Ofsted has lost its focus

18 Apr

Voice has broadly welcomed the Commons Education Committee's Report, The role and performance of Ofsted.

General Secretary Philip Parkin said: "Ofsted has become too broad and unwieldy and has lost its focus. A less bureaucratic and burdensome system would be welcome.

"Ofsted has been heavily criticised over the years for its methods and practice by everyone from educationalists to MPs and more recently by Plymouth's Local Safeguarding Children Board. It has even been described as 'not fit for purpose'.

"Ofsted suffers from a tediously repetitive habit of pandering to the Government and the media by being negative, instead of accentuating the many positives in education. This approach creates the impression of a culture of failure and gives a negative impression to parents.

"Voice is also concerned that there is a lack of balance in Ofsted's approach. Ofsted no longer inspects outstanding schools although, under the new framework, they will able to request one in order to confirm their performance, but they might be asked to pay.

"Exempting outstanding schools from inspection is like giving a car that's passed its MOT exemption from all further tests unless someone reports it for going through a red light. As time passes and the head, staff and pupils change, so will the school. There's no guarantee that it will remain 'outstanding'.

"On the one hand, we have schools that can escape inspection because they were once, and hopefully remain, 'outstanding' while on the other, under plans proposed in an Ofsted consultation, a group of anonymous e-mailers could trigger an inspection, or at least a 'risk assessment', at a good school!

"There are also a number of glaring anomalies in its childcare operations.

"For example, Ofsted is unable to demand nannies return their certificate of registration if, following inspection, they have been disqualified and deregistered from the Voluntary Ofsted Register.

"Ofsted was not given legal powers to insist that providers whose registration is cancelled return their registration certificate. This means that, in England, an unscrupulous nanny who has been disqualified from working with children could show parents who are prospective employers her Ofsted certificate of registration and they would not know that the nanny had been found unsuitable to work with children.

"This is outrageous and endorses our belief that when the voluntary part of the Childcare Register was introduced it was merely to pay lip service to demands from the sector to bring the growing number of home childcarers in line with the safeguarding measures considered necessary for all other forms of childcare and early years provision.

"A single UK national register for all working with children and young people would be much simpler and more effective than the current complicated, confusing plethora of compulsory and voluntary registers. The Laming report called for a single system to end confusion. Instead we have even more registers! Compulsory registration would also protect and raise the status of professional trained nannies."

Let us know your views on Ofsted….

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2 Responses to “Ofsted has lost its focus”

  1. Richard Fraser 19. Jul, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    From article in The Guardian by Trevor Fisher (editor of Education Politics) and Lord Hunt (shadow deputy leader of the opposition in the House of Lords):

    “It is currently suggested that Grade 1 schools as approved by Ofsted might become exempt from inspection. But no school however good comes with a guarantee of permanent success. Standards can and do slip.

    “In its briefing to the Lords, Ofsted revealed that 31% of schools graded outstanding in an inspection do not maintain this standard in the next inspection.

    “Given that top grading allows inspections to be postponed, it is clear that nearly one third of outstanding schools take their foot off the gas when the regular inspection is not imminent. How much worse will the situation become if they have no regular inspection at all?

    “Ofsted is planning a ‘metric’ system, where data on schools will be checked to trigger an inspection if problems are indicated. But data can be massaged, and in any case will only be gathered three years after a school inspection. If problems are indicated, HMI will conduct a desk check of the data. Only if they then decide that there is a case for inspection will Ofsted actually go into a school. By that point, a school with problems would have damaged the education of a large number of children. Metrics are not acceptable.”


    • Jaylen 27. Jul, 2011 at 7:59 am #

      Very true! Makes a cahgne to see someone spell it out like that. :)

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