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Sector news, May 7 - 11 2012

Michael Gove in U-turn over unannounced Ofsted inspections guardian.co.uk 5 May 2012

In a speech to the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) conference education secretary Michael Gove has said that Ofsted’s proposals for no-notice visits could be dropped. Headteachers had protested at this proposal. Gove said there was a feeling that Ofsted had become “an arm of the Spanish Inquisition”.He added that the chief inspector would soon outline how notice of inspections is given to schools. The proposal had come about after concerns that some schools were sending weak teachers and disruptive pupils home during inspections. Under the current system, schools get 48 hours notice before an inspection.


Steve Gerrard joins call for school cookery lessons to fight obesity The Observer 6 May 2012

England football international Steven Gerrard has teamed up with medical experts and academics to demand that cooking and food education should remain compulsory for all children aged five to 14 to help the fight against obesity. They have said that it would be a disaster for the health of young Britons if a current review of the school curriculum allowed cooking and food education to be downgraded.


Attack on Ofsted's 'climate of fear' The Independent, 7 May 2012

Headteachers at the National Association of Head Teachers annual conference attacked the new Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, accusing him of introducing a "climate of fear" in schools. They said they were dismayed by his use of “negative rhetoric” and bullying tactics to improve standards. Sir Michael has said he intends to dump the term “satisfactory” to describe schools and replace it with “requires improvement”.


Teachers don't know what stress is, says Ofsted chief The Guardian, 10 May 2012

The new Chief Inspector of Schools for Ofsted is likely to have made more enemies among the nation’s teachers by saying they do not know the meaning of the word “stress. Sir Michael Wilshaw, a former headteacher said that despite widespread cuts to school budgets, teachers' salaries were at a record high and that they had more power, independence and resources than ever before. He told a conference of independent schools headteachers in Brighton that teachers need to “roll up their sleeves and get on with improving their schools, even in the most difficult circumstances”. As well as facing opposition from the NAHT conference (see above), the NUT has warned it is considering locking inspectors out of classrooms.


Decades on, adult learning is called in for a service TES, 11 May 2012

The first commission on FE teaching standards for decades was launched this week, after appointing commissioners from 167 applications. It begins work as colleges face criticism from Ofsted head Sir Michael Wilshaw about teaching quality, with two-thirds of recent inspections seeing grades worsen. Frank McLoughlin, the City and Islington College principal who is chairing the commission, said there had been too little study of how to teach vocational subjects. He said he would take evidence from Ofsted to back up the claims of chief inspector Sir Michael who had told MPs he was concerned about the quality of provision in the learning and skills sector.