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More OFSTED Reports Edited After Publication

January 24, 2014

You may recall a post from a week ago listing various OFSTED reports from the previous two weeks which violated the latest guidance (not to mention everything OFSTED have been saying for the last 18 months and common sense). Some of these have now been revised.

I have found the following changes.

De Warenne Academy 

Improvement is required in students’ behaviour as their attitudes and application to work are not consistently good enough across all subjects and year groups to make a positive contribution to their learning.

has been changed to:

Improvement is required in students’ behaviour as their attitudes and application to work are not consistently good enough across all subjects and year groups.

 

Teachers do not always ensure that students are challenged more to think for themselves and work or study independently to increase their rate of learning.

has been changed to:

Teachers do not always ensure that students are challenged to think and solve problems for themselves in order to increase their rate of learning.

The recommendation of:

a particular focus on how the best teaching pushes students to think for themselves and work more independently

has been changed to:

a particular focus on ensuring students think for themselves and solve problems

 

In lessons that require improvement, students are less willing to work hard to achieve their learning targets, preferring instead to expect a lot of ‘scaffolding’ or significant help from teaching and support staff.

has been changed to:

In lessons that require improvement, students are less willing to work hard to achieve their learning targets, preferring instead to expect significant help from teaching and support staff.

The following section has been removed:

In their keenness to guide students and remind them of elements that need to be included in their work to reach higher grades, teachers sometimes over-direct the lesson. This reduces the time available for students to work collaboratively and independently at thinking and solving problems for themselves. It also affects the rate at which some students can demonstrate their understanding through completion of tasks in their workbooks.

However, later on there appears this apparent replacement:

Not all students have enough opportunities to think and solve problems for themselves. This affects the rate at which some students can demonstrate their understanding.

Sections about the “better” lessons are now only about “some lessons” and in these lessons students who were “motivated to take more responsibility for their own learning” are now “motivated to get on with their learning”

A reference to the teacher’s “role as a facilitator” has also been removed and “independent study skills” are now just “study skills”.

 

The International School (Birmingham)

Teachers do not all draw on a variety of approaches to actively engage students or require them to work independently.

has been changed to:

Teachers do not all draw on a variety of approaches to actively engage students.

The recommendation that:

 …students are required more often to work independently of the teacher for parts of lessons.

has been changed to a recommendation that:

students are encouraged more often to work without direct help from the teacher for parts of lessons.

 

Too few lessons have opportunities for students to work independently of the teacher for periods of time, so that they are able to take responsibility for their own learning rather than relying too much on teachers for explanations and directions.

has been replaced with:

Few lessons include opportunities for students to work without direct help from the teacher for periods of time, so they do not develop the ability to take responsibility for their own learning rather than relying too much on teachers for explanations and directions.

 

…there are few examples of students responding to marking and verbal advice

is now

…students rarely use the advice given in the marking and verbal feedback to improve their
work.

 

Leighton Middle School

The following section has been removed:

Pupils are not offered enough opportunities to take responsibility for their own learning or to develop as independent learners

along with the advice to improve teaching by:

…encouraging pupils to become more independent and take greater responsibility for their own
learning.

and also:

However there are not sufficient opportunities for the development of independent learning built into all lessons or subjects.

A phrase about teachers who were “quick to offer guidance and advice that will skilfully correct misconceptions or adjust errors so that learning is positive and rewarding” has lost the “so that learning is positive and rewarding” part.

The following has been added:

Where marking gives pupils advice, teachers do not always check that pupils act on it.

A section about sports funding has been developed to mention:

More opportunities for competitive games, swimming, athletics and extra coaching for the most able are all increasing the pupils’ health and well-being.

 

Perryfields High School Specialist Maths and Computing College

In less effective lessons, students were not given enough opportunity to work independently and develop their own ideas. This was because teachers talked too much and too little time was made available for students to work on planned activities.

has been changed to

In less effective lessons, students were not given enough opportunity to work without adult help on developing their own ideas. This was because teachers allowed too little time for students to work on planned activities.

