Each week at my school we have compulsory teacher training until 6pm (see, sometimes us teachers DO need to stay past 3pm!).
This week’s presentation was about communication, but to me it was really only an extensive PowerPoint presentation and numerous acronyms – GALT, SEN, SCLN, BESD, IPED, IEP and OFSTED to name but a few.
If you’re thinking ‘WTF’, you’re not alone. Acronyms are the bane of my existence, and it doesn’t help that nobody has ever communicated (oh, the irony!) what most of these letters stand for. However, one looms so large that even I know what it stands for – OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education).
Basically, inspectors call on schools periodically and score them, all in the name of raising standards and improving the quality of teaching and learning occurring in schools.
My school was inspected just before I arrived, before the Easter holidays. I’ve been told that I’m lucky that my only reaction to the word ‘inspection’ is the ‘Inspector Gadget’ theme song. Teachers were told what they should wear, there were all-night planning sessions and the laminating machine must have overheated at one point, so extensive are the wall displays around the place.
All of this artifice invariably resulted in a ‘good’ result for the school. A friend of mine that teaches in the East End told of a neighbouring ‘outstanding’ school that buses all of their naughty students to another borough when they are being inspected.
It is little wonder, then, that such bodies fail to see the day-to-day realities of teaching in London schools.
The successor of Ed Balls (LOL!), who served as the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families in the Labour government until they were recently booted out, should grow a pair and review this ridiculous routine.
Secret diary of an expat teacher – Week 4
Secret diary of an expat teacher – Week 3
Secret diary of an expat teacher – Week 2
Secret diary of an expat teacher – Week 1