Monday, 16 November 2009

Is it now impossible for a school to get an 'outstanding' rating for behaviour?

If you've not yet had a peek at the new Ofsted inspection schedule, then you may still be blissfully unaware of the guidance given to inspectors for assessing behaviour in schools.

As of last September pupil behaviour will, for the first time, be assessed formally. This extract from the evaluation schedule provides outline guidance and grade descriptors for the judgements that inspectors will report on when inspecting schools under section 5 of the Education Act 2005 from September 2009:

"Outstanding(1) - Pupils’ consistently thoughtful behaviour is an outstanding factor in their successful learning and creates an extremely positive school ethos. Pupils are highly considerate and very supportive of each other in lessons. Behaviour for all groups around the school is exemplary and pupils encourage others to conduct themselves well. There is no evidence of disruptive behaviour."

Scuse me? "There is no evidence of disruptive behaviour". Let's just unpick that a bit. Does 'no evidence' mean literally that; none, nix, zero, nothing - not even a little teeny, weeny bit? Or are we in Queen of Hearts territory where "When I use a word it means whatever I want it to mean!"? And what constitutes 'disruptive behaviour'? What guidance (if any) is given to inspectors in order to ensure at least the semblance of consistency in this area? Say, for example, school A is inspected by Mr Floggem Hardy, goose-stepping down the corridor shouting "Mein Gott..." (ooops, no, sorry, stop there. Bit of cheap unfounded national stereotyping with xenophobic overtones there. I'll start that again..) "My god, did you see that? That child just dropped a sweet wrapper! What terrible behaviour!".
School B, on the other hand, is inspected by child of the 60's Amanda Do-goody; "Oh, how nice that pupils here are able to critique the quality of the lesson and teaching style in in such an open and uninhibited way.." as yet another teacher is told his lesson is shit.
Now consider this bit:"Behaviour for all groups around the school is exemplary and pupils encourage others to conduct themselves well". ALL groups? Exemplary? Well, I certainly hope that doesn't include the staff!
Ah, hang on.."Pupils are highly considerate and very supportive of each other in lessons." I think I may be ok here. Danielle spent most of my lesson supporting Francheska who would otherwise have slid off her seat, having been at the vodka and Lucozade all break.

Anybody out there working in a school rated 1 for behaviour? Let me know.

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