To coin an advertising phrase borrowed from the beverage industry, ‘Carlsberg don’t do school inspections, but if they did…” – what would your ideal version of Ofsted look like? How would your dream Ofsted feel? What would your perfect Ofsted do? Below are some initial thoughts of mine on this, please feel free to blog yours and share the link in comments, or post any other ideas straight in comments below.
Firstly, my Dream Ofsted would have a scheduled week and date in the calendar to visit each school, each year, so that schools could do their academic planning around this. It would not come with a punitive feel of impending and possible doom attached. It would be promoted as an uplifting and celebrated event, where inspectors were treated to see the school at its best, and in turn provide inspiring educational leadership and CPD.
Inspectors would have rapport with teachers and school staff and students. They would seek to engage with staff and understand their approaches and methods, and why they use them in each particular context. They would be teaching and learning specialists, with much classroom experience in the setting/phase visited. They would also be educational leadership and management specialists, with at least 5 years’ experience in an SLT role. They would also have academic expertise and accreditation and be ready to coach school staff. Their relationship would be mentoring and supportive, informative, embodied in a flattened hierarchical model, where they would be perceived as experienced and helpful, transformative experts, in a two way relationship with staff still doing the job.
Their rapport with school staff, students and the school community would also be carried back to the office, where they would be reachable as an agent consultant for the school all year round. Their inside knowledge and close relationship with the school’s context would provide expert and native level insight and understanding.
Their consultative role once back in the office would allow them to continue to support school teachers all year round, with mentoring and coaching relevant to their particular needs. They would be actively networking and be able to link staff with other professional contacts who could further help them and contribute to their teaching success and impact on student progress.
The analytical assessment side of the Ofsted role would be to identify needs and facilitate improvement as part of a positive ecosystem. It would not be a top-down, judgemental, mechanical system. It would be working in heart-harmony with schools and their communities.
And they would provide yearly awards for excellence and innovation in teaching.
What would your Dream Oftsed be like?