Scrapping Ofsted, as suggested at the NUT Conference, and supporting "action for alternative models of school accountability", have to be seen by the Labour party as essential policies for the next election manifesto, which might well be needed before 2020 (Morning Star,29/03/16).
Constant criticism of teachers and teaching, which has been the norm ever since the first Ofsted reports were published in 1992, does nothing to rejuvenate already overworked staff, or to encourage new entrants into the profession, at a time when teacher recruitment is approaching crisis proportions. Is it surprising that so many qualified teachers leave before completing five years in the classroom?
Apparently, Ofsted has dropped its ludicrous ideas about marking being done in different coloured pens, but the suggestion is symptomatic of the inspectors` lack of understanding of the real world of education, and their unrealistic expectations. If the Education Secretary really wants to show off her leadership credentials to her Tory colleagues, she should start by telling heads and parents that it is not essential for every piece of work to be corrected and given five line comments on how improvement can be attained; sixty hour weeks for teachers are simply counter-productive!
An inspection regime worth its salt would, after an "unsatisfactory" verdict of a school, hold Training days for the staff, with the same inspection team giving not only advice on how lessons could be improved, but also, of course, demonstrations! If standards have indeed, "stalled" in some secondary schools, Ofsted should surely be calling for smaller class sizes, more classroom assistants, more units for the badly behaved and more hi-tech facilities? Not every school can simply appoint a new "superhead" to come in and immediately expel sixty or so pupils as a method of improvement; indeed, some may regard such action as simply "passing the buck".
Despite the Tories` abysmal treatment of teachers, Labour cannot be guaranteed to receive their electoral support; a pledge to change the inspection system in schools is essential.