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Hungry for feedback

We concur with the comment by Tim Brighouse and Ted Wragg in the report "Abolish 'crude' OFSTED" (TES, September 22) that the Office for Standards in Education is geared to focus on structure and administration, but that this is rather too vague for individual teachers, who are assumed to be "propelled by organisation charts and policy statements".

We suggest that school improvement is only comprehensive when individual teachers make changes, however small, in their own practice in their own classes. Our own research demonstrates not only that teachers have more intention to change their practice if they receive any form of feedback from inspectors after classroom observation, but that feedback which is specific (whether this is perceived as criticalprescriptive or constructiverelevant) is more effective in terms of change than bland feedback. Teachers feel very angry that, having had an experienced professional watching them perform the complex task of teaching a class, feedback is often not offered.

If there was one thing that OFSTED could offer to enable improvement following inspection, it would be a legitimate mechanism to deliver, in private, the sort of helpful, non-patronising, constructive feedback that would help teachers make informed improvements.

MARIAN SHAW

MICHAEL ORMSTON

Oxford Brookes University

Wheatley Campus, Wheatley, Oxford

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