Tuesday, 20 January 2015


Official imprimatur of a sort?

In an article by Laura McInerney, in this morning's Guardian newspaper, of all places –
Last term 35% of special schools visited by Ofsted inspectors received an 'outstanding' grade. That’s a stunning rate, and yet no one seemed to notice.

Ofsted is England's privatised school-inspection service. Its judgements can be... quixotic.

The Guardian projects liberal, leftist and would-be radical middle-class attitudes. Its support for all-inclusive inclusion had been largely uncritical. Could such a report be indicative of a shift in Zeitgeist, in either Ofsted or in the Guardian? Might there after all be something positive to say about at least some special schools, in some respects anyway?

Or is there another explanation (one that the writer herself affirms that she does not want to not believe) –
Instead of brilliant schools, could it be that inspectors are overly moved by a syrupy view of disability? When they observe happy children with complex needs who appear to behave and look well treated, do inspectors whack out generous “outstanding” judgments as a way of rewarding the school for relieving society of its guilt about what to do with disabled children, rather than basing the grading on whether students are being fully extended to learn? ...
Are special needs schools an untrumpeted triumph of our schools sector, or is their success an example of endemic low expectations?

Misleading pic

The presumably stock photo that heads this piece is probably of no relevance or significance whatsoever to the article itself – and one should not over-interpret a still photograph to guess at either the movement caught in a single instant or wider processes and purposes, of which the activity snapped there is but one small part.

That said, what is illustrated at the head of this article, what is actually being taught and learned, cognitively and emotionally. It could be a bit of really worthless time-filling, or even counter-productive pedagogic practice...

What is the Guardian really telling its bien-pensant readers?


McInerney, L. (2015) Top Ofsted rating for many SEN schools – so why aren’t we trumpeting success? Guardian, 20 January

1 comment:


    The blog posting referred to here went on line this morning, and included the wrong link to the newspaper article to which it referred.

    Of those who have trickled across to view this posting since it went on line earlier today, only one spotted this, or at least only one took the trouble to drop me a quick line to let me know. Thank you to one of the usual suspects. The url given in error has now been replaced by the correct one.

    I cannot imagine this in other sectors of life. Funny little world, Conductive Education. As in other matters, not so much a microcosm of the wider world, but sui generis.