To Kill a Mocksted BlogADayMay May 3rd

The name of this Blog fell into my lap. To summarise the book: Atticus Finch is a lawyer in Maycomb, a racially divided Alabama town in the early 1930s. Finch agrees to defend a young black man who is falsely accused of raping a white woman. Many of the townspeople try to get Atticus to pull out of the trial, but he decides to go ahead. 

An unnecessary, unfair trial. Sound familiar? A Mocksted is when School leaders employ an outside agency to run a 'practice' Ofsted in order to prepare Staff for the real event. Sounds wonderful! Ofsted investigations themselves are difficult, stressful and have questionable benefit for the school. Having a pretend Ofsted investigation is, frankly, barmy. I've heard of schools where they regularly have these Mock investigations. 

Not only are you putting Staff through a stressful day which is essentially playacting, it's also more time taken away from actual teaching. Teachers have to plan, teach, mark, assess work for every lesson. There is already too much work to do without piling on more pressure. Observations, work scrutiny, planning scrutiny and 'Learning Walks' already provide a high level of scrutiny for teachers who are constantly feeling the pressure of colleagues breathing down their necks. Adding the scrutiny of an outside agency, voluntarily(!), is just overkill. 

"I cannot see why any school would/should want to put itself through a mockstedSean Harford, National Director for Schools, Ofsted

A Mocksted is counter-productive. The whole point of Ofsted is to assess where a school is and allow it to move forward. The more that Schools massage their practice by being 'Ofsted-ready', the more unrealistic Ofsted investigations become, which then in turn creates an inflated overall picture of where schools are, finally resulting in raising expectations of what schools can achieve. 

Leave schools to get on with their jobs, leave teachers to do the same. Scrutiny from Ofsted is a necessary evil at the moment, without a more suitable replacement. Teachers can do without anything else being added onto the load. 

Instead of wasting money on Mocksteds and following the latest Edu-trend, invest in CPD for your staff and focus on the wellbeing of your colleagues and pupils. There are more important things to spend your (ever-dwindling) budgets on.


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