I have just read Tom Sherrington’s (@teacherhead) latest piece. As ever it is absolutely spot on. I also read @vicgoddard’s piece with tears streaming down my face. As with all good writing, it got me thinking and stimulated an emotional response.
It’s coming up on two years since I had my ‘David vs. Goliath’ moment as a headteacher when Ofsted called. In my world a lot has changed since then. In Goliath’s world little has changed – Oh, they’ve launched a consultation on a new framework and no doubt we will see the new framework in its operational state soon… with the odd tweak to keep the profession on a low simmering rage – but nothing has really changed.
You see, for me, to get change, you really have to change people’s thinking. I don’t see any new thinking in the new framework, despite the protestations from some notable Ofsted leading lights. If your data is not good enough, I think the basic pejorative premise is still the same:
You are not good enough or you are doing something wrong – we are here to point that out to you and to make sure that everyone in the world knows about it. We see your context but we don’t understand it and we don’t much care.
What will be different is that through this new framework’s lens it will be the curriculum that is picked apart as the evidential carcass of your failure.
Don’t get me wrong, like Tom and many, many others I think accountability is really important, I just don’t think it has to be done the way it currently is.
I was fortunate to be invited to speak at the Headteacher’s Roundtable Summit 2019, it was an amazing event, surrounded by brilliant people, offering their thoughts and views on how we can support each other and develop together. As with many a conference, all day long the elephant in the room was Ofsted, hinted at, nodded towards, sometimes spoken about in outraged or hurt tones.
If you need convincing of the all-conquering and pervasive effect of Ofsted in our system take a look at the agenda. I would argue that many of these workshops (including my presentation) have been shaped and formed as a direct or indirect result of the Ofsted yolk under which we toil. What do you think?
How different might this conference have looked if we had a different accountability system? How different might our education system look if we had a different accountability system?
I’m not asking any question that thousands have not asked before me – it’s a well-worn path – so why isn’t anyone listening?
How many millions of professional working hours could be saved if we stopped feeding Goliath?