Education & Family

Ofsted warns schools not to fake it during inspections

'Putting on a show' is 'deeply irritating' for inspectors, says Sir Michael Wilshaw

Schools should not attempt to pull the "proverbial wool" over inspectors' eyes, the head of schools watchdog Ofsted has warned head teachers.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said inspectors did not want to see "frenetic activity designed to impress but without purpose, meaning and relevance".

He described teachers "putting on a show" as "deeply irritating".

Sir Michael was speaking at the annual conference of the Association of School and College Leaders.

He said that schools teaching in a way they usually did not was confusing for pupils "who quickly grasp that this isn't the sort of teaching they normally experience".

Instead, he said, inspectors wanted to see "teaching which is part of the normal pattern of school life and which gives youngsters the chance to progress".

Disruptive pupils

"Let me repeat again, inspectors do not visit lessons with a preconceived view of teaching style," said Sir Michael.

"There is no such thing as an Ofsted preferred style of teaching.

"Inspectors want to see youngsters focused and engaged and in the best days, inspired by the quality of teaching."

He warned that "colouring in a map, endless copying of instructions from the board, or tedious word searches" did not amount to engagement.

"Good teaching and positive engagement is about high-level challenge to learners of all abilities including our most able youngsters," he said.

Sir Michael's comments follow claims made last year in an online forum that some disruptive pupils were paid to truant during inspections while weak teachers were encouraged to take sick leave.

And in 2011, Education Secretary Michael Gove suggested that some schools were hiding pupils' bad behaviour from inspectors.

Under new rules, schools are now only informed of an inspection the afternoon before it is due to begin.

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