Missing OFSTED ReportsJanuary 13, 2014
A little less than a week ago I had a look at some of the OFSTED reports that had been published since the new OFSTED guidance came out, and found that the reports were as biased as ever about the type of teaching that was wanted and did several of the things that the new guidance warned against. I concluded:
I realise these inspections took place, and the reports were probably drafted, before the new guidance which means the inspectors have not necessarily been any more negligent or incompetent than usual. However, how can the judgements in these reports, which will have had a huge impact on those schools and on individual teachers have any credibility at all, given that OFSTED have since made it clear that inspectors should not be saying the things they have said in the reports? How can these judgements possibly be allowed to stand?
I suspect I am not the only person to have wondered this. Of the 5 reports that I mentioned, 2 of the more disappointing ones, John Ruskin School in Cumbria and the Durand Academy, have disappeared from the OFSTED website. I hope this indicates that either the schools concerned have appealed against what seemed like very unfair treatment, or that somebody within OFSTED has realised how little credibility they have when they condemn schools for things that “officially” are meant to be perfectly acceptable.
(Thanks to @OdysseanProject for pointing out the disappearance of the Durand Academy report.)
Update 15/1/2014: Fiona Millar of the Local Schools Network has been looking into the disappearance of the Durand Academy report, apparently unaware that any other reports had also vanished, suspecting political interference she had investigated:
I contacted Ofsted to ask them what had happened and felt the reply wasn’t altogether convincing. I was told by a spokesperson that there was ‘nothing untoward” about this decision. The report had been removed “to be reviewed”
Apparently a routine trawl of recent inspections to ensure compliance with the latest Ofsted guidance (which came into force on January 1 2014 so shouldn’t really have applied to 2013 inspections) found a few irregularities as inspectors hadn’t followed the new guidance (which didn’t actually apply to the Durand inspection) to the letter. In particular this related to comments about “teaching style”
I was assured that no pressure had been brought to bear either by the school or the DFE, but that the actions had been taken by “senior officials” at Ofsted.
“HM Chief Inspector and Ofsted’s National Schools Director are clear they will not accept reports that do not properly follow Ofsted’s own guidance, especially relating to particular styles of teaching,” was the official response. “All judgments and grades still stand pending the conclusion of this review.”
Update 16/1/2014: From a postscript to that same blogpost by Fiona Millar:
Since writing this original blog I have been contacted by Ofsted again. They stress that the the report will be re-published in the very near future and that the Durand Ofsted was one of six removed from the Ofsted site due to concerns about “poor wording” in references to teaching style, in the light of recent Ofsted guidance on teaching and learning. This poor wording should have been picked up in the pre-publication period apparently, but wasn’t.
A little concerning that they imply that only the wording, not the resulting judgement, is in need of review.