Categoriearchief: Quality of Education

The State of Education in the Netherlands 2013/2014

The Dutch Inspectorate of Education reports yearly about the state of education. The education report ‘The State of Education 2013/2014’ outlines developments and key themes in Dutch education. The first chapter is a summary that reflects on major developments and facets of education that are in need of improvement.

This summary is published in English with the aim of making the information accessible for an international audience. In addition, information about the Inspectorate and the Dutch educational system is provided.

The state of education in the Netherlands


Op 19 maart jl. hield ik mijn oratie ter gelegenheid van de aanvaarding van het ambt van bijzonder hoogleraar Algemene Onderwijskunde aan de Inter-Continental University of the Caribbean te Curaçao.  Deze universiteit richt zich in het bijzonder op tweede kans-onderwijs, biedt verschillende HBO en WO-opleidingen aan en probeert de wetenschap in het Caribisch gebied te verbinden met die uit Europa en de VS . Mioratiejn eerste taak is het opzetten en uitvoeren van een master Onderwijskunde, waarvoor inmiddels zo’n 25 studenten zijn ingeschreven.

In mijn oratie ben ik ingegaan op  een aantal hardnekkige onderwijsmythes, zoals zittenblijven is een effectieve maatregel, huiswerk bevordert de leerprestaties en leerlingen en leraren profiteren van het toepassen van niveaugroepen in klasseverband. De tekst van mijn oratie kunt u hier vinden.



Ofsted admits reliability problems

Ofsted has not done enough to ensure school inspections are reliable, one of Ofsted’s directors admits.  

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people, and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. The Office carries out regular inspections of each school in England, resulting in a published evaluation of the effectiveness of the school.

Sean Harford, Ofsted’s national director for schools, responds to a critical blog from head teacher Tom Sherrington of Highbury Grove School in north London. Some inspectors use data as a “safety net” instead of making a professional judgement, Harford wrote. Tom Sherrington had complained of “enormous flaws and absence of proper validity trials” in the current inspection system.

In the blog, Sherrington  had rejected the idea that schools “can be judged in a meaningful way via inspections”. “By ‘judged’ I am not talking about an experienced visitor giving some insightful developmental feedback based on an analysis of the available data and their observations; no doubt there are some people out there who can do this well enough. “I am talking about the process of distilling this mass of qualitative and quantitative information into a simple set of final grades, with one overall Judgement Grade”.

In his response, Harford admitted Ofsted does not currently ensure “directly that different inspectors in the school on the same day would give the same judgement”. He also agreed “some inspectors and some schools focus too much on a narrow range of data”. He said Ofsted trained its inspectors to use data as a “signpost”, rather than making it a “pre-determined destination”. “But the weakest ones have been guilty of using the published data as a safety net for not making fully-rounded, professional judgements.”

He said inspectors should draw on information from the school itself, including pupils’ work over time, progress across year groups and classes, improvements to teaching, and pupils’ attitudes to learning.

Harford said Ofsted’s pilots for its new short inspections would include reliability testing. “If reliability is a problem, we will review the issues to see what we need to do to make the inspections reliable.” Last month Ofsted closed its consultation on a new inspection framework which will introduce shorter inspections for all schools rated as good in England.

School leaders have described Harford’s comments as a definite shift in tone. Sherrington told the Times Educational Supplement he was amazed by the response to his blog, arguing that inspectors “can’t just continue to assert authority – they have to demonstrate reliability”.