Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Monday, 1 April 2013

Teachers "Commit Suicide" over OFSTED Inspections

In the Mail on Sunday is a report on the NUT annual conference.
Whilst most of the report covers their usual diatribe against Michael Gove, one of the most extraordinary claims is that the school inspection regime is widely resented and is blamed for raising teachers’ stress levels and suicide rates.

I just wonder in what world these teachers are living. As an engineer, through my whole career, my work was always subject to inspection, certainly until the time when I became a project engineer and inspected other people's work. Of course it was stressful, whether one was having one's work inspected or even when carrying out an inspection. But it was accepted because we all knew that lives could be lost if mistakes were made.

Why should teachers be any different?

Would they prefer, for example, to fly in an aircraft which hadn't been minutely inspected at all stages of manufacture by outside experts and then further inspected on a routine basis when in use? Are they opposed to the routine inspection of Hospitals by outsiders? Would they prefer that their food was not inspected at various stages by government officials and did they complain when it was suggested that meat inspections should be increased? What about Cafes and Restaurants, should they be left uninspected? The list is endless!

So why shouldn't teaching be inspected? Why shouldn't our children's education be subjected to the same detailed inspection as most other occupations?  Whilst children might not get killed if their teaching isn't up to standard, there is no doubt that their whole lives can be affected by the standards of teaching at their schools.  Perhaps there should be a resident Ofsted inspector at all secondary schools, just as there was a resident government inspector when I worked at a company making electrical equipment for the Military.  Now that would really "put the cat among the pigeons"!

An afterthought. Are teachers who have either attempted suicide or are known to have suicidal tendencies fit people to be allowed to teach our children? I certainly wouldn't want my grandson to come into contact with any teacher who was known to have contemplated suicide.

1 comment:

  1. I am not a teacher and so don't know exactly how their "inspections" compare but I was once a nurse working in a nursing home and we were subject to twice-yearly inspections: one announced and one unannouced.

    I personally found them extremely stressful - you are trying to do what is already a stressful job with someone literally watching over your shoulder for the whole day.

    The problem is that there are a lot of "rules 'n regs" in a nursing home (and I daresay that it is similar in schools) and you are expected to adhere to them 100% all the time.

    However, some are frankly impossible to comply with, some are impractical and some would require the day to be extended from its current 24 hours to nearer 50 hours.

    Sometimes I really did get the impression that the rules were written by someone with absolutely no experience of what it is like to actually do the job and fitting the "reality" into the "on paper" sometimes required a stretch of the imagination.

    In the end, I obviously didn't commit suicide (that idea never entered my head) but I did leave the nursing profession.

    I figured that perhaps these inspectors should have my job - they would clearly be so very much better at it!