Perspectives on the impact of the OFSTED system of school inspection on primary schools: a case study approach

Blunsdon, P.A. (2002) Perspectives on the impact of the OFSTED system of school inspection on primary schools: a case study approach. EdD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The activities of OFSTED and its impact are `a matter of high public interest' (Brunel University, 1999 p. 3) constituting as they arguably do, the central plank in governmental efforts to improve contemporary primary education. However, after almost a decade since its introduction, and in spite of a growing body of research into various aspects of the inspection process, there is relatively little which actually points to sustained improvements in either standards or classroom practice which can be directly attributed to OFSTED.

This research project adopted a case study approach to investigate the perceptions of those working in, and for, a sample of six Derbyshire primary schools concerning the impact of the OFSTED process of inspection. Data was gathered from headteachers, teachers, governors and classroom assistants using questionnaires, interviews and formal and informal site visits. Other data sources, including inspection reports and contextual data drawn from the sample schools were also included, providing useful information relating to each institution's culture and context.

This qualitative study attempts to explore the overall impact of inspection on the teaching and learning process and its relationship to school improvement in the context of primary education. The findings from this project indicate that the OFSTED system of inspection has only a limited positive impact upon primary school practice. It also raises questions concerning the anxieties and pressures felt by schools who experience `light touch' short inspections. Ultimately, the evidence from this study would suggest that, to date, it remains difficult to justify the inspectorate's validating objective of `improvement through inspection' and that, as a result, the positive impact of inspection upon primary schools remains questionable.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (EdD)
Supervisors: Harris, A.
Keywords: School management and organization, elementary schools, Office for Standards in Education (England)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 11162
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2010 15:53
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2016 09:47

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