Ofsted inspectors could ease the school staffing crisis

In its response to the staffing crisis in schools (Combine classes in case of Covid staff shortages, DfE tells teachers in England, 2 1月), there’s one resource that the government has yet to tap into – the inspectorate. If Ofsted is not going to inspect “secondary schools or colleges in the first week of term”, why not deploy the inspectors to teach in them, and why not for as long as the health crisis affects staffing levels? Instead of telling teachers that their provision is “inadequate” or “requiring improvement”, the inspectors could lead by example and show staff how “outstanding” teaching can be done.

There are clearly not enough inspectors to fill all the vacancies that will be caused by the pandemic, だが Ofsted has around 1,800 employees across eight regions, most of whom could be redeployed to where the need is greatest, in those schools and colleges serving the most deprived communities. This policy would cost nothing, it would be hugely beneficial to those institutions and pupils in improving the quality of their education, and it would also act as a useful means of updating inspectors about the challenges of working in them.

Politicians are forever claiming that they don’t have a magic wand to solve complex problems, but this measure is the closest they are likely to get to a partial solution that could be enacted immediately.

嫌いなもの?
Frank Coffield
Emeritus professor of education, UCL Institute of Education

ナディム・ザハウィ has told schools to “utilise all your available teaching and non-teaching workforce to maximise on-site education for as many pupils as possible”.

It would seem that schools are being seen by the Department for Education as simply holding places to keep children off the streets and away from homes so that their parents can go to work.

Few state schools have classrooms large enough to “merge classes”, but since five of the current six ministers in the DfE went to independent schools, they may not realise this.

“For a classroom to qualify for a government air purifier, the DfE says it must show a ‘sustained’ CO2 reading of 1,500 particles per million or higher for a week when occupied,” your report says. そう, while teaching a merged class, a non-teacher needs to count air particles. ヘルプ!
Michael Bassey
Emeritus professor of education, Nottingham Trent University

If Robert Halfon is really concerned about children’s “wellbeing, mental health and anxiety”, he will get behind evidenced-based measures, such as mask-wearing, to help keep them in schools.

Disruption caused by illness, school closures and a succession of unfamiliar teachers is bound to be extremely damaging to young people. To date there has been no serious government effort in the UK to improve ventilation in schools. しかしながら, the evidence is incontrovertible: masks help to cut transmission.

Many students will be relieved to be in classrooms where others are wearing masks, especially those in clinically vulnerable families who carry the burden of knowing they could bring home a virus that could kill.

None of this is ideal; pandemics aren’t. As adults we have to stop undermining measures that will help protect students and staff and keep schools open.
Caroline O’Dwyer
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