I have some questions for Ofsted following a recent report. My comments do not relate to the school in question, rather they concern the nature of the inspection process itself. They are genuine questions intended to elicit information helpful to schools (and me).
So, straight into the questions.
In its recently updated “Ofsted Myths” document there is seeming clarity on the issue of lesson observations:
The document is clear that there is no grading of individual lessons.
The report states that “This is not yet an outstanding sixth form because:… …. too little teaching and assessment are outstanding”. To get to this statement the inspectors must, at some point, be sitting down and making a judgement about the teaching. I can understand that more goes into this judgement than just what has been observed in a lesson. However, in order to come to this overall judgement they must be recording what they think of individual lessons. I can also understand that if the same person undertook all the lesson observations then this kind of judgement would be easier. This is not the case here.
So the question is how are lesson observation findings factored into the Teaching and Learning judgement?
In the section “What does the sixth form need to do to improve further?” is the following statement:
I’m struggling to understand how continuing to monitor the progress of female students will ensure the gap reduces. Unless the suggestion is that in the absence of monitoring teachers will deliberately teach students of one gender less well than the other.
The question is how is monitoring going to reduce the gap?
Under the heading “The quality of teaching, learning and assessment” is the following statement:
The question is, what records would a tutor be expected to keep and how should that record keeping be monitored?
Three questions. Hopefully they are helpful and not seen as me being picky or argumentative. Which I know I can be.