This town is big enough for the both of us…

9th November 2018, 12:00am
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Tes Editorial

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This town is big enough for the both of us…

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/town-big-enough-both-us

We've reached the last-chance saloon for the troubled cowboy of the education world, says teacher JL Dutaut. Ofsted - which, depending on who you talk to, can be either the good, the bad or the ugly - needs to step up and save its bacon after shooting itself in the foot last week.

Trouble started many moons ago for the inspectorate and its sheriff, Amanda Spielman, made things worse after admitting that 500 schools in the UK are 'stuck' in the categories of 'requires improvement' or 'inadequate'. They have been since 2005.

What does this tell us about Ofsted's effectiveness as a driver of school improvement? In short: they're failing, says Dutaut. The only shot they've got at surviving is to ditch the existing Ofsted categories as soon as possible.

In its place, they should take on this framework:

•  Make the reports formative by identifying strengths and areas for improvements.

•  Before leaving the school, agree a date for inspectors to return based on the perceived urgency of the improvements needed.

•  Spend the time between leaving and returning brokering support from the community and other schools, instead of leaving leadership teams to ride through the hot, deserted planes of school improvement consultancy.

•  Take some ownership of the results.

Dang it, says Dutaut, it's exactly what's expected of us all anyway. A refocus of positions would mean that instead of the constant shootout between teachers and the inspectorate, everyone can ride off into the sunset together. Or at least, drink next to one another in the saloon without starting a mass brawl.

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