Yet again we find teachers being attacked by the establishment. Last week, it was David Cameron saying there are too many “coasting” schools, and this week it’s the chief inspector of Ofsted, Miriam Rosen, in Ofsted’s annual report claiming that there are too many “satisfactory” schools. One wonders if Rosen — or Ofsted inspector generally — really understand the English language; surely “satisfactory” means precisely that. Apparently not, in the double-speak of the school inspectorate, “satisfactory” apparently means “unsatisfactory”.
For experienced teachers like me, this contorted use of the language is all too familiar. The chief problem is that it does nothing to raise the morale of the profession (a key factor in raising standards) and it doesn’t accurately describe the situation. The truth is that there is no such thing as a “coasting” or “satisfactory” school; within most schools you’ll find brilliant teachers, “satisfactory” ones, and, possibly, those that are struggling. Labelling great swathes of schools in this way is very unfair and totally inaccurate.