Ofsted tells MFL teachers: don’t expose pupils to “unfamiliar” language as it is likely to demotivate them

Education Uncovered writes about how Ofsted has set out a vision for major changes to the way modern languages should be taught, in contrast to national curriculum. Ofsted’s ‘research review’, published in June, was not subject to much scrutiny but it sets out a vision whereby “novice” learners concentrate on basics of vocabulary, grammar and phonics, not engaging with naturalistic language until later. As quoted by Education Uncovered, “that seems to be a huge change for an inspectorate to be putting forward as an ideal, as is clear in this document, without this having been subject to any real debate, or consultation”. To read more, see the analysis here.

Zahawi wants Ofsted to help raise school attendance

Education secretary asks DfE to do a ‘deep dive into absenteeism’ as new figures show more than one in 10 pupils was off last week

Nadhim Zahawi has said he wants work with Ofsted to raise attendance levels as new figures showed more than one in 10 pupils was out of school last week.

He told an event at the Conservative Party conference tonight that one of his first acts as education secretary was to ask his department to do “a deep dive into what’s happening with absenteeism”.

To read more, click here (TES)

From ‘world’s finest’ to ‘inadequate’: Teacher trainers fail new Ofsted test

Concerns watchdog out to ‘discredit’ sector as 8 providers rated less than ‘good’.

Unveiling plans to create an international teacher training qualification that can be exported overseas, former education secretary Gavin Williamson had nothing but praise for the sector.

“Here in this country we are blessed with some of the world’s finest teachers and this is down to the quality and rigour of our teacher training,” Williamson wrote. “I want as many people as possible to be able to benefit from this.”

But that reputation is now being very publicly shredded – a move that some providers believe the government is secretly cheering on. Schools Week investigates …

To read more, go to Schools Week – article by Samantha Booth

Exclusive: Reform Ofsted post Covid ‘battle’, say heads

A commission involving heads should be set up to review accountability structures in wake of pandemic, say school leaders

In 1942, the Liberal politician William Beveridge presented a report to Parliament containing a detailed plan for post-war recovery.

“Now, when the war is abolishing landmarks of every kind, is the opportunity for using experience in a clear field,” he said.

His ideas went on to significantly influence the founding of the Welfare State, promising protection for citizens “from cradle to grave”. Now, in a new report in 2021, a group of headteachers say the “opportunity and imperative are comparable” with the post-war era as they call for major shifts in policy that they say are needed to fight a “very different battle” to recover from the Covid pandemic.

The report, from the think-tank Headteachers’ Roundtable, An Alternative Education White Paper, calls for reform of the schools inspectorate Ofsted, as well as funding shifts, as the “the current situation requires a move away from catch-up culture to a long-term, sustainable commitment to provision-led funding”.

The organisation conducted three listening exercises during the spring focusing on accountability, resources and assessment, with more than 150 school leaders from across the country taking part.

The think tank describes the resulting policy paper as a “sensible, practical and necessary” set of proposals from “respected leaders in the field” that the government should listen to if it is serious about “building back better” after the national coronavirus crisis. 

To read more from the tes website, click here

Ofsted bosses contradictory over limiting inspection grades for poor careers advice

A confused picture has emerged after Ofsted’s chief inspector contradicted her FE director on whether poor careers advice could limit inspection grades.

Chief inspector Amanda Spielman told the Commons education select committee this morning it was “unlikely” a school would receive an ‘outstanding’ rating if its careers guidance, namely compliance with the Baker Clause, was not up to scratch.

This is despite the watchdog’s deputy director for FE Paul Joyce telling the Association of Employment and Learning Providers national conference last week limiting inspection grades based on the quality of careers advice is not the “best way” to improve it, and “should not be the sole determining factor of what grade the school gets”.

To read more: FE Week.