Abolishing, not reforming, the grading of schools by Ofsted

Richards, Colin (2017) Abolishing, not reforming, the grading of schools by Ofsted. New Visions for Education (website) . (Unpublished)

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Abstract

To be honest almost all schools and inspections are… – ish Only a few schools are clearly and uncontroversially “outstanding”; only a few are undoubtedly “inadequate”. The vast majority are good-ish or requiring improvement-ish. Inspection is not a science but an art; it involves complex judgments all of which don’t necessarily point in the same direction. Does the recently announced new consultation on short inspections recognise this? Because of the value judgments involved in school inspection inspectors can never claim that their interpretation of a school is the only correct one . Nor can inspectors claim a monopoly of objective, authoritative, judgment as expressed in an overall grade or description. Equally importantly, the unique set of judgments they give cannot be directly or robustly compared with the equally unique judgments of the same school (which never remains “the same school”) inspected at a different time. Each set of inspection judgments is in a sense sui generis. Direct comparison of inspection judgements over time is at best highly problematic and at worst invalid. But of course Ofsted does not recognise this. It persists in wanting to place schools into one of four supposedly “water-tight “categories or it has until now when a new consultation on changes to short inspections has been announced.. Under these proposals “good” schools that are not definitely good (whatever that means) are be given up to two years to prove their “goodness” and hence in the meantime are only “good-ish” or even “probably in need of considerable-ish improvement”. Similarly “good” schools that are “outstanding-ish” are promised a full inspection later to confirm their status.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: New Visions for Education (website)
Publisher: The New Visions for Education Group
Departments: Non-Initial Teacher Education (Non-ITE)
Additional Information: Online article. Colin Richards is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Cumbria, former HMI and Chair of Governors in a Cumbrian secondary school.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2018 09:58
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2018 18:11
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/4126

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