Schools should refuse to take part in reality television shows about the profession as it can fuel recruitment problems, the Ofsted chief inspector has said.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, outgoing head of Ofsted, has called on school leaders to avoid participating in certain TV shows, claiming that they “reinforce the caricatures of comprehensive schools promoted by those who don’t understand them, would like to get rid of them and return to selection.”
A number of school-based shows and documentaries have been aired on UK TV in recent years, including Channel 4's "Educating..." series, which has focused on secondaries in Essex, Yorkshire, Cardiff and east London and the BBC's Tough Young Teachers, which followed a group of newly-qualified teachers. A number of pupils and teachers have become well-known after featuring in these programmes.
In a speech at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) conference this afternoon, Sir Michael stressed that recruitment issues are not just only being fuelled by a “rapacious independent sector and an improving economy” - but also by “public perceptions of the profession”.
Speaking to approximately 1,000 school leaders in Birmingham today, he claimed that ‘fly on the wall’ shows depicting schools “provide great TV but little reality”.
He added: “They inevitably focus on the sensational, at the cost of presenting a balanced picture of what goes on in our schools.The spotlight always falls on the ‘lippy’ kid and the NQT in trouble and gives a distorted view of our state system.”
The outgoing head of Ofsted stressed that the National College for Teaching and Leadership must also play its part to improve the teacher supply problem and "get ahead of the curve".
He added: "Put bluntly, the National College for Leadership has to show leadership. It has to start demonstrating that it is not a waste of space. And it certainly has to deliver more teachers to your front door. At the moment, it is letting down our system, our schools and our children, particularly in the poorest areas.”