Feeling like you are sinking under a sea of data, struggling under increasing demand from employers and government? Spare a thought for your colleagues in the UK. They work under the gaze of Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills), which sounds like it was lifted straight from the pages of a Kafka novel.
Ofsted inspectors can turn up at schools with only a couple of days notice and begin classroom inspections. Their judgments can lead to teachers and principals being sacked and schools being given the dreaded ‘special measures’ notice.
Some of these Ofsted inspectors are not qualified teachers and have dubious qualifications. Things that happen in the UK often get imported to Australia. Beware!
Keith Heggart's story
IEU Organiser Keith Heggart taught in the UK for five years and he recounts his experience of Ofsted below.
I spent almost five years in a place called Chafford Hundred, teaching at a brand new comprehensive school. I remember, one morning about five weeks after I had started teaching (five classes of Year 9 English!), the staffroom was in uproar. Everyone, from the principal down, was panicking about something called an Ofsted inspection. As a young and naïve teacher, I hadn’t heard of this, and I didn’t know what it meant. An older teacher explained it to me. Basically, Ofsted had the capability to undertake random inspections into schools, where they would come into the school for a week to observe teachers and classes. Every teacher would be given a rating at the end of the inspection – a ‘1’ meant you were ‘Outstanding’, while a ‘4’ meant that you were ‘Inadequate’.