Lessons are too dull and uninspiring

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Pupils in England's schools are being failed by dull and uninspiring lessons which hinder achievement and encourage classroom indiscipline, according to Ofsted.

Ofsted said teaching in half of secondary schools was substandard, with too much teaching being ‘mundane’ and ‘aimed mainly at the average’. The education watchdog has now demanded the removal of incompetent teachers.

In the worst lessons, teachers had patchy subject knowledge, failed to ensure children understood key concepts and allowed the marginalisation of traditional subjects including history and geography.
Inspectors who visited 845 secondary schools in 2009/10 found that teaching was merely ‘satisfactory’ in 45 per cent and ‘inadequate’ in 5 per cent.

At primary level, teaching was satisfactory in 39 per cent of 4,620 schools checked and poor in 5 per cent.

The number of schools in special measures has risen from 193 to 300, while the number given "notice to improve" has risen from 167 to 276.

Ofsted chief Christine Gilbert, said: "The fact is that there continues to be too much teaching that is dull and uninspiring and this makes it harder for pupils to learn.

"This means that too many young people are not equipped well enough to make the best of their lives.

"Teaching is also a big factor in poor behaviour as well as uneven exam results. The problem is not just one for the weakest schools. Too many schools tolerate pockets of poor teaching alongside good practice."

Ofsted’s latest report follows the introduction of a new inspection regime which put teaching practice and exam results under closer scrutiny. This led to a doubling in the proportion of schools branded ‘inadequate’ for their overall effectiveness. Eight per cent were given the lowest rating in 2009/10, against 4 per cent the year before.

Miss Gilbert added: "It is true that we expect more from schools and colleges today and more from our teachers. But we also know a lot more about how to deliver good, inspiring lessons that motivate and engage children, young people and adult learners.

"It's vital that teachers are supported to provide them as a matter of course."

"I certainly think if a teacher is really poor and struggling, she or he is not getting satisfaction from that job and there should be a dialogue about the other opportunities that person might want to have. But I would always go for professional development first."

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "Our classroom teachers do an amazing job day in, day out, in often challenging circumstances. As Ofsted says itself, when you look beyond the sensationalist spin on the quality of teaching on our schools, “inadequate teaching” is the exception rather than the rule."