Opinion Former Article

NUT: Grade pressures come from Ofsted, whose "criteria for success change as often as the weather"

Commenting on the report by Ofsted, Mathematics: made to measure, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“It is not for the Department of Education or Ofsted to direct and develop curriculum content. This should be in partnership with teachers, awarding bodies and subject specialists.

“Of course we need to ensure that all pupils of all abilities are taught by qualified maths teachers and that schools share good practice in how this subject is taught. This will not be achieved, however, through yet more top-down measures being imposed on schools.

“The report stresses the fact that schools need time for long-term improvement in maths to occur, yet many schools feel under pressure to improve grades rapidly. What they do not go onto say is that this pressure comes directly from Ofsted. Schools live in fear of being downgraded by Ofsted, whose criteria for success change as often as the weather. This punitive system is bad for pupils, teachers and education.

“It is quite extraordinary that the Chief Inspector should have concerns about repeated entry for GSCE maths when it is the very system that he presides over which encourages such practice. Schools are only judged by Ofsted as being successful if the majority of pupils gain 5 GCSEs grades A*- C so it is hardly surprising this is the focus for schools.

“Sir Michael Wilshaw cannot have it both ways. If you want creativity and innovation in teaching you have to stop creating ever narrower and restrictive criteria by which you judge success. It is actual support in schools that matters, not yet more materials and guidelines from Ofsted; support such as the provision of additional one-to-one tuition for pupils who need it, and a curriculum which gives teachers the freedom and flexibility to teach in a way that engages and interests pupils”.

END pr86-2012
For further details contact Caroline Cowie 0207 380 4706 or 07879480061


Caroline Cowie
NUT Press Officer
Hamilton House, Mabledon Place,
London WC1H 9BD
0207 380 4706 or 07879480061
 

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