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General Chat Thread, [BBC News] U-turn signalled over no-notice inspections for schools in General; I never ran a faultless system, but downtime only ever happened when lightning struck the school and surged the plugs. ...
  1. #16

    nephilim's Avatar
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    I never ran a faultless system, but downtime only ever happened when lightning struck the school and surged the plugs.

    If I was ever ill I was inundated with helpdesk tickets, mainly for issues like the internet not working on laptops or laptops not logging in...result being WiFi being turned off.

    Common sense with mist staff didn't exist, and thankfully I taught the science tech enough to fix basic issues which helped when i was offsite.

    I welcomed audits and reviews by external companies as they highlighted where things were not up to scratch and gave advice on how to improve things. I even asked the HT to organise some as a surprise so I could be caught off guard, as a result, I always did things to the best of my ability and had redundancies where possible...why can't teachers see ofsted as the same sort of thing?
    Last edited by nephilim; 7th May 2012 at 11:21 PM.

  2. #17

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    You know - I'm constantly amazed at the ability of my fellow edugeekers to provide and run a faultless service everyday of the year surrounded by incompetent and lazy teachers and SMT.

    Now unless I was working in the military or a nuclear power station where non-readiness to deal with emergencies could lead to fatal consequences, I'd hope that as a human being and employee that I could be given a bit of notice of an inspection so that I could present my best foot forward. (Like I used to in my previous job with QA inspections)
    I don't think anyone claims to run a faultless network, and your argument slightly misses the point. How do we know if our network is faultless or not - by inspecting it, or getting it audited by external bodies. There have been many calls from members on here for the latter, as we simply can't know if we've missed something in our own network.

    You're not supposed to 'put your best foot forward', as you're then lying. Why isn't your best foot being put forward every day? Why should it have to be to do with fatal consequences to be able to ensure the best is happening in your place of employment? Don't we as tax payers deserve that, or as parents, or even as professionals?

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  4. #18

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Some of you deserve trophies

    Ofsted are not professional auditors - they are hit squads.

    Just look at their current boss

    And look at his boss - they want to change the word satisfactory to mean not satisfactory - I'm sure there was a book written about such people - 1980 something

    Si

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    sparkeh (8th May 2012)

  6. #19

    PICNIC's Avatar
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    No Notice is better, less 'Painting the Grass Green' has to be better!

  7. #20

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    Some of you deserve trophies

    Ofsted are not professional auditors - they are hit squads.

    Just look at their current boss

    And look at his boss - they want to change the word satisfactory to mean not satisfactory - I'm sure there was a book written about such people - 1980 something
    Ofsted are not 'hit squads'. Sure, they sometimes get things wrong, but so does everyone, but the point remains - they create a report highlighting what needs improving in schools. They arrive at schools having been prepped by the prior report and other documentation - their job is to find out if things have changed since the last time.

    Terminology used is neither here nor there - they should just get rid of the wording and stick to numbering.

  8. #21
    Sirbendy's Avatar
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    Ofsted have never bothered me. They have their job to do, I have mine. If they walk in and I'm repairing a downed PC, they get a nod and a "good morning, can I assist you?", and I'm back to the job in hand. If things are down, staff need to work round it - ours do well. We will get it running as soon as we can, but until that time inventiveness rules.

    What I found funny last time was there was a person here, who used to be my old maths teacher...saw her in the canteen, so we were having a catchup and dinner, after 15 years. "What brings you to our humble establishment then?"..."I work for OFSTED now.".

    "Ah! I see. Got out of maths teaching then eh? Good for you."

    and so on. OFSTED are human, just like everyone else.

  9. #22

    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirbendy View Post
    .... OFSTED are human, just like everyone else.
    You're a marked man now @Sirbendy for spreading information like that!

  10. #23

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    You know - I'm constantly amazed at the ability of my fellow edugeekers to provide and run a faultless service everyday of the year surrounded by incompetent and lazy teachers and SMT.

    Now unless I was working in the military or a nuclear power station where non-readiness to deal with emergencies could lead to fatal consequences, I'd hope that as a human being and employee that I could be given a bit of notice of an inspection so that I could present my best foot forward. (Like I used to in my previous job with QA inspections)

    Si
    Unfortunately I will both agree and disagree with you.

