Pilot tests are pie in the sky

20th February 2004 at 00:00
Chief inspector David Bell's report (TES, February 13) makes interesting reading. The proposal to have short sharp inspections with little or no notice again underlines the argument that the Office for Standards in Education inspection process cannot be rigorous in its present, or proposed form, and therefore is of questionable validity.

I make this claim on the basis that very few of the people who undertake the current inspections would have taught or been inspected under the new inspection framework themselves; it would be interesting if the chief inspector could provide figures for those inspectors who have sustained teaching experience since the introduction of the September 2003 inspection framework.

Airline pilots are rigorously tested, every six months, and even when they are put in near impossible conditions, the process is accepted by them because the testers themselves are "current" pilots and have had to demonstrate that they can "perform" successfully in such conditions.

No such "fair" obligation is required of Ofsted inspectors; if it was, then the process would be seen to be more just and more acceptable by those doing the job - the classroom teachers.

The solution? Ofsted teams should be seconded from current serving teachers and headteachers. Expensive? Blue skies thinking, David!

Peter Stammers

104 Nork Way

Banstead, Surrey

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