The Office for Standards in Education is changing its framework (the thing that governs how schools in England will be inspected, and what on) yet again, and they are running a consultation about it. The focus is on curriculum and reducing teacher workload.
With regard to the latter, part of the proposed changes is put forward as follows:
"...it is important that leaders and staff understand the limitations of assessment, and avoid misuse and over-use, because the production, collection and analysis of data can create additional workload for staff and leaders. Inspectors will also consider the extent to which leaders engage with staff realistically and constructively, and take account of the main pressures on them."
Here's an interesting thing. Around 8 months ago I said to Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary for England, that Ofsted inspectors should ask Headteachers to justify any measures they put in place that unduly adds to teachers' workload (such as triple marking, or crazy ideas like insisting that all worksheets are created with Quark, a professional desktop publishing program). He responded by saying that that would probably create even more workload. Well, maybe, but only for the people who increased other people's workload in the first place.
Anyway, now it has appeared (more or less) as a proposal in the new framework. I don't know if I had any influence in this -- perhaps it's all to do with the teacher retention crisis and/or the zeitgeist for expecting practices to be based on evidence rather than someone's delirium -- but I have found this quite a lot: I think of an idea, someone else proposes it, and they get the credit!
For example, I entered my blog for an award once. I came nowhere, but someone entered with a blog post along the lines of:
"Terry Freedman wrote:
<my blog post reproduced more or less verbatim>
And I agree with him."
Guess what: he won the award!
I try not to be too bitter and twisted, and take solace from something Stephen Downes said in an article in his newsletter OLDaily:
"But when [this] comes up in my own life (and it does, a lot) I say this: "you can change the world, or get credit for it. Not both." So just remember: the people getting the awards and the accolades are almost always not the people who did the work, they're just the ones getting the credit. This is true in general, not just in the case of open education. It all boils down to how you want to spend your time on this earth: seeking fame, or deserving it."
Other (recent) articles about Ofsted:
Some interesting articles from Alex Ford, suggesting that the emphasis on curriculum in the proposed new inspection framework will lead to more workload (people writing or asking for pages and pages of justification for a curriculum.
This is also reflected in Teacher Tapp's findings about what teachers think about the proposed new framework: What aspects of the new proposed Ofsted framework do you like?
(If you're asked to provide reams of documentation to justify a one page curriculum document, permit me to recommend my seminal article, How to generate random text in Word or online. You can produce hundreds of pages of rubbish with just a bit of code and a mouse click. Obviously, I cannot be held responsible if this proves to be a career-limiting move for you.)
A slightly different version of this article first appeared in my newsletter, Digital Education.