Short, sharp, shock inspections. Are they are a good thing?

13th February 2004 at 00:00
Mark Ridings, Year 3 teacher at Blacklands primary, in Hastings, East Sussex: "I think it is pretty dire. Teachers will be more stressed because they will spend the whole third year wondering when the inspectors are going to arrive, rather than having a decent bit of notice.

"There's no trust of anyone to do their jobs. I wonder if it's a deliberate policy to drive teachers out of the profession, so that schools will have to rely more on classroom assistants."

Leo Smith, Year 5 and 6 teacher at Alpington and Bergh Apton CE primary, Norfolk:

"As most schools are well established and have their paperwork in order, 48 hours' notice should be enough and will give a much more realistic view.

But it needs to be a different type of inspection - advisory rather than the old style where everyone felt intimidated."

David Pearmain, head of Kenton school, Newcastle:

"Ofsted will have to bear in mind that schools aren't going to look as good. If we hear that schools have got worse then we'll know that is not what has happened. In principle, though, it's a good development because the 48 hours notice is coupled with better support and greater trust in self evaluation."

Stephen Wilkinson, head of Queen Katherine school, Kendal, Cumbria:

"It has its advantages in that it doesn't get schools on a high alert.

However, the notion that it's going to be less stressful for teachers is a nonsense. Schools don't function normally when there are inspectors in. If Ofsted wants to support schools in their self evaluation, then we need to know when the inspection is going to come so that we can build it into our three-year plan."

John Doona, drama teacher at Egerton Park arts college, Manchester: "I've said in the past that inspectors should just turn up. They'd get a better picture of what's happening rather than all the window dressing. On the other hand it's nice that every four years the school gets new carpets, and we have these landmark occasions where we hustle to get things right. It's swings and roundabouts."

Stuart Baillie, head of humanities at Elthorne Park high, west London:

"We haven't got time to panic, which is a good thing, and the inspectors will see the school as it is which is also good. But I'll have to read the small print before I decide if this is helping teachers and schools or if it's a piece of Labour spin to keep parents happy."

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