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Crazy world of assessment


   Excerpt from Daily Telegraph UK

Ofsted team fails flagship "beacon" school
By Liz Lightfoot, Education Correspondent
(Filed: 13/12/2003)


One of the Government"s flagship "beacon" schools has been failed by Ofsted under tough new inspection rules.

A third more schools have been failed or put in the "serious weaknesses" category since September compared with the same period last year, including ones with better than average results and good reputations.

Ofsted says it has made inspection more rigorous and wants to root out complacency. David Bell, the chief inspector, has said satisfactory teaching is not good enough to raise standards.

Head teachers, however, say the new system amounts to "a checklist" and that what was once satisfactory has become unsatisfactory without warning.

In September and October 2002 there were 20 schools failed by inspectors, representing 2.7 per cent. In the same months this year, 38 schools were failed, or 4.5 per cent. A further 44 schools were designated as having serious weakness this year compared with 30 in the same period last year.

In the latest case, Grey Court, a comprehensive with a waiting list in Richmond upon Thames, the wealthy outer London borough that tops this year"s primary league table, has been put "in special measures". The school was one of the first to be designated a beacon school and given more than ฃ40,000 to spread its good practice.

Earlier this year its beacon status was renewed and then in July it was awarded specialist status as a college of mathematics, science and computing after a visit by senior inspectors who praised the education it offered in the subjects.

But when an Ofsted team visited two months later it failed the school, criticising unsatisfactory teaching. The inspectors said leadership was weak, the use of computers unsatisfactory and pupils misbehaved because of the poor teaching.

Last week Chris Pratt resigned after 18 years as the headmaster of Rossgate Primary in Hemel Hempstead, Herts, saying he was disgusted at his Ofsted report, which said the school had "serious weaknesses" and that his leadership was "complacent".

Four years previously Ofsted had praised Rossgate, which serves a large estate of mixed council and owner-occupied housing, as "a good school" and said it benefited from Mr Pratt"s "effective leadership and management". Then two years ago, the head teacher was praised by Ofsted for his "positive and perceptive management" when he was seconded to help to rescue a failing school.





Posted by : Phoenix , Date : 2003-12-13 , Time : 16:11:00 , From IP : 172.29.3.240

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Posted by : ArLim , Date : 2003-12-15 , Time : 12:14:21 , From IP : 203.113.76.75

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