School Inspections Achieve Little

News / May 25, 2009

ByAlistair Owens Keen2learn
Now I always tend to listen to an ex insiders view. They are blessed with a viewpoint unfettered by politics and recrimination. They say it as it is. So it comes as  a shock to hear that Chris Woodhead,  who stepped down as chief inspector of schools in 2000, said that Ofsted has become “part of the problem” in the education system. Ouch! “Ofsted is largely an irrelevance these days. The inspectors spend a few minutes within classrooms, they don’t see every teacher teach, it is an exercise driven by the analysis of the data,” he told The Economist.

So if the ex top guy is openly critical of the system there probably really is a huge issue just below the surface. We can land men on the moon (when the world could afford it) but we still can’t organise the schooling of children. Instead we send in the education police in a frantic attempt to audit the performance who have no the time to finish the job. Schools are torn apart and left to their own devices to solve the issue. School governors sack the head as a sacrifice to show alacrity in the report then realise nobody really wants to take over in a situation that could be terminal.

Why not enlist the skill of the Ofsted inspectors to solve the problem. I’ve banged on about this before; by all means select schools that re failing, but don’t report on the failing and then run. Stay put and help the teaching resources put a plan into action to resolve them. In commerce these guys are called business angels. They are called in by ailing companies to help put things right. Anybody can be a critic, we need  the guy who can turn things around and hand it back working. Wonder if Gordon Ramsay is free at the moment. OK we may need to rewrite the English curriculum afterwards but I’m certain he would shake things up with a plan rather than writing a quick report and running away.

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