Ofsted and the inspection process


“OFSTED” those words alone will strike the fear of god into any teacher. They start to get sweaty palms, they will start working into the night to produce all the appropriate paperwork to keep management happy. Not only that, if there is an inspection looming then this feeling of dread can last for months. Now don’t get me wrong, I can understand why the Government do this, in their minds they pay millions to the college and want to know that they are getting their money’s worth. However, is sending a team of highly paid people into to watch the best way to check this?
I imagine that you have at one time in your life taken your car to a garage to get some work done. They worked on your car and you paid them. Now how did you check that you were getting value for money? Did you pay a consultant to watch them work on your car and then get them to give you a report? No you didn’t, why? Well for a start it would be even more expense on top of your garage bill. Also, obviously the garage would be on their best behaviour when being watched by your consultant. If they were a dodgy garage, then they would go back to their old shady ways once your person had gone. No good you see. What do you do then? Well its really easy, firstly you speak to other customers who have been to the garage and ask a few questions. They will be honest because they are impartial. You would also compare prices with other garages. Finally, you speak to the mechanic and make a judgement yourself. If your car came back fixed and clean and tidy, then you would use them again and again.
If you want to find out how good a course or college is its really easy. Speak to a student who has been there recently. They will tell you exactly what it’s like and how they did. The more you speak to the ex-student the clearer a picture you would get. An even better system would be a Trip advisor style online customer review system. Where students could post their views, good and bad. Management could reply to these if they were unreasonable and then the public could make a decision from these if they would want to use the college.
A document that goes hand in hand with the inspection is called “The common inspection framework” or CIF if you like to use annoying acronyms for everything. This document outlines in great detail what makes a “good” or “Outstanding” lesson. If you are serious about your job as a teacher you dissect this document and make sure that your lesson “ticks all the boxes”.

Hang on a minute, is this really how good people work? No it isn’t. Really good teachers develop their own approach with passion and personality. If you want to knock all the passion out of someone then give them a big long set of rules to follow. It does not work. I am a decorator, one of the best. I know what makes decorating students tick, I know how to put across a topic and I know what my students respond to. I do not need a long list of things I need to work into my lesson to make the Government happy.