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Rebuilding trust in a context of suspicion: South Africa’s failing education system

Blog Editor, IOE Digital4 May 2018

Melanie Ehren. 
In his first speech as President, South Africa’s Ramaphosa promised to ‘turn the tide of corruption’, vowing to end the ‘plunder of public resources’ and to ‘put behind us the era of diminishing trust in public institutions and weakened confidence in our country’s public leaders.
With a new President and the promise of a new era in South African democracy, there may be an opportunity to rebuild trust, accountability and capacity across the country. A new ESRC/DfID-funded study on ‘Accountability, trust and capacity to improve learning outcomes’ led by researchers at University College London aims to do just that.
South Africa has a long history of oppression and apartheid which has led to great inequalities, despite South Africa’s classification as an upper-middle income country (more…)

A cultural reset: how to end the Ofsted inspection cycle of fear

Blog Editor, IOE Digital1 May 2018

Melanie Ehren. 
In November 2017, Ofsted’s chief, Amanda Spielman, talked about one of the biggest problems in current education systems: the culture of fear and game-playing around school inspections, where educators for a long time have been guided by external accountability standards and have lost a sense of professionalism. An entire industry has supported schools in getting Ofsted-ready and many teachers and heads would scrutinize any school improvement activity, peer review or school self-evaluation to see how it would help the school get a good Ofsted-grade.
The fear of being classified as a failing school, being named and shamed, losing one’s job or student intake (particularly from high socio-economic backgrounds) has taken away much of the agency from teachers and head teachers to shape their own professional practice. This trend that is sometimes reinforced when large Multi-Academy Trusts introduce strong internal quality control around Ofsted grades and standards (e.g. performance management or peer review).
Ofsted’s ‘myth busting’ campaign, where the agency actively tries to debunk existing (more…)