Can Sir Michael Wilshaw order OFSTED to change?March 26, 2013
In case you’ve missed it, I’ve been banging the drum about OFSTED and their enforcement of “child-centred” education (i.e. low content/ low teacher talk lessons) and how this contradicts the claim by their chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, that there is no preferred teaching style, and how it contrasts with the comments he’s made suggesting tolerance of didactic teaching (particularly in secondary maths).
I’ve pointed out:
- The types of lessons praised and criticised (and in what way) in recent OFSTED reports;
- The good practice video and case studies for secondary maths;
- The other good practice videos (now gone but not missed);
- The way inspectors run consultancies advocating particular methods (and some further examples from reports);
- The way inspectors seemed to be advocating that governors observe lessons (in a post written by a guest author);
- The difference between the handbook and the subject guidance.
The first of these points, the bias towards particular types of teaching shown in OFSTED reports, appears to have been noticed by Sir Michael. According to a source within OFSTED, the chief inspector’s latest letter to additional inspectors (i.e. those who are contracted to inspection teams but not full time employees of OFSTED) contained the following section:
Of course, in practice this could mean that inspectors continue to behave in the same way, but leave less evidence of it in the reports they write, but I’m willing to take this as a positive sign that it is realised by Sir Michael that OFSTED’s habit of enforcing child-centred education is not acceptable, even if he does not acknowledge it as common practice rather than a “false impression”. It will be interesting to see if reports continue to complain of too much teacher talk and a lack of independent activities, or even better if we see reports praise traditional teaching where it is done well.
As an additional point, even if OFSTED do change, that is of little comfort to those schools who have already been criticised for not conforming to the dumbed down OFSTED model. Among the things I would still be interested in bringing to light are what people have experienced during OFSTED inspections (particularly recent ones) and what type of teaching those inspectors advocated. Please email me if you have a story to pass on.