Ofsted: rude to show up unannounced?

27th March 2009 at 00:00

The current government has a track record of extending surveillance wherever opportunity arises: CCTV in public places, storing all emails, phonecalls, and so on.

The pilot Ofsted visits are potentially a stroke of genius that put an inspector in every class, every lesson. How so? Michel Foucault put forward a powerful case for the potential impact of Bentham's prison design - the Panopticon - on prisoners.

By making prisoners fear that they are constantly watched, they begin to put themselves under self-surveillance. Prisoners are then on best behaviour all of the time just in case they are being watched, even though much, or all, of the time they are not.

By making inspections blind, teachers will never be able to relax, write short versions of lesson plans, or deviate from government diktat just in case someone appears to watch them unannounced.

The self-evaluation form turned senior leaders into in-house Ofsted teams.

This move will ensure that every teacher is their own Ofsted inspector. A Big Brother system of remote management and surveillance is now very much on the horizon.

Dr Phil Wood, Lecturer in geographical education, School of Education, Leicester University.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now