Why Sean Harford and Ofsted are starting to get things right

Telling your wife you have a crush on someone else can be a tad awkward. That awkwardness multiplies when you explain that your crush is on a man; but trust me, it goes through the roof when you reveal that the focus of your affection is Sean Harford, Ofsted’s National Director. One deputy head explains all in Teachwire.

I am absolutely certain that aspects such as Ofsted, pointless bureaucracy, and the very latest in a long list of failed initiatives that you have seen on its third reincarnation in the last 10 years have all been key factors in the difficulties we face as a profession.

I get all that, and am not for a minute defending the nonsense that has gone on over the years.

It all started about a year ago, when we got ‘the call’. What normally would have been the cue for four horsemen equipped with various regalia of the Apocalypse turned out instead to herald a productive visit from a small team of experienced, reasonable and student-centred inspectors.

I thought maybe we had just got lucky, but as I began to read more I found myself in the novel situation of thinking that maybe, just maybe, things could be starting to change regarding our relationship with the dark and mysterious Ofsted spectre that hovers over us all.

However, I realised my thoughts were maybe more than just a passing flirtation when I attended a seminar delivered by Sean Harford.

There was talk about progress not being visible every 20 minutes, and how students learn at different rates; of reducing teacher workload; of not producing reams of meaningless data; of a varied and enriching curriculum being important in the holistic development of students; and of moving away from what many (myself included) would perceive as an absolute obsession with examination data as the only way in which the life (and value) of a young person can be measured. I may have swooned.

My emerging sense of optimism is based on the hope that we will have a professional dialogue with inspectors and feed into the consultation for the inspection framework of 2019 so that finally it can be fit for purpose.

I don’t forget, and neither do I forgive, the multitude of historic Ofsted sins; but at the same time, I do think that, on occasion, the Ofsted Bogeyman has been exploited by some figures in the corridors of power in some schools, which helps no one.

Read the full article Why Sean Harford and Ofsted are starting to get things right

Have your opinions of Ofsted changed? Are you hoping 2019 will see Ofsted change it’s spots?  Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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