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OFSTED and organisational learning: the incidental value of the dunce's cap as a strategy for school improvement

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In England in recent years, school improvement has been pursued through quality assessment, notably the Office for Standards in School Education (OFSTED) process. Some schools have been proclaimed as failures, which has been described as a public shaming. This article examines the OFSTED process as an intervention strategy for organisational learning and change. The authors review various forms of emergent or incidental learning (Marsick & Watkins, 1989), which may bear little relation to the stated intended outcomes of the OFSTED process. They consider, in particular, the practice of â–˜naming and shamingâ–™ in the context of the notion of transformative learning (Mezirow, 1991). The discussion considers implications for the extent to which the OFSTED intervention strategy has been effective in its own terms, the extent to which it has been a catalyst for other changes, and the basis on which its effects could be evaluated.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom

Publication date: March 1, 1999

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