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No longer satisfactory

The prime minister and Ofsted announced this week that the "satisfactory" rating for schools will be changed to "requires improvement" (see page 17).

Why not simply recognise that satisfactory means satisfactory? If a school is not good enough, then it's Ofsted that is failing by giving it a classification of "satisfactory". If a school is satisfactory, then the politicians are showing their extreme ignorance both of education and of English by insisting that it isn't.


This latest move really does make you despair. There are many, many competent teachers who are conscientious professionals, but who have somewhat fragile self-esteem. This latest idiocy, which is more than just an exercise in semantics, will serve only to undermine them and reduce their confidence. These are dark days in education.


Does this mean that if a school is judged "good" then it doesn't require improvement?


We have often discussed the truthspeak meaning of the word "satisfactory". According to our beloved leader, "good enough" is not good enough. I think we should have words with his old English teachers.


Our education system is going to be the laughing stock of the world. If all schools now graded "satisfactory" become "required to improve", what percentage of our schools will be deemed "required to improve" and what does that imply about education? Outstanding and good ratings can be given only when there is capacity to continue to improve. Someone in the halls of power does not know this.


It really does make you want to give it all up, doesn't it?


There are now seminars and study courses for teachers with titles such as "Going Beyond Outstanding". We cannot all be "outstanding plus", but this does not mean that the rest of us are incompetent.


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