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Teachers ‘make lessons dull’ to keep Ofsted inspectors happy, claim Sunderland researchers

Professor Bridget Cooper, director of the Centre for Pedagogy at Sunderland University.

Professor Bridget Cooper, director of the Centre for Pedagogy at Sunderland University.

TEACHERS are making their lessons dull on purpose to impress Ofsted inspectors, claim Wearside researchers.

A report from the University of Sunderland claims teachers have to make their lessons dull and mechanical during Ofsted inspections in an attempt to be judged outstanding.

Instead of making the lessons enjoyable and creative, the report claims teachers are constrained and the push for conformity is hindering progress in deprived schools.

The report, ‘Supporting outstanding pupil progress in schools in an area of social and economic deprivation’, focused on a cluster of schools in disadvantaged areas and what behaviours make an outstanding teacher, contributing to outstanding student progress.

Ofsted is a key barrier for students to learn because of its insistence on having objectives at the start of the lesson, which does not always work with each student, the report reveals.

It adds that creativity should be harnessed and encouraged in learning, as well as making it more personalised.

The report states: “The push for conformity can hinder progress. More risk is needed at times, more ‘off-the-wall’ activities and more enjoyment.

“Doing things the ‘Ofsted’ way, you can sometimes lose sight of the love of learning.”

Several staff interviewed said that always having the objectives at the start of the lesson goes against ideas of discovery and student-centred learning and can make lessons dull and mechanical.

The report said the Pupil Premium is inadequate to counter disadvantages, and decisions about educational policy are made, for the most part, by very rich and privileged people who have never understood such levels of deprivation.

Researchers concluded that in disadvantaged areas, learning needs to be more personalised and students need more motivation.

Professor Bridget Cooper, director of the Centre for Pedagogy at the University of Sunderland, who led the report, said: “It is obvious from this report that schools in socially and economically deprived areas need more generous and more appropriate funding.

“Those in power need to understand and take into account the effort teachers in those schools have to make to counteract the multiplicity of needs of their students for their entire school lives.

“It is completely unfair and irrelevant to compare these schools, teachers and children throughout their academic life unfavourably with schools which do not have to meet such great need as the teachers have to work even harder.”

 
 
 

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