I’ve been thinking about this for a while. I know a well trusted and respected colleague who is also an inspector. Whenever I see her I’m desperate to ask if there’s anything exciting or useful going on in other schools that I can steal or adapt. But of course she can’t really do this. Not in a 2 minute conversation anyway.
So if inspectors are the ones travelling around seeing what works and what doesn’t work, why don’t we tap into this huge resource?
Most of us have little time to share. Twitter is the quickest and easiest way to do it but 140 characters is limiting. Blogs are great but are inspectors ‘unofficially’ allowed to share the ins and outs?
You may say, this is the domain of networks, chains and teaching schools; to share good practice. I’m afraid to say that throughout my career I’ve never benefited from this. It’s too bureaucratic. At best it means time out of the classroom or a tired two hours after teaching a full day.
Maybe Ofsted need to be revolutionary and instead of discouraging its inspectors to offer inspection advice as a consultant they should formally require it in an official capacity.
A system where annually an inspector has to run a focussed webinar or write a detailed blog post (and respond to any questions) or run a seminar (not all during the school day) They could have specialisms; behaviour, data, assessment, leadership etc. they could share all the good practice they’ve seen over the year in this focus. If it’s annually it reduces the risk of schools being directly identified although if it’s good practice why would they mind? Maybe they could sign to agree for their systems to be shared.
Is this what the Ofsted case studies do on their site? How many people read these? Are they accessible? Do they give us the opportunity to ask questions?
So, I propose instead of seeing inspectors just as the judge and jury we start to use them as the ‘eyes and ears’ of education. Pulling together the great stuff that is going on around the country. Maybe this may help to shift the often negative views of Ofsted to one of collaboration and support.