    Some of what OFSTED looks at can be dealt with by using normal QA models (which are open to abuse in other sectors but most inspectors know this and know how to spot when someone is attempting to do some pulling of will over eyes) and you could put quality of learning / teaching in here ... some of the policies / processes under quality of leadership / management ...

    But I disagree about there not being sections which have to be dealt with as rigorously as if it was the military, etc. Safeguarding is a place that needs no-notice inspections. Unless you turn up and ask to look at what is happening there and then, you risk missing important issues when things are going wrong ... and if that makes them more like hit men then yes, that is what is needed.

    There are plenty of no-notice inspections in different sectors. Some of them are secret shopper style but that is a little hard to do in a school :-) ... and there are plenty which give a bit of notice ... it is about working out which bit is most appropriate and when.

  11. #24

    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirbendy View Post
    and so on. OFSTED are human, just like everyone else.
    True facts.

    Our HT is ex-OFSTED. [Apparently]


    I've always said OFSTED inspections need to be done without warning. We have/had teachers who, when OFSTED say they're coming in, start planning special lessons to show off the ability of the class and cover up their own weaknesses.

    How are teachers supposed to get better [nobody is perfect] if their weaknesses can't be assessed?

    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    Ofsted inspections are like having the Spanish Inqusition desceding on you



    [sorry... had to be done.]
    Last edited by X-13; 8th May 2012 at 10:06 AM.

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  13. #25

    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    T
    How are teachers supposed to get better [nobody is perfect] if their weaknesses can't be assessed?
    [Devil's Advocate]So teachers can only be assessed for weakness by no notice inspection?[/Devil's Advocate]

  14. #26

    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    [Devil's Advocate]So teachers can only be assessed for weakness by no notice inspection?[/Devil's Advocate]
    [troll]yes[/troll]


    But in all seriousness, it's an objective outsider looking at things. SMT can [and here they do] go into classes to observe, but because they KNOW the person, sometimes things that are a problem get written off as "that's just Mr/Mrs %Le_Teacher".


    OFSTED see things without knowing anyone, so problems are flagged.

  15. #27

    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Personally I have a problem with the whole attitude of OFSTED. School improvement should be a collaborative process, currently it is adversarial. Recently a teacher was graded as 'good' so at his feedback sessions he asked the inspector what he needed to do to become 'outstanding', the inspector told him that it is not OFSTED's to give advice about how to improve but simply to make judgements. This is a disgrace and goes against what the inspectors are looking for when teachers are helping their pupils; imagine an inspector seeing a teacher telling a pupil that his work is incorrect but won't tell him how to get it right.

    A much better system would be to assign every school a school improvement partner who visits regularly and gets to know the school, the staff and pupils. This way the monitoring authority would really get to know the effectiveness of a school and give meaningful guidance on how to improve.

    Another issue is how OFSTED is increasingly being used to drive though the academy agenda. The latest framework has raised the requirements for each grade once again so schools that only last year would have been rated satisfactory and above are being placed into categories and forced into academy status. Any co-incidence that the new head of OFSTED is a fervent academy supporter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gibbo View Post
    That doesn't give them excuse to work to a level below what OFSTED and the government expects. If they can do it for the days that Ofsted are in then they can do it all year round.
    The problem here is that I don't believe that it is possible to work 100% of the time at the expected level.
    Actually let me qualify that. Yes it is possible to work at the expected level if you take 'satisfactory' as the expected level. Satisfactory means that the school is doing everything that it needs to do to give a pupil the level of education that the Government expects. But of course 'satisfactory' is not longer good enough, and if you achieve a 'good' grade then you are expected to keep improving, and improving and improving etc etc. The natural conclusion of this is that the Government expects everyone to achieve 'satisfactory' and whilst I believe that every school should be striving to achieve the best they can for their pupils, the work load needed and the requirements needed to achieve outstanding are unreasonable. It is striking that every outstanding school I know does not maintain these levels whilst OFSTED are out of the building

    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    Nothing better than seeing a school on a surprise visit.
    Really? If you harbour such feelings to toward your school that you enjoy watching it being put through, and its reaction to, an OFSTED inspection then I suggest you aren't the best person to be working there.

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  17. #28
    mthomas08's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gibbo View Post
    That doesn't give them excuse to work to a level below what OFSTED and the government expects. If they can do it for the days that Ofsted are in then they can do it all year round.

    If some things checked are not relevant - like documented lesson plans - why don't the unions take issue with this with Ofsted rather than threats of strikes?

