Whilst delighted to see Ofsted intends to "use shorter, more efficient monitoring visits" rather than the longer, more stressful inspections currently practised, and pleased that the Goves are sending their child to a state school, I have to admit an element of scepticism surrounds this "good news".Ofsted claims that the reason for the change is the "greatly improved quality of state schools", so why haven`t they been trumpeting this from the rooftops, and challenging the negative perceptions held about state education by employers, many universities and government ministers? The real reason is clearly more to do with the forthcoming reports from "two right-leaning thinktanks", and Ofsted is getting its "retaliation in first"! Its national director of schools even professes that it is Ofsted rather than the hard work and dedication of teachers which "has made the difference to the quality of education in England", a claim which, I suspect, will receive little or no support in schools` staffrooms.
Sadly, the explanation for the Goves` decision, in the Guardian, is not quite the endorsement for state education one would hope for from the wife of the Secretary of State, especially as her article appears to suggest that no school can be deemed worthy unless it teaches the location of Cumbria, and the chronological order of British monarchs; even the assertion that private schools have the "best teachers" cannot be resisted. However, Sarah Vine does, as John Harris says, "pay tribute to the comprehensive ideal", and let`s face it, state education needs all the good publicity it can get! The choice may well be partly motivated by political ambition, as some more cynically disposed observers might think, but it sets a precedent for others to follow, and for that reason alone, it`s news worth celebrating.