The TES is reporting claims from schools minister David Laws that Ofsted’s inspection system makes it easier for schools in “leafy catchments” to get a good or outstanding rating…
Speaking at the National Association of Head Teachers’ annual conference in Liverpool, the Liberal Democrat minister said Ofsted’s system had to be made fairer because it would be “fatal” if the threat of bad Ofsted judgements deterred people from working in tough schools.
“There is some evidence that I’ve seen in the department, and I’ve raised this directly with Sir Michael [Wilshaw], that it is tougher for a school in tough and challenging circumstances to get a good or outstanding Ofsted report, even bearing in mind the progress it is making with pupils,” he said.
“If this is the case, if the Ofsted process is weighting prior attainment too much, making it easier for schools in leafy catchments, bluntly, to do well and tougher for schools in more challenging catchments. That’s a real problem.”
If this was happening, he said, it could “make it very unattractive for some of our best people and the best leaders to go and teach in challenging schools…”
Is this suggestion from David Laws that Ofsted is putting too much emphasis on prior attainment and, as a consequence, making it harder for school in challenging catchments to get good or outstanding ratings a credible one?
If so, is the fix as simple as up-weighting the value given to pupil progress or are there more complex factors at play here?
Do you suspect that schools with better results – regardless of added value and progress – are always likely to do better on Ofsted inspections?
Please give us your reactions in the comments or via Twitter…
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