Change the framework

15th December 2000 at 00:00
I spent eight years as an LEA adviser, first as county science adviser, then general secondary adviser, before returning to teaching as deputy head in a large 11-16, comprehensive school. This has given me a perspective as both gamekeeper and poacher.

I am sure that we need to start again. The current OFSTED set-up has to be scrapped and a new framework for the evaluation of schools' effectiveness developed.

The new framework needs to take account of the changed context in which schools are now operating. Perhaps the most compelling reason for starting again is the fact the OFSTED framework was developed from an unhelpful premise. It was fundamentally about accountability, rooting out failure, naming and shaming.

Clear out te dust and the bogies about bad teachers. Give back to schools and the LEA, or some other parent body (regional or national) the responsibility to evaluate and improve. Use external inspection to audit the review and evaluation going on in schools.

Remove the requirement to publish cheap, eye-catching newspaper headlines about sophisticated, professional and technical findings about school performance in local or national press.

Above all, stop pillorying the schools who are working with the most challenging youngsters in difficult city schools, often with staff recruited from those few left after the fortunate schools have selected from the pool of teachers available.

C E Embrey Bay Tree House Shelwick, Hereford


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