AS a result of the recent Ofsted report exclaiming their sudden realisation that schools and teaching have been too geared up and focused on the techniques of passing exams as opposed to the deeper exploration of any given subject, state education may have a more optimistic future.

For too long teachers have been oppressed by the tyranny of league tables and the resulting uncreative curriculum which has severely damaged opportunity for both pupils and teaching staff alike.

Perhaps decision makers should listen more to the heads of schools and less to the cynical machinations inside the heads of political policy makers who are often so far removed from the emotional reality of your average state school that the resulting legislation is based on fiscal constraints and not on the actual needs of students and teachers.

With regards to the usefulness of Ofsted I am always puzzled as to its purpose. When my colleagues and I from Kandu Arts were brought into to a failing school as an emergency measure we experienced the almost hysterical effect that an Ofsted inspection has.

For those of you who might not be clear on what the process is, maybe I can shed some light on it. For many years, Ofsted has been rather like the parents who have gone away on holiday, leaving the care of the house to their teenage children who have promised on fear of severe punishment that they will act responsibly, keep the house and garden clean and tidy and definitely not have any parties. The Ofsted parents ring home to inform their beloved teenage charges that they are returning sooner than planned, at which point, the young residents try to hide their shock/disappointment and outright fear of their soon-to-return parents.

What follows is a frantic, almost hysterical, panic as hungover party guests are awoken from their favoured slumber whilst all evidence of party and people is frantically cleared, damages repaired, hidden and residual dust swept under the carpet just as the returning parents pull into the drive to be greeted by their hungover but smiling children.

The Ofsted parents enter the house looking for any signs that their orders have been ignored and whether their teenage children can be trusted to be left alone again.

Now, obviously, as with most analogies, this can only serve as a general sense of a comparable situation. I am not comparing the competence, dedication and professionalism of most teachers and educators to drunken and wayward teenagers, far from it, neither am I suggesting that between Ofsted inspections that schools either throw parties or indeed even enjoy themselves, such is the ridiculous stress placed on the shoulders of heads, staff, pupils and parents /carers, by an education system that no longer embraces the creative and inspirational opportunity.

It would seem that the perceived and real pressure, to produce results and tick boxes on which they are judged regardless of the suitability for many students, of such an approach, means that many schools have not been judged or praised for their creative and flexible teaching and learning.

The analogy does, however, hopefully illuminate the bizarre nature of league tables, competition and unhelpful stress caused by an Ofsted inspection process that doesn’t really give even a half decent reflection of where a school is really at, when it comes to what is either of any real significant value or indeed true. If Ofsted was only to turn up unannounced the reality of the schools situation would be more realistically observed.

Much like the parents returning unannounced to find not only the sleeping hungover guests but also the piles of dust pre the brushing under rugs or even chancing upon a group of happy, well-socialised, creative and practical individuals who are inspired and intrigued.