Ofsted’s messages are not trusted by many senior leaders still. I’m not sure how many heads refer to the Ofsted website. My anecdotal experience is that they place the highest value on the latest reports, especially those in the local area. I have referred ex-colleagues who are SLT and SLT I work with as a consultant to the relevant websites that state the freedoms they have and can’t be criticised for exercising. I have been met with the same response -‘they say that but…’ and so they carry on with their current practices regardless of whether they are effective or not because it’s what Ofsted really want.
So Sean Harford’s latest set of tweets were interesting and depressing at the same time. No sooner have certain measures been put it, it seems that they are not really supported by those saying they do. More to the point, I’ve been directing some of these people to Ofsted and him to see that schools and teachers really do have certain freedoms. So I am a bit perturbed that on the back of a report of how independent schools perform better than state schools I read the following (these are representative but not all the tweets by any means):
No-one is tweeting their views by accident.
You can’t claim that you have no preference and teachers can teach based on traditional, progressive or a mixture and then state that mixed economy wins.
To state that mixed economy wins on the back of Independent School Reports which are based on progress made in a single observed lesson, with no triangulation between observation, books and results is disingenious at worst and irresponsible at best.
So really there is a way of teaching. Traditional teachers are once again given the message that using methods they have tried and proved to be ineffective are part of being a good teacher. Results are not sufficient. Accountability still involves proving you use certain methods and inspectors will no doubt want to see evidence of this.
It is clearly advocating for progressivism through the back door and that’s not good enough. It feels like we are being cut off at the knees before have even really begun.
What most SLT I know fear is not having kept up to date with the latest in Ofsted thinking. It is this fear that stops them from changing, taking risks and exercising the autonomy they have been given in recent time.
As it stands I will be going back in on Wednesday and I’ll just have to deal with it if my ex- colleagues in SLT point out that once again Ofsted say one thing and mean another. And that it has just been demonstrated by the very person I said could be relied on.