OFSTED inspections : do they promote improvement in teaching quality?
thesisposted on 15.12.2014, 10:44 by Glynn Snelling
The inspection of state schools by the Office for Standards in Education (OfSTED) has been a major and very expensive national undertaking since 1992 and has had a substantial impact on the professional lives of all teachers. Although principally an exercise in accountability, this thesis investigates the other claim of OfSTED, that of improvement through inspection. The focus seeks to examine the effect of inspection on the improvement of teaching quality. The relationship between OfSTED, local education authorities, schools and individual teachers is examined, applying the Becher and Kogan model for examining structural levels within normative and operational modes. OfSTED employs a methodology increasingly under criticism from the research establishment and highlights a major difference between England and Wales and other countries. This is especially so in those states in Australia where teachers, local authorities and academic researchers work in true partnership with the central authority in the promotion of quality and school improvement. The value of inspection in improving teaching quality is demonstrated to be limited, with most teachers believing that the process has little positive impact on them professionally and many, supported by increasing research findings, believing that the process undermines teachers' professionalism and can actually lower pupils' standards of attainment. The stress created by the process is considered to be a major negative factor in the management of the nation's teachers.