Proposed Changes In Regulations Governing Independent Schools

The ISC’s blog has a post on the proposed regualtory changes that would essentially put independent schools’ inspections in the hands of OfSTED.  To quote the blog:

In essence, the proposals will mean that Ofsted, rather than the Secretary of State, becomes accountable for regulating the whole independent sector. That doesn’t mean inspecting schools directly. That area will remain with The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). But it would mean that Ofsted would become the interpreter of regulation for the ISI and therefore dictate the inspection agenda.  

 However, if you take a moment to read through the proposals, what is on the table is a system whereby independent schools have the opportunity to prove the quality of there provision on a far more regular basis.  We are, at present, inspected every 6 years by ISI.  Under the new proposals we will be inspected every 3 years for a shorter period of time (the 2-3 day model: the light touch, critical friend approach), following the guidelines set out for maintained sector schools. 

As a governor of a small mainatined sector school and a deputy head at a large independent prep I have experienced both forms of inspection.  The streamlined model used by OfSTED lasts 3 days and is customised through the use of self-evaluation data.  This opportunity to regulary go through a self-evaluation process is a far more professional tool for school management in the 21st century.  It ensures that staff are continually aware of development goals and focused on maintaining standards in learning and teaching.

Centralised control is anathema to Independent Education.  However, by ensuring that we have an effective and efficient process of inspection and review then we can become far more confident of our standards in the wider educational world. 

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See you there…

This is an event that, if it hasn’t already begun its descent, will surely get the ball rolling.

The Symposium on Public Benefit on March 6th 2008 will hopefully all bring us up to speed on the guidance for fee-charging chaities.  Hopefully it will also give independent school managers a chance to network & find out just what each other is up to & share some good ideas!

Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics

The ever watchful Andy Ross has written about the contradictory reports emerging from the Press & the Government.  From Andy’s Blog:

Current AffairsNewspapers: One in seven children are unable to write their own name or recite the letters of the alphabet by the age of five, according to government figures.  The results, based on teachers’ observations of more than 500,000 children throughout England as they start their formal schooling, also concluded that a third failed to recognise simple words such as “dog” or “pen”, while 15% could not write “mum” or “dad” or their own name from memory.

Government: This year’s Foundation Stage Profile (FSP) results show an upturn in the number of children reaching a good level of development in communication, language and literacy and personal, social and emotional development (PSED). The total has increased by one percentage point from last year to 45%, meaning that an additional 7,500 children achieved a good level of development this year.

So what is reality?  How is a school to respond when parents, Governors & teachers are being fed such contradictory & inflamatory information?   For me it is down to clear communication about the situation on the ground.  That all agents within the community are clear about how its own children are coping under the weight of expectation with which they are saddled today.  So it is a case of being aware of the spin from both Government and the press and providing a transparent window on what the school is up to.

On What Teacher’s Make.

I never got round to watching this when Peter Ford posted about the impact of the slam poetry of Taylor Mali.

From the star of my career I’ve been able to spend some time around the American education system and understand why there is this passion about the education of young people.  Mali’s observation about what it is that a teacher does ought be the first thing that student teachers see at the start of their courses.

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