 

In the best lessons, students had opportunities to work in a range of different ways, including independently, and made good progress both in the lesson and over time.

has been changed to:

In the best lessons, students had opportunities to work in a range of different ways, including exploring their own ideas, and made good progress.

 

In all lessons there was a positive environment for learning. This is particularly the case where students are highly engaged and find lessons interesting because they have well-planned opportunities for independent working.

has been changed to:

In all lessons there was a positive environment for learning. This is particularly the case where
students are highly engaged and find lessons interesting because they have well-planned
opportunities for exploring their own ideas to extend their work.

 

Whitcliffe Mount – Specialist Business and Enterprise College

In some lessons, there are too few opportunities for students to develop their learning skills through paired or group work.

has been replaced with:

In some lessons, there are too few opportunities for students to actively participate in their own learning.

 

In a small minority of lessons, teachers spend too much time explaining what is required and pace slows, so that students get less opportunity to complete work independently, and as a result, make less progress.

has been replaced with:

In a small minority of lessons, teachers spend too much time explaining unnecessarily what is required and pace slows, so that students get less opportunity to complete their work and, as a result, make less progress.

The following phrase has been removed:

The use of problem solving and independent research so that students take more responsibility for their own learning is not a consistent feature of all lessons.

 

I actually like some of the changes regarding marking, but the key changes are that a few of the phrases about independent learning and teaching styles have been removed, without any changes in the resulting judgements. Often, they have deliberately minimised the changes, removing any reference to being “independent” but replacing it with another euphemism for the same thing (i.e. less teaching). The impression this gives is that OFSTED are prepared to conceal the extent to which they judge schools based on an ideological belief in minimal guidance from teachers, but they aren’t actually prepared to change that practice or even alter judgements based on it. If this is the evidence available, OFSTED have not changed, but they are learning to hide their ideological preferences slightly more. Many schools will still want to play it safe by discouraging traditional teaching.

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10 comments

  1. Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.


  2. Thanks OA for doing this. I’m really hoping mainstream news gets interested in this as it’s a great illustration of superficial change. As you continue to highlight, making editorial changes without revisiting the judgements appears to endorse the view that this is merely about the language used rather than the criteria applied in judging lesson quality.

    Implementing editorial changes after the fact is not evidence that they are addressing the problem. A pertinent analogy: There would be harsh treatment for a school that decided to edit student coursework to match their anticipated grades/exam score after it was submitted.


  3. Reblogged this on Ms Shah's Teaching Blog.


  4. OA, I know this isn’t exactly part of your agenda but I notice a common theme in the edited reports.

    They continually complain of children “not having enough time to work independently”.

    If that can be read as what I think it means, which is “kids are not given solid work to do and time to get on with it”, then that’s down to Ofsted (and the army of “consultants”) over the past decade or more of favouring the three ringed circus act instead of proper lessons.

    If they actually are on the cusp of waking up and realising that real teaching does look a lot like it used to in the 1970s, then that’s almost unbelievable progress from where we all were not so long ago.

    Keep on pushing. Like the phonics denialists, there are undoubtedly hundreds at Ofsted who are having trouble making this adjustment!


    • Unfortunately, “independent” has quite another meaning among the fashionably minded.


      • This hijacking of the phrase “independent work” to mean working in a group reminds me of the novel 1984. Freedom is slavery, anyone? I wonder how many parents reading Ofsted reports understand what the phrase actually means…


  5. Not sure whether you have got Bushey academy because that has changed as well.


  6. […] my last post, I went through the OFSTED reports that I had commented on here to see if they had been edited […]


  7. What a fine collection of completely pointless statements whose only value is to demonstrate how to use a lot of words to say nothing of substance.


  8. […] is in the grip of its own Summer of Love to follow Old Andrew’s evidence that reports have violated the guidance laid down by the Chief Inspector; indeed, the Chief Inspector has himself pointed this […]



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