Sean Harford, National Director, Education, introduces a rejuvenated Ofsted blog
I am pleased to welcome you all to Ofsted’s new look TES blog. Not only do we have a different appearance, but a fresh approach. You will find a mix of shorter and longer pieces here covering Ofsted’s work in schools, further education and skills, and early years, as well as links to our films and other content. We will use these pages to share findings and evidence gathered from our survey work, raise issues of interest to the sectors and also try to help improve understanding about what we do and how we do it.
You won’t just be hearing from me on this blog. You’ll hear about our thematic surveys, Ofsted speakers at conferences, the work of our national leads and much more. I know there is a lot of interest out there about what Ofsted expects to see on inspection - and a lot of questions. As time passes I hope you will find this blog answers some of those, adds some clarity to your queries and gives you a better understanding of our work.
Those of you who keep an eye on my Twitter feed will know I am regularly attending events around the country; from time to time I will share thoughts on some of those with you. The wide-ranging conversations I hear at these events always confirm the ongoing appetite for information about how Ofsted operates.
One thing that people often mention is the myths that build up around inspection. We do have a mythbusting document (Ofsted inspections: myths) which helps to explain our approach. We have been doing a lot of work to promote this, online and through the teaching associations, so by now I had hoped that most people would have seen it. But, when I shared it on Twitter recently I was surprised to discover how many people are still unaware of it. So do please take a look. This year I truly hope we can banish the phrase, ‘Just do it for Ofsted’.
What concerns me most are the snake oil salesmen who claim to offer a shortcut to Ofsted success. Schools do not need to put themselves through Mocksteds or invest in costly programmes on the promise of a better Ofsted outcome. We all should focus on the same thing – how to make sure all children are getting the best possible education at every stage.
I encourage everyone to watch our set of short mythbusting films and we will keep sharing them on the blog over the coming weeks and months. The eight films cover subjects such as self-evaluation, not grading individual lessons and the fact that Ofsted doesn’t expect to see a particular quantity of work in pupils' books.
We also have a mythbusting film on marking and I am aware there has been a lot of discussion on various forums about this; I would urge you to take a look. We are very clear that it is for schools to make a decision about how they want teachers to mark. We are not looking for a particular style of marking, just what schools are doing to support pupils’ achievement.
We look forward to engaging with you through this blog; and if there is a topic you would like to see covered, or a new myth that you think needs busting, you can always let us know via twitter @Ofstednews or @HarfordSean.