The Unintended Consequences of Teaching SchoolsNovember 2, 2014
The creation of specialist teaching schools was intended to move power from those ideologically motivated individuals in local authorities and universities, who followed every fad and fashion, to those in schools with a proven track record of success. Unfortunately the policy depended on the ability of OFSTED to recognise excellence in schools and the willingness of schools to be confident that they can retain outstanding status without second guessing OFSTED. The following blog, written by a teacher in a teaching school that’s overdue for inspection, suggests that this may not be working out as planned.
Principle vs Principal (or when scrutiny becomes lunacy).
Somewhere in the leafy depths of suburbia there is the a monster.
It’s called an Outstanding Teaching School. This creature is large and cumbersome, years of tradition and rigidity have made it old before its time. It’s sleeps through behaviour for learning dramas, A*- C % nightmares, Ebacc uptake worries and smiles sagely as fellow critters scurry to increase amounts of written work in books, create whole school inclusion policies, or you know, even improve results. The monster has been left alone, existing on the fat stored over a hundred years, for what can be done to create a more glorious and wonderful being? In fact, like a Biblical idol, all should look upon it in awe, grateful for its very prescence. It needs no one. Loves no one. It’s allegience is to itself alone.
What’s that? A new predator on the horizon? What could possibly take on this Outstanding Teaching School?
‘Keeping Teaching School Status’ stalks across the savannah, a jackal waiting to take down the least agile, the weakest. It’s teeth can slash a budget by hundreds of thousands, decimating the hopes and dreams of SLTs across the country. The jackal wears a coat of Osted, slobbers edu-tainment teaching practices and demands its followers fish clouds from the ocean’s depths.
Don’t worry. OTS has a plan.
OTS will trick KTSS, like a chameleon, it will change its colours to match those black and white tick boxes. OTS will outsmart that KTSS putting on a pretty dress and batting its false eyelashes. No one could possibly notice the muddy feet and broken toenails with such an angelic face to behold.
OTS’s swag new outfit is perfect for the occasion, it’s wearing KTSS’s colours – a show of support. A round of applause, ladies and gentleman, for the new designer on our catwalks:
- Graded observations of tutor time
- Monitoring of tutor’s oversight of students’ use of their planners
- Numerous graded formal and drop-in lesson observations
- Graded book monitoring with weekly follow ups
- Monitoring of teachers’ planning
- Reminder of the rules – the ones for teachers
Some parts of OTS couldn’t squeeze themselves into the tight sleeves of this outfit. The collar fairly strangled others. The scratches and bruises left seemed like they would never recede. But OTS must outrun KTSS. It has to, to survive.
The only question left to answer is – what will OTS do when principle wins out over principal?
That day is getting closer.