I have been a secondary school teacher for 10 years. In that time I've been employed in 3 schools. Each school has received a full Section 5 Ofsted inspection when I have worked there. None have been placed in a category of concern. One of them was deemed to be outstanding.

In each of those schools I have seen a response to Ofsted from individual members of staff that has been a major over-reaction. The fear that an Ofsted visit brings for some people must mean that they are living in eternal dread of being called to the staffroom and told "we've had the call". I understand that the idea of being inspected is stressful. It's not such a bad thing for some people though. I have been observed in each of the inspections.

And I'll be honest. I love it.

However the debate on twitter regarding the ineffective nature of Ofsted seeks to undermine our profession. There are several questions that I must ask:

1 - Do you agree that our profession needs to be subject to an inspection?
2 - Do you feel that the format of the inspection should be set by the inspectorate or by teachers?
3 - Should we raise issues regarding the inspection process on twitter? Or is there a more professional manner in which to do this?

My answers are:

1 - Yes
2 - Yes (Edit: @CParkinson535: @suzyg001 The yes refers to the inspection criteria being agreed between Ofsted and the teaching profession as much as possible.)
3 - No and I hope so

To a non-teacher it may seem that some teachers think they are beyond reproach. The talk about accountability that comes from within the profession can overshadow the responsibility that all teachers have. As teachers are continually exercising "control" within their classroom they might struggle when someone with greater authority then enters the classroom. Therefore are some teachers attempting to change the Ofsted process for personal gains?

However I have to check if this public decrying of the official inspectorate is a problem across all professions.

Do dentists and doctors openly complain about the CQC inspections that they are subject to?
Do the police openly complain about the HMIC inspections?
Do banks openly complain about auditors or mystery shoppers?
Do Independent schools openly complain about ISI inspections?

In my limited research I'd say that they don't. I know members of each of the above and they just seem to get on with it. What does that say about our profession?

If we openly (on twitter) question Ofsted's role we cause 2 problems:
  • A one-sided debate takes place that I'm sure will never involve Ofsted and, due to the nature of twitter, will only serve to reinforce the message being peddled by the key influencers on twitter.
  • The public perception of the teaching profession will be downgraded.
The 2nd point is, for me, the most troubling. If twitter (i.e. the most repeated message on twitter) claims that Ofsted is failing to inspect teachers adequately, then members of the public may start to think the same. Imagine that a school has achieved "Outstanding". Then some parents start talking about the poor opinion that teachers have of Ofsted. If our pupils' parents start to question the validity of Ofsted then we have devalued those schools that achieve a positive inspection.

By denouncing Ofsted, we undermine the great work discovered during inspection in so many schools. However there is a danger that we "protect" those schools who are discovered to be failing to provide a good education for their pupils.

I fully agree that inspections are more stressful than day-to-day teaching. However they're not day to day events. If the teaching being inspected is the same as the teaching being delivered normally then all is well. But when we try to change our teaching due to an inspection, the stress is self-made, but with an external influence.

However if Ofsted aren't fit for purpose then we surely need to have a professional dialogue, not a twitter popularity contest regarding the best argument. If you don't want Ofsted (and given the attacking that some teachers on twitter are giving them, who would?), what do you want in its place?