An inspector calls?

Last week, the government announced their GCSE and A Level exam contingency plan, in case things go wrong again

Contingency plans confirmed for GCSEs, AS and A levelsGOV.UK
The government intends for exams to take place next summer. But if they cannot go ahead safely or fairly due to the pandemic, contingency arrangements will be in place to ensure that schools and colleges are well prepared to enable students to achieve their qualifications. Following a consultation, the department and qualifications regulator Ofqual have confirmed students would receive Teacher Assessed Grades based on a range of their work, similar to this summer.

… and released the necessary guidance.

Guidance for schools, colleges and other exam centres on contingency arrangements for students entering GCSEs, AS and A levels, the Advanced Extension Award and Project qualifications in summer 2022GOV.UK
Although the government is firmly committed to exams going ahead in summer 2022, we need to have contingency plans in place for the unlikely event that exams have to be cancelled again because of the pandemic. This guidance sets out what teachers should do during the remainder of the academic year 2021 to 2022, until exams are taken, as a contingency. It follows the outcome of a consultation on contingency arrangements.

This week, they’ve announced plans to speed up Ofsted inspections.

Ofsted accelerates inspections for schools and further education providersGOV.UK
This will mean parents and learners will get up-to-date assurance about the quality of education that their children or they are receiving. Schools, colleges and other FE providers will receive timely information to inform their improvement plans. Beginning with last term’s inspections, all schools and FE providers will be inspected at least once by summer 2025.

You can imagine how that went down.

Plan to speed up Ofsted inspections of schools in England sparks furyThe Guardian
“Government ministers are showing, yet again, that they have no understanding of the exhaustion and stress felt by teachers and leaders,” said Dr Mary Bousted, the joint general secretary of the National Education Union.

Nick Brook, the deputy general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, added: “Given the pressure schools are currently under and the recent calls to pause inspections this term, the announcement of more to come feels completely tone-deaf.” […]

Former school inspectors have added their voices to the growing disenchantment, among them Frank Norris, a former senior HMI with Ofsted, who expressed “deep concern”. “I’m based in the north and the pandemic has hit some of our communities the hardest. Schools have managed amazingly well and kept things rolling,” Norris said. “It is shameful that Ofsted inspectors apparently choose to give this crucial area of work little attention when they produce their inspection reports.”

Ofsted strips most ‘outstanding’ schools of top rating in first round of reportsEvening Standard
More than two in three schools previously judged as outstanding have been stripped of their top rating following Ofsted inspections in September, an analysis by PA news agency suggests. All schools previously judged by Ofsted as outstanding are no longer exempt from routine inspection.

Worrying about inspections is possibly the last things teachers need at the moment.

How to handle the student disrespect sweeping the countrySmart Classroom Management
Since returning to in-person learning, respect has taken a nosedive. Students are just different. We all see it. We all know it. The question is, what to do about it? Well, the usual keys are still in play: Clear Boundaries; 100% Consistency; Calm Enforcement. Keeping your cool regardless of what a student does or says, and doing what you say you’re going to do, are now more important than ever before. Fail on this front and the battles will be constant, the disrespect unrelenting. However, the time has come for something more.

Author: Terry Madeley

Works with student data and enjoys reading about art, data, education and technology.

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