Middle leaders have generally become so good in their own classrooms they’re now leading across the school too. But you don’t have to be a middle leader to know that fundamental to helping students progress and flourish is understanding each of them properly and helping them on their individual ‘learning journey’.
For example, I don’t think an experienced middle leader would dream of ‘surprising’ their students with a high stakes test, especially without the class teacher present. Nor would they only pop up very rarely with long gaps in between. Unfortunately, that’s the current Ofsted approach.
If they manage other teachers, the middle leader wouldn’t threaten a teacher’s career because a handful of children achieved less than their counterparts the previous year, and they’d know not to assess or criticise a teacher without knowledge of their particular area. Plus they wouldn’t dream of using purely quantitative measures or crude data metrics alone.
They’d know that if they did these things each classroom would have a climate of fear and compliance rather than of creative learning.
If middle leaders know these things, why has Ofsted strayed so far from its potentially constructive role without heeding some of these common sense tenets of good education practice?
Who knows, but you’ve got until Friday to share your views on the future direction of Ofsted. This needs to be considered beyond next year’s general election because, whoever ends up in power in May (clear majority or coalition of some form), it’s highly unlikely that the expectations of schools would be reduced.
Submit your views – as individuals or in groups – because you should have the confidence in your expertise to know what’s best for each child in your charge, as well as supporting the senior leaders in school, and the teachers in your teams, to focus on what’s important.
Here’s a link to the consultation:http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/consultations/better-inspection-for-all
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section of this blog.
(a version of this blog first appeared through my day-job at NAHT Edge)