Sunday, 5 February 2012
Schools in England are about to undergo something of a revolution - it would appear.
The new head of Ofsted - Sir Michael Wilshaw - which inspects schools south of the border has set the cat amongst the pigeons.
By saying publicly that head teachers in more than 5,000 schools are not up to standard - and bear responsibility for unacceptably high levels of poor teaching.
So Ofsted plans to shake things up by brining in a new and tougher inspection regime - and its new head honcho says he wants "less tolerance of poor leadership" and a "no-excuses culture" - in which heads stopped using poverty to explain away low exam grades.
Now I can imagine words like that will cause the teaching unions in Scotland to splutter over their cornflakes.
But before Sir Michael Wilshaw became the new head of Oftsed - he was a highly successful and widely respected head teacher.
So he would seem to know what he's talking about and has a programme of reforms which include:
- in future all school inspections will take place without prior warning
- inspection reports will be stripped of teacher speak will instead contain a candid assessment on the first page saying if a school needs to improve
- a new parents website has been installed which allows parents to post their opinions of schools online, a bit like Trip Advisor
Now I think all of these proposals are eminently sensible.
Can you imagine, for example, inspecting care homes - by giving advance notice of your arrival?
The whole point is to see things as they really are - not as the management would like them to be - which is what happens if visits and inspections are timetabled in advance.
I hope the Scottish Government is taking a careful note of developments - because it's refreshing to hear someone being ambitious for children - instead of wheeling out the same old excuses for failure.