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News - 22 July 2014

Report accuses Ofsted of marking down traditional teaching.

 Think tank Civitas analysed 260 Ofsted reports and found "trendy" child-led learning and 

"jazzy lessons" were preferred to teacher-led classes and penalised teachers for using traditional "chalk and talk" teaching styles.
 
The report says inspectors should know not to give credit to one style of teaching over another, but found teachers were "accustomed to putting on 'jazzy' lessons, replete with group work, role play and active learning in order to fulfil what has become widely acknowledged as the 'Ofsted style'".
 
Tonmoy Kumar, Manager of the Accounts Department of ABDS and an active school governor comments:
“The study for the think tank, by Robert Peal, a history teacher and education research fellow, is based on an analysis of two sets of reports. The first 130 reports, on secondary schools inspected between September 10 and October 13 last year, showed clear evidence of bias, Civitas claims. The second set of 130 reports was produced from inspections carried out after new guidance on how to assess teaching quality was issued earlier this year.”
 
More than half (52%) showed a preference for lessons in which pupils learned independently from teacher instruction, 42% showed a preference for group work, the study says. And 18% criticised teachers for talking too much.
 
Sir Michael wrote to inspectors in January saying: "Please, please, please think carefully before criticising a lesson because it doesn't conform to a particular view of how children should be taught."
 
The report claims lead inspectors were given a list of "banned phrases" bemoaning the lack of "trendy teaching methods". It adds that some reports were edited after publication "to expunge examples of child-centred language".
 
An Ofsted spokesman said: "The arguments put forward in this report are largely reheated ones.
"What matters to Ofsted is what matters to parents - ensuring that schools are delivering the best possible education for their children.
 
If you need any help and advice with Free Schools, Academy Schools or Charities, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.
 
ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900 E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net
 
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