Official Farce Staged Throughout Education Daily
Official Farce Staged Throughout Education Daily
Official Farce Staged Throughout Education DailyPicture a word: a word that’s frightful; a word that is so feared, so intimidating, so threatening, that it makes teachers across the country tremble and cower. A word that echoes through school hallways and staff meetings…That word: Ofsted.“Ofsted?” Yes, Ofsted! The beast that lives in the belly of British schools, the horror in the headteacher’s head, the torment in the teacher’s brain… and the pain in the pupil’s butt! I’ll gladly inform you that the anticipation of an Ofsted visit severely obliterates teacher/pupil relationships with the ring of a phone; suddenly we’re background noise, a walking grade. Secret Teacher tells us that “We talk about [Ofsted] far more than any of our children in staff meetings.” Well, it seems that in this whirlwind warzone of being an adolescent in education, we’re required to fight: fight for the best grades, battle against other schools for the top results and apparently, compete with Ofsted for the attention of our teachers.If that isn’t enough to make you despise the troop of inspectors armed with clipboards and a visitor’s badge, we can refer to the long mental log I have built up over many, many years… How about the fact that Ofsted has the magical ability to turn teachers into gibbering idiots? Not only for the 18 months of anticipation of preparing and practicing and waiting and wondering and withering with self-doubt and anxiety, but the six weeks prior spent prepping and perfecting and performing but, of course, the finale: the long awaited nine hours of smiling and stressing, working and wishing, teaching and trying, creating and crying and wanting it all to be over… Before the cycle begins again. Ofsted is the God of education, put on a pedestal they are not truly deserving of, “All in the hope that you will bestow a favourable report upon us and then just leave us alone” (please). It’s a system designed to intimidate teachers into doing their best, threatened with the prospect of being deemed not quite perfect. Was Ofsted ever about quality control, or has it always been about pressuring teachers and pupils to be on their best behaviour?

What’s more, the pedantic, patronising fools we trust to assess our schools, pick fault with the slightest glitch in the system, the most stupid things that no-one cares about! For example, who can honestly say that they actually care that a school in Devon is “too white?” Sorry Ofsted, I’m sure the whole area can work on being more racially diverse for the purposes of your next inspection. Furthermore, the school has indulged their outlandish wishes and organised a sleepover with a school in London so the children can “gain a better a better understanding of multicultural Britain” and have “an experience of urban living.” These weren’t issues that the school was concerned with before they missed out on that oh so desired ‘Outstanding’ rating, they are simply excuses pitched to parents as a quest to boost their grade. Hearing of such a case raises a question in my mind: How far are schools willing to go to satisfy Ofsted’s lofty expectations? Additionally, how much are the school actually helping the kids, by sending them to peer at children of different races like zoo animals? Though, if we look closely into reasons why Ofsted nit-pick so unnecessarily, we can see: there are none! What if it were all a ruse to prove Ofsted’s purpose? Since, if all the schools which were worthy of Outstanding, without the incessant nit-picking, achieved this, would Ofsted be needed? Perhaps this is a way to make their jobs accountable?  Some might say that the Trojan Horse scandal is a perfect example of why we need Ofsted; it has highlighted schools in conditions of great concern. However, it is also a perfect example in which we can question the efficiency of the judgement of the assessors. I say this because, Park View School was previously rated as Outstanding, the grade every school across the country craves and works so hard to obtain. Nevertheless, during their next inspection, they plummeted to lowest of the low, the rating of your worst nightmares: Inadequate! I have difficulty believing that the quality of a school can decrease so rapidly and so very severely, in the space of two inspections. Really, what has to happen for a school to plummet to the bottom? This begs the question, is it a result of poor judgement? Perhaps an inconsistency of capability in the system? Or perhaps it is down to a lack of consistency. If two inspectors were to visit the same school a few weeks apart without any communication between them… Would anything change?

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