Ofsted chief is being very misleading in her attack of “satisfactory” schools

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.
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Published by: @wonderfrancis

Francis Gilbert is a Lecturer in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, teaching on the PGCE Secondary English programme. He also teaches the Creative Writing module on the MA in Children’s Literature, which is run by Maggie Pitfield and Professor Michael Rosen. Previously, he worked for a quarter of a century in various English state schools teaching English and Media Studies to 11-18 year olds. He has, at times, moonlighted as a journalist, novelist and social commentator. He is the author of ‘Teacher On The Run’, ‘Yob Nation’, ‘Parent Power’, ‘Working The System -- How To Get The Very Best State Education for Your Child’, and a novel about school, ‘The Last Day Of Term’. His first book, ‘I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here’ was a big hit, becoming a bestseller and being serialised on Radio 4. In his role as an English teacher, he has taught many classic texts over the years and has developed a great many resources to assist readers with understanding, appreciating and responding to them both analytically and creatively. This led him to set up his own small publishing company FGI Publishing (fgipublishing.com) which has published his study guides as well as a number of books by other authors, including Roger Titcombe’s ‘Learning Matters’ and anthology of creative writing 'The Gold Room'. He is the co-founder, with Melissa Benn and Fiona Millar, of The Local Schools Network, www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk, a blog that celebrates non-selective state schools, and has his own website, www.francisgilbert.co.uk. He has appeared numerous times on radio and TV, including Newsnight, the Today Programme, Woman’s Hour and the Russell Brand Show. In June 2015, he was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing and Education by Goldsmiths.

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