According to headmasters, schools are being degraded by offsets if children questioned by visitors cannot remember the name of the river in geography or struggle to explain the basic concepts of history.
Under a new inspection framework, there is a risk of identifying schools if students fail to adequately memorize or clarify what they have been taught, sometimes a few years ago, when an immediate “pop quiz” was offered by the inspectors. At a flagship secondary school, an outstanding rating was downgraded when 11- and 12-year-olds were unable to articulate the “rule of law”.
Offstead inspections in England resumed late last year following a moratorium on epidemics. Schools are being judged under a new framework introduced in 2019, which focuses more on teaching and curriculum. Exceptional schools which until recently were exempted from regular inspection are now being inspected
Amanda Spielman, chief inspector of education at Offset, said she hoped the new administration would halve the number of outstanding schools, currently one in five.
As part of the framework, visitors conduct “deep dives” on four to six topics to explore the impact on planning, teaching, and student learning. In it, visitors randomly ask selected students what they know and hold to test what they have learned.
Headmaster organizations are increasingly concerned that schools are being targeted for the strength of responses provided by nervous children, some of whom have been questioned by adults without prior warning that they do not know.
Inspection reports cite “gaps in students’ knowledge and understanding” and cite examples of students not being able to remember or clarify the content taught or those who demonstrate “shallow” or “incoherent” understanding. Schools say too much weight is being given to these responses. The Offset Handbook says that visitors must take a “circular view” of the quality of education and use a variety of evidence in their judgment.
Despite having the best GCSE results in its borough in 2019, and achieving results for disadvantaged students that exceed the national average for non-offending students, Ursulin High School, a Catholic girls school in Wimbledon, has just dropped from outstanding to better. .
The school, which is considered a primary school by Martin Council, has challenged the ruling. It is believed that the reason for the downgrade was, in large part, the chief inspector’s concern about the response to the “rule of law” questions he had covered in 7 by 8-year-old students. According to the school, this phenomenon has been overemphasized and misused as evidence of further systematic problems in the quality of education. In the 2019 GCSE results, 85% of students in the school’s history have been rewarded in 9-5 grades, with half achieving top grades of 7-9.
Ursulin High’s submission to Offstead states: “The school does not dispute the finding that the rule of law was not clear enough in the education plan. The school, however, argues for the unequal weight placed on the fact that the quality of its teaching is not so outstanding as to support the overall assessment.
“This would place an unreasonable weight on a piece of evidence and would be inconsistent with an excessive thesis that an accurate judgment on quality must be reached after all evidence has been taken into account.”
In another example, visitors citing Dean’s Forest Colway Community Infant School from “outstanding” to “in need of improvement” cited an example where students, aged seven, “could not order the important events of history ৷ there is a gap in their knowledge.”
Headmaster organizations said last night that other schools had similar experiences.
Ian Hartwright, a senior policy adviser at the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “School leaders are increasingly concerned about the decisions that some visitors make in response to students saying ‘wrong’ or answering ‘wrong’ or not understanding a question.” The ‘pop quiz’ asks questions and it’s really problematic to try to determine how much the kids know by looking at whether they remember things and can say them clearly. [them] Adequately thematic and variable of such approaches. None of this is a good thing in an inspection system where you need consistency. “
He cites the example of a school that felt it was identified because students in a geography class could not remember the name of a river they covered in a lesson.
“Another example I came across across my desk last week where a school was absolutely sure they met exceptional standards but were excluded because children were asked about something they had learned in design technology the previous year and they were not. Can’t remember According to the inspector, this shows that their knowledge has not been combined, “added Hartwright. “But there is no time for visitors to properly question the curriculum in this way during a two-day visit.
A spokesman for Offstead said: “Talking to students is an important part of the inspection process, to help students assess whether the school’s intentions are matched with what they actually know and understand. But it is never the case that the answer to the students’ questions will be the only reason to change the school grade. ”