The news that OFSTED have revealed around 30 per cent of secondary schools are giving cause for concern should rattle the cage at the Department of Education. The main cause, according to eminent Headteachers is a consequence of the flood of educational initiatives, curriculum changes and the need to continually adjust targets.
The role of OFSTED as the educational standards police is currently very one sided. It correctly reveals current educational performance but fails in what its secondary role should be. Their analysis of the exceptional school should be recorded and introduced at those that are struggling. Although this has been achieved in limited circumstances by introducing the executive head where a skilled head teacher runs several schools, the effect is to dilute the development of the good school. Instead the Department of Education could amass a team of “parateachers” able to be allocated to failing schools to help turn them around.
We have said this many times and although entirely theoretical in concept, not least from where would such support teachers be recruited, the current form of whipping the bad schools has achieved little return. On the BBC this morning one Headteacher stated he and his school get more far greater benefit from a proactive visit from a school mentor than any OFSTED inspection.
The UK is slipping down the world league table in educational standards. Whilst there is some criticism of the way these performance standards are analysed, the situation at home revealed by the OFSTED report cannot be so criticised. The key in any party manifesto for the next general election should focus on exactly how they intend to resolve the standard of education in the UK.