Tuesday, 17 January 2012



Education watchdog Ofsted wants to toughen the language of inspections in England - changing the "satisfactory" rating to "requires improvement".

We need to think this through.  The Ofsted grades 1 - 4 are judgements not prescriptions.  "Requires Improvement" is a prescription.  We might as well put "Going through a rough patch".  I want to argue for the new grade to be POTENTIAL (let's leave out the HAS).

My reasons are simple:  It indicates hope for improvement to GOOD.  It shows some respect for teachers and schools that are "satisfactory" i.e meeting the current descriptors by stating they have some capacity to improve.  But most of all "REQUIRES IMPROVEMENT" has that awful sense of "hectoring" about it and I remember Michale Gove putting in his first ACT,  "Headteachers should not be hectored"...

Finally, it is one word but a critical one because - it shows there is, as yet, some unrealised good, even excellence.  If we stop believing this is possibile we are finished.