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Should Ofsted get rid of its grades?

Should Ofsted get rid of its grades?

Ofsted's current inspection regime isn’t ‘fit for the future’ – but there is a solution, according to a new book by influential academic Frank Coffield

Ofsted inspections should be radically overhauled and no overall grade awarded, to remove the fear factor associated with the watchdog, a leading academic has claimed.

Frank Coffield, emeritus professor at the University College London Institute of Education, has called for far-reaching reforms of how colleges and schools are assessed, claiming that education is “too important and too expensive to be evaluated by a model of inspection that is not fit for the future”.

In his new book, Will the Leopard Change its Spots? which is to be published next month, Professor Coffield calls for a radical new approach to release the “creativity of every student and staff member” and proposes a new system of inspection with no overall grade. 

Instead, in each of nine inspection priorities (teaching, learning and assessment; professional learning; democracy; curriculum; learning communities; resources; context; self-improvement and obstacles to a self-improving system), inspectors would choose a point on a continuum from “needs a little” support to “needs a lot” of support. A “single adjective” can “never sum up all the complexities of the extraordinary diversity” within colleges, he writes.

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