Teachers have responded with fury after former schools minister Lord Adonis wrote to Ofsted complaining that "many schools" are "not providing adequate online learning and support" during the coronavirus crisis.
Lord Adonis, who was parliamentary under-secretary of state for schools between 2005 and 2008 and architect of the academies movement, has been told that he is "behind the curve" and should "get some evidence" after announcing on Twitter yesterday that he had written to chief inspector Amanda Spielman to "express concern" about insufficient provision.
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I have written to Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools, to express concern that many schools are not providing adequate online learning & support during the crisis.@Ofstednews has a key role to play in monitoring schools & highlighting good & poor practice— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) April 30, 2020
Despite the initial tweet receiving a huge backlash from school staff, Lord Adonis said this morning that he doesn't "for a moment apologise" for claiming that "every state school should provide a full online learning programme" and "Ofsted should be highlighting good and poor practice".
He added that he believes "most teachers" agree with him.
I don’t for a moment apologise for saying yesterday that every state school should provide a full online learning programme & that Ofsted should be highlighting good & poor practice— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) May 1, 2020
I’ve yet to meet a parent or a motivated student who doesn’t agree. So I think do most teachers
Mary Bousted, joint-general secretary of the NEU teaching union, told Lord Adonis to do some research before condemning teachers and leaders who are doing "extraordinary" work.
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She tweeted: "Go to the @NEUnion parents’ website. Have a look at the resources for parents. Read our advice for supporting learning at home.
"Get some evidence before you condemn teachers and leaders who are doing really extraordinary work in very difficult circumstances."
Where is your evidence for this, please? Me and my team are working ridiculously hard. If you take yesterday for example I worked 14 hours. Children are getting quality online tasks, including bespoke recorded lessons for our GCSE and A Level groups as well as individual...— Hannah (@missradders) April 30, 2020
Matt Koster-Marcon, chair of edtech at the British Educational Suppliers' Association (BESA), asked: "Do you have specific examples?", adding that reasons for limited provision may include a "chronic lack of funds" and "wasted time chasing [free school meals] vouchers".
If you can do better @Andrew_Adonis feel free to volunteer your services to a school in your constituency. Perhaps you could fix EdenRed, comfort the bereaved, take care of the vulnerable and key workers children, call the children to check how they are, keep on top of the (1/2)— Lell💙 (@___batshitcrazy) April 30, 2020
Prominent headteacher Chris Dyson, of Parklands Primary School in Leeds, said: "Do you mean you are criticising schools in this time of need? Or are you saying #Ofsted were wrong (which they were obviously). Schools couldn't with two days notice create a platform to teach FT as opposed to uploading homework activities as normal."
History teacher Tom Rogers added: "Andrew, you are so behind the curve on this! It’s shocking!! Go and speak to some teachers!!"