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Two More Edited OFSTED Reports

January 25, 2014

In my last post, I went through the OFSTED reports that I had commented on here to see if they had been edited after being published. However, I failed to comment on the first report I had discovered to be altered, that of John Wilmott School. I also missed changes to the report of another school, Bushey Academy, as I (carelessly) hadn’t noticed any problems with the original. Apologies, for the omissions, all I can say is, I was very busy last week and 5 am blogging is not always going to be perfect. I will now look at the changes to those reports here.

John Willmott School

The words “how well they are doing or” have been removed from:

When teachers mark work, they do not always tell students how well they are doing or how to improve their work, or make sure that they follow any guidance given.

The following section (a favourite of mine) has been removed:

Sometimes teachers give students too much information in lessons and do not encourage them enough to learn independently.

The recommendation that the school “provide regular opportunities for students to learn independently” has been removed.

The following section has been removed:

Teachers sometimes direct students’ learning too much, preventing students from working independently. This limits students’ chances to discuss ideas with each other and to come up with their own ways of solving problems.

In the section about the sixth form, the complaint that “work does not offer enough opportunities for students to work independently” is now a complaint that “work does not offer enough opportunities for students to do their own research”.

The following phrase has been removed:

In the best lessons they encourage independent writing…

 

The Bushey Academy

The sentence:

Teaching is good because teachers have high expectations and plan lessons carefully.

has been changed to:

Teaching is good because teachers have high expectations and plan work carefully for the needs and abilities of different groups of students.

The word “Some” has been added to the beginning of the following:

Students do not always heed the advice their teachers give about how to improve their work

The recommendation that the school:

Improve the quality of teaching by ensuring consistent high-quality marking across all subjects that involves students in a dialogue with their teachers about how they are improving their work.

is now a recommendation that the school:

Improve the quality of teaching
– by ensuring consistent high-quality marking across all subjects
– by ensuring that students take account of the guidance they are given in order to improve their work .

This might reflect a realisation that schools have become overly pre-occupied with particular styles of marking.

Students develop in confidence through frequent opportunities to work collaboratively, either by checking and advising each other’s learning, or as part of a team.

has been replaced with:

Students develop in confidence by checking and advising on each other’s work.

The following section:

Students do not readily share their perceptions of what they find challenging or difficult with their teachers because, in a small minority of lessons, students are too passive in their learning.

has been replaced with:

Students do not readily share their perceptions of what they find challenging or difficult with their teachers. In a small minority of lessons, teachers do not always expect them to join in with discussions or answer questions.

 

Some of these changes bring new things to light – the evaluation of marking is apparently under some consideration – however, this is the same story as before. No judgements change even where the reasons given have been removed, and some of the most ideologically charged statements have been rephrased to avoid particular words but retain the same basic content. There is no change in approach, nor ideology, only a desire to express it less openly.

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2 comments

  1. Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.


  2. At a Governors’ meeting last year I held up a copy of our draft Ofsted report and flicked through the pages to demonstrate what had changed in the three months between draft and final.

    I had used a highlighter to mark everything that had been taken out. Yellow for statements of fact no longer deemed to be factual. Blue for allegations about the school and community no longer considered to be supported by the evidence. Green for gratuitous insults of unknown purpose or provenance. Not much was left “unhighlighted”, and folks were wondering how there could even be a report with what was left.

    Fortunately I had a copy of the final report to pass around. This consisted mostly of pink highlighter, representing nice but equally vacuous statements about the school, teachers, pupils and the community. The problem then, of course, was to reconcile these to the judgements.

    For me the solution would be to simply ignore the judgements and quote freely from the pink bits. However this was not an easy sale, especially to staff left feeling like they had been trampled by a herd of demented elephants.



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