% lower than average intake and ends up with 5% lower than average GCSE results, it is doing a good job, don't you agree?

There is a school in our town with tne of the highest GCSE results in the county. But it also has higher than average intake - much higher. DS's school currently has an outstanding rating but lower than 30% GCSE maths/English level (although I think that might have changed last summer) - but exceptionally low SATS levels in the Yr 7 intake. It has to work harder to acheive what it does.

flatcapandpearls Sun 14-Jun-09 04:51:53

Sorry wasn't ignoring you OrmIrian have been writing reports so not been on here.

It is hard to say without knowing the school but those statistics coupled with an outstanding rating make it likely that the school is doing a good job.

That school must be a very unusual one, is it being made a national challenge school, as I thought that all schools with under 30% including maths and english were being identified as "failing" schools and therefore being made challenge schools. I would be interested in further data and to visit the school, SATS data is not very reliable although usually it overstates what a child can do not the other way around.

I would not have thought it was too bold a statement to say that it is concerning when less than 1/3 of a school/s students gain a basic qualification in maths and english.

OrmIrian Sun 14-Jun-09 12:20:58

Not a problem smile

There you go! I am inordinately proud of the school and feel very privileged that my son (and DD probably) are going there. It only bothers me that it's rating is at risk because it is probably one of the things that is challenging the inertia in school reputation - ie most parents of children in the education system here were also educated in this town and they still see the school as the dive it was a few generations ago. And only by changing the demographic of the intake (ie not just the children for the surrounding very deprived ward) can the results at the other end of the school be dramatically changed.

flatcapandpearls Sun 14-Jun-09 12:51:38

I was trying to work out which school I thought it may have been one in Plymouth. When the national challenge programme was introduced there were a few outstanding schools who fell into the category.

I think I read somewhere that it takes 10 years to rebuild a school's reputation.
I think it is an issue for a school if only admits pupils of a low ability as it needs pupils of all abilities so children have someone to look up to, compete with. I have taught in a school skewed towards the lower end of the abilty scale and the one advantage was the huge confidence that quite average students had and the attention they got when in a different school they nay have gone unnoticed. However I did wonder how they would feel when they moved on and realised that they were not the cleverest anymore.

In your case I would see being classed as a challenge school as something that can only bring positives if it is an oustanding school as they will notice this. Hopefully staff will not find the process so stressfull as they are doing what is expected and it should raise results. The school will have access to funding it would not have otherwise got.

I bet you will find the new buildings will make a huge difference as well.

It is interesting that in your school the problems lie with English as in every school I have taught in Maths has been the weak area.

OrmIrian Sun 14-Jun-09 16:12:37

Thankyou for that flatcap. It is interesting to see an teacher's view.

What I find so frustrating is that there is a clear issue with the level of the pupils coming into the school and the vast majority come from the same primary. It makes you wonder what is happening in that school to make improvements hmm

janeite Sun 14-Jun-09 16:25:24

I am a teacher of English in a good to outstanding Ofsted-rated, National Challenge school. All I can say is that the obsession with 30% has been totally demoralising and has meant that all resources are focused at the grade D and E (ie 'potential C') candidates, to the detriment of the upper and lower ends of ability. This cannot be a good thing.

It is certainly not a good thing for English teachers, who, whilst being observed every time at good or outstanding, are still not 'getting enough C's' and therefore have the spotlight on them constantly.

Essentially it removes the impact from a whole school pulling together to support pupils and places it all on two departments. Also, it makes pupils believe that other subjects are less important than Maths and English and that they needn't work so hard in those subjects. Science teachers are already feeling like second-class citizens; what must history or geography teachers feel like?

Tis crap.

flatcapandpearls Sun 14-Jun-09 22:50:31

I agree a previous head of year 7 I used to wonder what was happening at primary, but having said that I could not be a primary school teacher.

I left a school that became a national challenge school, not because of that it happened after I put my notice in. I get the sense that history et al are relieved not to be at the heart of the process. Although they are still under scrutiny. At that school it is maths in particular that is under pressure and I know they are finding it hard. English is a well run department and I think they are fine with it as they are a do it by the book department, they also were a department that taught to the C grade which I never approved of tbh but from what Janeite says that is what the OFSTED want.

But things are getting better which is the point of the exercise. If I had known what was going to happen I may have stayed another few years.

But that was in a satisfactory school that was very surprised to pass its ofsted, so different to Janeite's scenario.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 14-Jun-09 23:02:00

I teach Science in a national challenge school. We are being forced to change the qualifications we offer in order to boost the schools numbers. Now, I'm not necessarily against the new qualification, but we are being forced to implement it now, at very short notice, with minimal time to plan, because next year's numbers count.

Oh, and because we are a 'low risk' national challenge school (ie we didn't get less than 30% last year and are unlikely to this year), we get all of the crap and very little of the money. Great.

OrmIrian Mon 15-Jun-09 09:16:07

There is some comfort in the fact that an outstanding/good school won't be inspected for 5 years so by that time, if all goes well, results may have improved. If they haven't I guess it does mean that something is wrong.

Lucia39 Fri 19-Jun-09 22:38:18

For those who are interested in the general direction that British education appears to be heading I would recommend a couple of programmes broadcast on Radio 4 this week [Off the Page Tuesday 16 June and The Moral Maze Wednesday 17 June].

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