OFSTED Quotations About Independence

January 31, 2014

The following are recent quotations from OFSTED publications, referring to independence and independent learning. Spot the odd one out.

From the December 2013 OFSTED handbook:

Not all aspects of learning, for example pupils’ engagement, interest, concentration, determination, resilience and independence, may be seen in a single observation.

From the December 2013 additional guidance for inspectors:

Do not expect to see ‘independent learning’ in all lessons and do not make the assumption that this is always necessary or desirable.

From HCMI’s letter to inspectors (January 22nd, 2014) referring to the guidance quoted above:

I still see inspection reports, occasionally from HMI, which ignore this and earlier guidance and, irritatingly, give the impression that we are still telling teachers how to teach. Let me give you a few examples from recent reports I have just read:

‘Teaching will improve if more time is given to independent learning’…

…In summary, inspectors should report on the outcomes of teaching rather than its style. So please, please, please think carefully before criticising a lesson because it doesn’t conform to a particular view of how children should be taught.

From the OFSTED report for Our Lady and St Chad Catholic Sports College, inspected 9-10 January, and published today:

Behaviour is not outstanding because students across the school have yet to demonstrate through their progress exceptional independence…


  1. Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.

  2. OFSTED could do with some inset on formative assessment.

  3. “Behaviour is not outstanding because students across the school have yet to demonstrate through their progress exceptional independence”

    It’s getting beyond parody now.

  4. […] This quote is from Old Andrew’s latest blog OFSTED Quotations About Independence: […]

  5. It would be sad if OFSTED, when they saw pupils making no progress because a teacher was talking for too long, were unable to say so.

    It would be a shame if OFSTED were unable to report it if they saw a situation in which student progress would probably have been better if they had been allowed some independence in the learning process.

    It would also be sad if OFSTED were unable to report that poor progress was made as the teacher did not talk for long enough.

    • All of which assumes there is a correct amount of talking and a correct amount of independence and it is up to the inspectors to say what that quantity is. Whereas, actually, there is no such amount but there is every reason to think inspectors are biased against seeing teacher explanations rather than group work

  6. […] the expense of ‘active’ or ‘independent’ learning. Old Andrew is offering no let up in his heroic coverage. One exception to the media’s inability to see the real story was Telegraph columnist and former […]

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