Thursday, 16 February 2012

Ofsted head is a stooge
The new head of Ofsted is a chap called Sir Michael Wilshaw. The knighthood is a worry. The man has an ego and is not afraid to flaunt it. He ‘ran a highly successful school in a deprived area of London,’ according to expenses cheat Gove; or, ‘pupils were handpicked to the detriment of neighbouring schools’ according to teachers in the area. Wilshaw has the support of New Labour too, which says all you need to know about the shallowness of politicians where education is concerned.

Ofsted have moved the goalposts yet again. Inspections will be undertaken with very little notice. This is no bad thing and will make it harder for unscrupulous senior staff to send unruly or difficult pupils away for a few days. It will also lessen the heightened stress of knowing an inspection is a week or two away. There is a case for making inspections without any warning at all. 
There is a ‘but’ - and it is a big one. Ofsted has become an arm of government. There is a political agenda. Recent information shows the government want to privatise education. Step 1 is to create many more Academies - another bright wheeze from New Labour. Step 2 is for groups of Academies to join together so they can then be run by private companies. Who then make profits for their shareholders by educating our children. Step 3 would be to have most of England’s schools run by private companies. Sweden and the US are well down this path. Squit cites evidence from both to justify this policy.  None of this has so far been through Parliament. It is fair to say there are some success stories. These make good headlines. There are also many more horror stories which have been conveniently ignored. This stinks. It is also deeply ironic that just as the move to Academise the schools gains momentum, the exalted exam record of some of these places is exposed for being largely based on vocational courses, most - but not all -  being nowhere near a GCSE equivalent. Inflated grades serving the inflated ambitions of the pompous Gove. 
And what of this Wilshaw? How much is he a Gove stooge? Here is a sample of his approach.
 “Wilshaw has previously said he wants the rating of satisfactory to be replaced by "requires improvement". If schools given this rating do not improve after two inspections, they will go into the emergency category of special measures. This means their headteacher could be forced out and the school could be strongly encouraged to become an academy.
Underperforming schools existed in both the most prosperous and the poorest parts of the country, Wilshaw said. Some 300 schools in well-off neighbourhoods had been judged satisfactory for several years, including faith schools in Oxfordshire and Surrey, he said.
Up to 6,000 schools were labelled satisfactory in their last inspection and half of those had failed to be upgraded over six or more years, Wilshaw said.” Guardian Education. Feb 2012
Talking to an exceptional teacher friend who has just been through this new experience was dispiriting and enraging. A school which had improved year by year, and has been transformed from a place where it was dangerous to walk across the playground, has become a safe haven of learning. 64% of the lessons inspected were rated as ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding,’ with 36% scoring ‘Satisfactory.’ There were no lessons scoring ‘cause for concern.’ So what did the inspectors score the teaching in this school? It has been rewarded with the label ‘Satisfactory.’ The same satisfactory that is under attack from the ego and which fits Gove’s agenda. It has had a devastating effect on staff morale. 
A further insight into the mighty Wilshaw. “A good head would never be loved by his or her staff, he added: "If anyone says to you that 'staff morale is at an all-time low' you know you are doing something right."  ibid
There speaks a bastard. Come back Miss Trunchbowl, all is forgiven.

No comments:

Post a Comment