Over the years I’ve not had many good words to say about Ofsted. I don’t go back on what I’ve said. I still believe Ofsted’s inspection model is the wrong one for children’s services and child protection.
But I have to say that their recent report on Cornwall Children’s Services did have some sensible things in it.
Finding the overall quality of services ‘good’, the report says that the senior management team:
“….. demonstrates a good understanding of services, is committed to continual improvement and responds swiftly to meet the changing needs and demands for services
“(has) created a culture of learning, support and challenge in a professional environment that has enabled social work to flourish
“(has continued) investment in high quality training and support (resulting) in a stable
and skilled workforce.”
There is absolutely no doubt that those are things that any successful organisation delivering complex services needs to do. In particular, I liked the use in the report of the following words/phrases: ‘continual improvement’, ‘culture of learning’, ‘challenge’.
A while ago I posted something about Ofsted’s use of the word ‘robust’, concluding that over-use of this word was, in my view, associated with “…cultures that inhibit improvement and prevent people learning from mistakes. They come from the knee-jerk response of pointing the finger of blame at the usual suspects whenever things go wrong. They come from fear and despair”.
It seems as if Ofsted may be moving forward, if slowly.