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Time to Stop Supporting a Broken System? #PauseOfsted

“It is with much soul searching that I decided I could no longer be associated with, or represent, Ofsted as an inspector or advocate. As someone who used to publicly praise and support Ofsted I find I can no longer defend the many flaws I now see in the system” … so started the resignation letter from Dame Nicola Stephenson DBE.

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Viewing Ofsted from the Inside and Out by @Julespg #PauseOfsted

My first experience of Ofsted was as a teacher in 1996. In those days, the visit was announced many months in advance by ‘the brown envelope’, but the staff got to know about the impending inspection through the paint colour chart circulated to all classrooms, heralding the arrival of the decorators.

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#PauseOfsted – Time to Go Back to First Principles

I believe that Ofsted has had a significantly positive impact in raising standards in schools over the last 20 years or so.  Expectations have been raised, mediocre practice has been challenged and schools that were letting down their pupils have been exposed.   Moreover, any system that gives great amounts of autonomy to schools needs also to have clear accountability procedures. 

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I have been a headteacher of one sort or another (LA, Principal, Executive Principal) for nearly 20 years and have lost count of how many inspections I’ve been through.  I even worked as an inspector briefly, under the initiative when they recruited NLEs, so I have seen it from the other side of the table too.  Since 2012, when @headsroundtable was first formed it has become increasingly clear, in all our discussions about moving the system forward, that the high-stakes nature of the inspection system is frankly disabling and disempowering headteachers and schools from getting on with improving the lives of their staff and their students. Continue reading

Damming the Flood – dealing with bad news

Psychologists sometimes describe being emotionally overwhelmed by negative emotions as being ‘flooded’. Your emotional foundations are overrun and can feel in danger of being washed away. At some stage, all Headteachers will experience this overwhelming surge wave of negative emotions when facing bad news. A serious incident, a bad Ofsted experience, a poor set of examination results, a trusted colleague suddenly resigning. How do you cope with the breaching of your emotional storm protection? Continue reading