There is so much in the twittersphere at the moment about Ofsted and the grading, or rather the not grading of individual lessons. This has got me reflecting on a recent visit to my RE dept. by The National Society as they carry out an audit of RE provision in church schools.
I seem to have developed some of the traits best associated with Pavlov’s dogs! Our visiting ‘not-inspector’ from the National Society helpfully reminded me that he was not inspecting my department, he really was not doing a SIAMS by stealth! However having been observed for two lessons I found myself waiting for a grade judgement. He gave me plenty of feedback, we also engaged in some helpful dialogue about my lessons and he used language that clearly indicated what I was doing was at least good, but still no grade…
Why do I automatically want to hear a grade for my lesson? “The year 10 dialogue was verging on A-Level standard” I was told, and I knew the quality of what I had delivered, as well as the rate of progress for my year 10 group this year. As teachers it seems that we have inadvertently become trained to judge ourselves by the numbers we are assigned after each observation. We know this to be flawed and yet the system has become structured to maintain the fallacy.
I really hope that the current engagement with Ofsted by teachers will bring about a real shift in function and practice both by Ofsted and school leadership. Professional dialogue designed to develop teaching and learning should be what we are all aiming towards.