1. ITV Report

Teachers 'have to make lessons dull' for Ofsted inspections

Professor Bridget Cooper, University of Sunderland Photo:

Teachers have to make their lessons 'dull and mechanical' during Ofsted inspections in an attempt to be judged “outstanding” instead of making the lessons 'enjoyable and creative' a report has claimed.

In a report by the University of Sunderland, researchers found that 'teachers are constrained by the structure of the school day and the push for conformity is hindering progress in “deprived” schools.'

The report, Supporting Outstanding Pupil Progress In Schools In An Area Of Social and Economic Deprivation, focused on schools in disadvantaged areas and what behaviours make an “outstanding” teacher, contributing to outstanding student progress.

“Teachers (during inspections) felt that the need to personalise learning can be constrained by many issues in school; the structure of the timetable, the school day, students not given enough responsibility, not enough outdoor or extra-curricular activities. The push for conformity can hinder progress. Moreover, following blanket school rules can kill the spark of creativity, for example no mobile phones, whereas teachers and children need to take risks with new ideas and technology to move on."

– Report authors

The report also compares the resources available to schools in deprived areas to fee-paying schools such as Eton.

The report claims students feel the national curriculum is “dull” and that because fee-paying schools have more money, they also have parents who push their children to learn while at home.

“Decisions about educational policy are made for the most part by very rich and privileged people, many of whom went to schools like Eton, who have never understood such levels of deprivation. Their empathy is depleted through their socialisation and continually self-reinforcing ideology which worships free market competition uncritically.”

“Not all teachers and students deserve prizes but they do deserve self-esteem, opportunity and fulfilment and moreover fair treatment. A prerequisite of this is a properly funded education system which genuinely seeks to meet need and does not penalise and denigrate students simply for starting the educational process with very little, and denigrating and punishing staff for having to work harder and more effectively in these contexts than in any other.”

“It is obvious from this report that schools in socially and economically deprived areas need more generous and more appropriate funding. Those in power need to understand and take into account the effort teachers in those schools have to make to counteract the multiplicity of needs of their students for their entire school lives.

“It is completely unfair and irrelevant to compare these schools, teachers and children throughout their academic life unfavourably with schools which do not have to meet such great need as the teachers have work even harder.”

– Professor Bridget Cooper, Director of the Centre for Pedagogy, at the University of Sunderland

The report concludes in disadvantaged areas learning needs to be more personalised and students need more motivation.