    And I'd love to see Ofsted see how they talk to support staff during inspection times - a member of staff had a go at one of my team for a non functioning projector that had allegedly been broken for a week - but not reported (it was turned off at the wall). When I asked the staff member if they had any back-up lesson plan for eventualities like this, they looked blankly at me.

    There is no excuse for shouting or unprofessionalism. Are they same with the students when under pressure?

    Personally I'd welcome an OFSTED for ICT Support. We work to the same level day in, day out. We don't rush round doing stuff that should already be in place for when an inspection is due.

    Every day's notice gives an extra day to tart or cover something up. I've seen many examples of this over the years, from rapid redecoration to six months worth of unmarked work rapidly group marked.
    Totally Agree, I like it when some one posts exactly what I would post - saves me typing an essay.

    IT Inspection for us - we had some years ago (from our service provider just a friendly one) regarding all sorts and they gave some pointers. Since then we have changed A LOT. Would I want one right now? Sure why not. It is pretty much my job to make sure we do things properly we even got a piece of paper for staff to sign when they are issued laptops.

    I am also currently documenting everything I can regarding system setup/procedures.

    As for OFSTED inspection, 1 day although short does still give this school time to remove all the students that cause problems and use the Student Support Centre and our two slammer/exclusion rooms (instead of sending them home). As for staff/projectors - they are TOLD "Do not make an easy/safe lesson just with a projector and plan a backup lesson" that came from the HT. SLT here also done a lot of lesson observations to find the staff who could be doing better, also to pick up the depts that could do better - changes have already been set in motion. As a result staff have been a bit more in the "Panic" mode.

    Again - If an IT inspection would occur I am happy for it - maybe they can offer more pointers on how we can improve anything. Our last few system down times have been as a result of outside problems. E.g Loop backs, Failures (which have been sorted out within 24 hours).

    Then on the other hand you can not compare a teacher not correctly doing her lesson to the entire network going down. You would have to compare it to an individual IT Suite or laptop - in which case things do actually work very well. Only had a single suite go down (students had smashed in to the cabinet and removed cables - dont ask me why the teacher HAD NOT noticed) - we are going to be moving this cabinet in the summer. Most of the laptop problems that occur are usually "User Error" but with netsupport we can resolve them within minutes. And then Projector issues which lets face it are a global issue like printers used to be back when schools purchased deskjets and little printers compared to laserjets.

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  19. #29
    znova's Avatar
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    Ofsted in my opinion are just a bunch of people who couldn't make it in teaching. With my governors hat on, we had an inspection, the sole inspector wasn't interested in teaching, just how to make the results fit his preconceived grade. The teachers had independent inspections from LA, our head etc, teaching was deemed all good some with outstanding features but the inspector just looked at the data and said teaching was satisfactory. What a way to demoralise your workforce.

    I do tend to think inspections should be no notice though. My husband has just had the Ofsted notice, but working in adult edu they get 3 weeks. So I'll have 3 weeks of hell at home as he is panicking, thanks Ofsted! No matter how many people tell him his teaching is good, he will still worry, and I don't think that's fair.

    In my opinion, when Ofsted come they should inspect the quality of teaching not the paper trail.

  20. #30

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Teachers are assessed for weaknesses by their own SLT and the ability of SLT to assess is one of the significant areas which is the QA during an inspection.

    The QA takes the form that SLT will submit what *they* think is the relevant levels of the various teachers and OFSTED will check and verify. It is sampling ... and that is why after a morning of inspections on day 1 the inspection team might suddenly change their focus.

    The argument for no-notice inspections will say that this is to give it the truest picture of what the school looks like and how it runs, including how SLT assess teaching & learning.

    The argument against no-notice inspections will point out that this assessment by SLT is frequently part of a routine program of performance management and assessment of the capabilities of staff, which are usually done with significant notice which allows for time to mark, plan, etc to the best of the ability of the teacher ... so no-noitce is not a true reflection.

    And the counter point to that is often that SLT should perhaps do no-notice checks as well then otherwise they are not getting a true reflection ...

    And the counter point in return is that there are lots of other ad-hoc things SLT to (such as dropping into lessons as the wander the school, book scrutiny, meeting with the children, etc) which covers this side of things ...

    It is like every policy decision out there ... arguments for and against and if you look hard enough you can *always* fine arguments both for and against!

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