How would Ofsted grade these eight iconic looks?

12th February 2014 at 16:14

With the news that Ofsted may place more emphasis on the way that teachers dress, we thought we'd put together a handy guide to eight iconic looks and how they might impact on your inspection scores. Two teaching experts have graded each look, and you also have the chance to have your say by taking our very special survey.

Look one: The Bullingdon Club

David "call me Dave" Cameron may be favouring the relaxed no-tie approach now he's reached Number 10, but back in the day, he favoured a rather more formal approach to his daytime attire.

The experts' view

"If these were BTEC catering student teachers, they are well dressed for restaurant waiter training. I hope they don’t spill the soup on their shirts as they serve it and let the side down."
James Williams, lecturer in science education, University of Sussex

"Not smart enough for 5D on a Friday afternoon"
Colin Richards, retired senior Ofsted HMI

Look two: Jeremy Paxman

Paxo – possibly to the dismay of the Beard Liberation Front – recently ditched his facial hair for a more clean-shaven look. In one sartorial aspect, however, he is unwavering: he doesn't like wearing a tie and you can't make him.

The experts' view

"Although Mr Paxman has tidied himself up and shaved the scruffy beard, there is a long way to go if he wishes to be taken seriously as a politics teacher. A haircut, ironed shirt and tie are a must." – JW

"Dress sense? Or dress nonsense? More to the point: why aren’t you wearing your old school tie?" – CR

Look three: Liz Hurley

Before Shane Warne, before even her regrettable decision to star in the remake of Bedazzled, Elizabeth Hurley turned heads in an LBD that managed the mean feat of upstaging her then-beau Hugh Grant.

The experts' view

"Textiles teachers should never agree to model their pupils’ creations. This is what happens when they don’t fit. The safety pins, although big, are not appropriate for teaching." – JW

"Hemline too low but otherwise fine." – CR

Look four: Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn's famous halterneck dress was first seen in Billy Wilder's The Seven Year Itch, and became notorious thanks to a classic movie pairing of skirt and air grate. 

The experts' view

"Miss Monroe may wish to show her assets as a drama and singing teacher, but sadly she is showing far too much of the wrong assets. Decorum should be the watchword for all teachers." – JW

"Hemline not high enough." – CR

Look five: The Dude

We're fairly sure that The Big Lebowski's Dude's wardrobe, though slightly eccentric, may not be totally out of place in a staffroom. That cardigan, in particular, looks like it'd see teachers through many a cold morning teaching Year 9.

The experts' view

"Undoubtedly popular with the pupils, how on earth does he think that anyone will take him seriously? The trousers must be the first thing to change!" – JW

"Excellent sartorially for a caretaker, but how well would he do as an unqualified teacher?" – CR

Look six: Peggy Olsen

Mad Men's advertising wunderkind Peggy may have some outlandish ideas in design, but she rarely thinks outside the box when it comes to her rather conservative dress sense. 

The experts' view

"Peggy is the ideal teacher. Smartly dressed, conservative. If only all ladies could follow her lead results would doubtless improve nationally! She wears Gove and Wilshaw’s couture so well." – JW

"Perfect; a mirror-image of an Ofsted inspector." – CR

Look seven: Russell Brand

Comedian Russell Brand would certainly get marks for enthusiasm in the classroom, but would his somewhat outlandish approach to clothing get him marked down by The Man?

The experts' view

"Teaching science can be hazardous, too much skin exposed (chemical splashes) and that hair would have to be tied back. I hope he returns the necklace he confiscated to the girl in question." – JW

"Pity about the hat, but otherwise perfect." – CR

Look eight: Sporty Spice

Yo, I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want
So tell me what you want, what you really, really want
I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna ha
I wanna really, really, really wanna get an outstanding grade for this lesson I've spent all sodding night replanning, thanks to you lot.

The experts' view

"A game of two halves here. From the waist down, fine for teaching good old-fashioned PE, but bra straps, cups and a bare midriff on display is unacceptable!" – JW

"Why no waist-coat?" – CR

Do you agree with our experts' assessment? Take our survey, and grade the eight looks according to Ofsted's exacting criteria – or your own.


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