Name and shame

12th May 2000 at 01:00
"Name and shame" is one of those sad slogans that has crept into education in recent years. Most ordinary people, except a significant section of those in authority, want freedom of information and speech, but it's hard not to be cynical when you look around. It appears that we only get limited information about the relatively powerful.

Take schools for example. They're inspected by OFSTED, and parents of pupils and prospective pupils, quite understandably, want to see what the inspectors have to say, so the results are posted on to the Net for the whole world to see. But what happens when quality assurance takes place in other areas of education? Er, let's keep this among ourselves eh? The Teacher Training Agency is responsible for quality assurance in the national ICT raining scheme for teachers. But if my school was about to start the Lottery-funded training and I wanted up-to-date qualitative information about the trainers before I spent my much-valued training allowance, would I get that from the TTA? I doubt it.

I have heard that one set of NOF trainers, the Centre for British Teachers and the Technology Colleges Trust, has fallen foul of the TTA's quality assurance checks. All that comes from direct questions, however, are less than direct answers. If I was a head, would I have access to the information I needed? I doubt it. But if it was the other way around, the report on my school would be available worldwide. Double standards? Maybe OFSTED should be brought into this scheme - and publish the results on its website.

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