Join us on Monday, 19 February, as we welcome Amanda Spielman to CIS for an insightful breakfast conversation, where she will reflect on her time as the head of England’s Chief Inspector for schools, teacher training providers, and early education centres.
The English education system has been a model for reform in teacher training, managing behaviour, lifting standards in the teaching of reading, reforming curriculum, increasing school competition, and much more. Central to much of this reform effort has been the impressive contribution made by the nation’s inspectorate.
Despite these accomplishments, there are challenges too. In its most recent annual report, OFSTED drew attention to worrying trends in behaviour, attendance, and attitudes towards education since the pandemic. Moreover, Spielman has warned that the long-standing social contract – the unwritten agreement that children go to school every day and respect schools’ policies and approaches – between parents and schools has largely now been fractured.
And OFSTED has not been without its critics either. Many in the education sector reject standardised assessment, national curriculum standards, and using inspections to rate the quality of schools, fearing it can be unfair and can result in undue pressure on staff.
Yet, critics have largely been proven wrong. OFSTED has demonstrated a sound track record over many years. In recent decades, English schools have climbed the international rankings. And reforms to curriculum now make the curriculum more “knowledge-based” that Australia and comparable countries.
What can Australian policymakers learn from reform in the UK? What matters when reforming an education system? Does Australia need a school inspectorate? Is it really fair to publicly report on schools’ performance and quality? How can school systems repair the fractured social contract between educators and parents?
Join us for this insightful Education Crossroads breakfast to delve deeper into these topics.
Amanda Spielman was Chief Inspector of England’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED) from 2017 to 2023. Previously, she was chair of the exam regulator, Ofqual, from 2011 to 2016, and she is a founding member of the leadership team at the multi-academy trust, Ark Schools.
Glenn Fahey is program director in Education Policy at the Centre for Independent Studies.