Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Yet more bureaucrats? Sheesh!

From Politics Home we learn that the incoming head of Ofsted has backed the idea of local commissioners being set up to spot problems and oversee changes to failing schools. In an interview with The Times, Sir Michael Wilshaw said there needed to be “some sort of intermediary bodies which can detect when things aren't going well”. Labour’s Stephen Twigg said his party would give “serious consideration” to the proposals. (my emphasis)

From the website of Ofsted (Who we are and what we do):
"Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. We report directly to Parliament and we are independent and impartial. We inspect and regulate services which care for children and young people, and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages. Every week, we carry out hundreds of inspections and regulatory visits throughout England, and publish the results on our website." (my emphasis)
Needless to say, it appears that Stephen is unable to 'Twigg' that this is just creating yet more public sector workers at a time when the government is attempting to cull that group - neither does he appear to question why, if additional 'Commissioners' are required, just what the hell have Ofsted being doing?

Just saying..............


Goodnight Vienna said...

I noted that too, with a sinking heart. I don't see the point in creating so-called public bodies that can't be trusted. I'd do away with the lot of them - a sort of "bonfire of the quangos". Now, there's a novel idea for Cameron to consider!

Anonymous said...

Might we hope that this proposal is shot down. Economic realities might force that to happen.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas (you too, GV).


James Higham said...

OFSTED itself should be disbanded because it is part of the problem, not the solution.

PeterCharles said...

First Law of Bureaucracy: Always seek to expand your own area of interest or influence.

Actually I think we should return to a Grammar and other school system. The Grammar section would be policed and examined by the major universities while other schools would be policed and examined on the basis of their speciality, say the major engineering businesses for developing engineers, Media organisations for media aspirants, Sainsbury and/or M&S for retail work and so on. Take Ofsted, government and local authorities right out of it. At least we should end up with school-leavers fit for purpose, whether it be in the world of work, academia or even the armed forces as the people expected to employ them would have set their curricula.

When O and A levels were set by the University of London or Oxbridge exam boards they were a true standard. Today the first year of a degree course is their equivalent, another failure we imported from the US education system, and even A* holders often need extra tutoring or summer schools to get them up to a minimum standard for the more difficult subjects, or at least they did before they started to bastardise degrees.

TomTom said...

Why did Thatcher create OFSTED to replace Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Schools ? She was obsessed with Private Sector Inspections and Private Sector Exam Boards as money-making enterprises.....and what do we end up with ?

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"bodies which can detect when things aren't going well”

Such as, erm, parents?

WitteringsfromWitney said...

To all commenters so far: Cannot agree more that govt etc should butt out. WY, the last commenter solves the problem when he says who better to police our education system than parents. PC also makes a good point when he suggests Grammar Schools need reintroducing as a 'stream'. It is because our education system has been 'bastardized' in the name of innovation that is the root cause of the poor literacy and numeracy today.

PeterCharles said...

Ah TT, a little undeserved prejudice showing there :-)

Thatcher dumped the Schools Inspectorate because they had been taken over by the Education Establishment lock, stock and barrel and was seen as unrecoverable. Ofsted in its original form started to make real waves in education and could have generated real improvements, but it was firstly blocked and neutered by the Education Establishment and the teaching unions then infiltrated and taken over by that same Education Establishment which leaves us with same mess and inadequacy as there was when Thatcher sought to reform it. Indeed, having seen the danger, the Education Establishment has made things even worse and even more resistant to reform, not least in debasing exams to such an extent that no one can fail other than deliberately and show a 'statistical' improvement.

TomTom said...

Exams were debased because Gordon Brown set targets for DoE of 2% increase in pass rates annually. The GCSE was introduced by Keith Joseph to create parity between academic and non-academic streams.

A-Level abolition was halted so long as Thatcher was in power, but Major destroyed its basis by making Polytechnics into Universities and thus caused the funding crisis for Mandatory Grants

PeterCharles said...

The exam debasement began in around 1966, TT, with the introduction of the CSE, designed for those not considered able enough to take GCE 'O' levels and was almost impossible to fail. Being entirely multiple choice answers it required real effort to achieve a passing grade.

This exam was the next phase of the debasement started with the with the introduction of non-selective comprehensives.

I remember it well as I was taking 'O' levels at the time and although I was in the Alpha stream and taking nine 'O' levels the school wanted to promote the new CSE so everyone in that year had to take the Religious Education paper. I was so infuriated at what my rebellious self saw as an uncalled for impertinence that I did absolutely no revision for it, answered every question straight off the top of my head with no consideration, skipped any question that didn't immediately register and finished what was, I believe, an hour and a quarter paper in twenty minutes, walking out immediately after ticking the final box. I achieved a grade 1 pass, supposedly equivalent to a 'C' grade or better 'O' level pass.

I should point out, I suppose, that I had entered and left my 'religious' phase between the ages of eleven and twelve during which I deduced for myself that organised religion was complete and utter bunk.

PeterCharles said...

Idiot boy! "Being entirely multiple choice answers it required real effort to achieve a passing grade." should have been: "Being entirely multiple choice answers it required real effort NOT to achieve a passing grade."

I'm sure there must be an edit option you can enable somewhere WfW.