OFSTED – wearing a badge and putting it in perspective 


On Twitter this morning and this tweet caught my eye. Now, let me put this post in perspective and be clear what it is not:

  • It is not a side swipe at SLTchat and those who organise it.
  • It is not a side swipe at OFSTED

Great, so why bother writing it then? Ok fair point – having a side swipe at something usually drives up hits but my point is more to do with our desire to give people who work for one organisation a voice to share their view on education matters over another. I am as guilty as anybody else and when I have approached OFSTED and asked somebody to speak to a conference or to my governing body they have always been most obliging, engaging and generous with their time. 

Does it point to our desire to know what those who inspect are thinking rather than following? Why does Mrs Miggins talking about mathematics say have less interest than Mrs Miggins, Lead Inspector, talking about mathematics and does this matter? 

All that said, I’ll try and tune in to SLTchat tonight. 


Do we all need training in discipline?


I read this article and then re-read it. I confess that whilst I like Tristram Hunt I can’t help feeling that this is a very poorly articulated piece as it would appear to suggest, in Hunt’s opinion, all teachers – not just those in training require training in discipline.

There are two ways to look at this – firstly that all quality training is valuable and if all colleagues have the same “foundations” then it will be supportive to new colleagues. The problem with this is that national training doesn’t translate to national practise and not should it. Schools are not baked bean factories or fast food restaurants so all policies would not be the same and nor should they. My fear would be that this would be a springboard for a tranch of consultants armed with power points and dreary anecdotes. Worse still common sense would fly out of the nearest window as colleagues followed “Best practise” rather than what has been proven to work in the school that they are in. 

National training brings back memories of the well intentioned New Opportunities Fund training which cost a lot but hasn’t translated into colleagues using technology to support teaching and learning more effectively.

The second point would be the disconnect between respecting teachers and then in the same piece giving the impression that discipline is an issue in all schools for all teachers at all levels and that national government will have the answers in all cases. 

An education secretary who genuinely is interested in learning rather than learning from the mistakes of their predecessor and listening to a profession which feels a genuine disconnect from the policy which governs their practise would be greatly appreciated but, pieces like this need to be carefully considered.

I am glad we are talking about education but…

I suppose it was bound to happen – the politicians have turned their attention to education and how in the life of the next parliament they will solve the nation’s educational woes unsolved in this one. 

It should be argued that the very fact educational development is viewed like a game of leap frog is a lot of the problem – but leaving that aside the latest tranch of ideas from the current government are concerning. The purpose of getting children to resist a SAT genuinely mystifies me. What does it achieve that isn’t achieved already with internal teacher assessment at Key Stage 3? It is rather hard to see who the target audience for this particular initiative might be – I can’t imagine many parents would be pleased by the prospect. 

So added to that concept is this progression in thinking https://news.tes.co.uk/b/opinion/2015/04/08/39-the-tories-have-the-right-idea-but-the-wrong-solution-hold-pupils-back-a-year-to-set-them-free-from-failure-39.aspx in many ways one could argue logical. It smacks as the sort of policy that is grand for somebody else’s child. 

Maybe that is it – we all teach “somebody else’s child” generally and with that level of detachment condemning a child to be the real life equivalent of Jethro from The Beverly Hillbillies seems ok / right and the compassionate thing to do. 

I am not so sure.