Ofsted launch new survey, but is it any use?

Ofsted recently announced their new Parent View survey in which parents can rate their children’s schools in a closed questionnaire. Apparently, a panel of parents helped write the survey which includes the option to rate statements such as “my child is happy at school” and “my child feels safe at school”.

As well thought out and “valuable” (- Ofsted Chief) this questionnaire undoubtedly is, I can’t help but wonder why Ofsted aren’t asking the children who actually attend the schools, rather than those who belong to the same family?

I appreciate that younger children may not be able to complete the survey, but those who attend secondary school are more than capable. According to the press release, “Ofsted is committed to… …listening to the experiences and views of users of the services we inspect and regulate”. Apart from they’re not – they’re committed to listening to the “user’s” families. It doesn’t take the official education regulatory body to work out that not every child who is having a tough time at school will go to their parents and tell them everything. So why don’t Ofsted go straight to the “users” and ask kids what they think?

Profile: Bernard Hogan-Howe

Name:  Bernard Hogan-Howe

Birthdate: 19571

Education: Hinde House Comprehensive School2; MA in Law at Oxford3; Diploma in Applied Criminology at Cambridge4

Hometown: Sheffield5

Current residence: London6

Current job title: Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service7

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Quote from Bernard: “Society needs to make it clear that it will not tolerate the thugs who are living life by the law of the gun” – Bernard Hogan-Howe8

Quote about Bernard: “I truly believe that Bernard Hogan-Howe has the sound expertise to handle critical issues and keep our streets safe” – Boris Johnson9

Notable previous jobs:

  • Four years working as a lab assistant in the health service10
  • 1979: Joins South Yorkshire Police11
  • 1997: Asst Chief Constable, Merseyside12
  • 2001: Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police13
  • 2004-09: Chief Constable of Merseyside14
  • 2009: HM Inspectorate of Constabulary15

Notable for:

  • Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University16
  • Chairman of the James Bulger House Appeal17
  • Board Member of The Mersey Partnership18
  • Board Member of The Liverpool Culture Company19

Police stuff:

  • Applied for the job of Met Commissioner once before, and lost it to Sir Paul Stephenson20
  • When he left Merseyside in 2009, the force had risen in public confidence rankings from 42nd out of 43 to the top of the list21
  • Was the first chief constable to lead a Grand National winner on his police horse, on route to the Winner’s Enclosure at Aintree22
  • A member of the Association of Chief Police Officers’ Cabinet23
  • A member of the Board of the Central Police Training and Development Authority (Centrex)24
  • Said that the reclassification of cannabis had “legitimised” its use and should be reviewed25
  • Whilst working in Merseyside there was a 26% drop in anti-social behaviour, 7% decrease in people being killed or seriously injured on the roads and his Matrix Unit was the first UK dedicated gun crime unit, responsible for 600years worth of criminal sentences26
  • Argued that families that shield gun criminals from the police should be evicted from their homes27
  • At the MPS, he led a team which recruited thousands of additional front-line officers, 15% of whom were from the minority communities of London28

Gaffes:

  • None (as of yet)

Other:

  • Has a passion for horse riding29
  • Enjoys golf30
  • Likes attending opera and theatre31
  • Supports Sheffield Wednesday football club32

How Stuff Works: The different types of Coalition

Coalitions in UK are a rarity; something we’ve only experienced a handful of times. But in other parts of the world they are the norm – and due to the individual intricacies of each political system, a number of different types of coalition have emerged.

NB: coalition types are not mutually exclusive.

1. Minimum Winning Coalition

Definition: “Contains the smallest number of parties which together can secure a parliamentary majority”1

Example: The government of the 26th Irish Dáil: a coalition between Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats. 83 seats are needed for a majority, Fianna Fáil had 77 and the Progressive Democrats had 6, together the coalition reached 83 seats – the minimum number needed for a majority coalition2

2. Oversized Coalition

Definition: “Contains more parties than the minimum winning coalition”3

Example: The Thai election of 2011 gave The Pheu Thai party a majority, with 265 of the 500 seats in the lower house. However, party leader Yingluck Shinawatra decided to negotiate a coalition with 4 other parties to boost the government’s parliamentary majority4

3.  Grand Coalition

Definition: “Formed by the two leading parties, usually from the left and the right, which together command a substantial majority of seats” 5

Example: The first Merkel government was a grand coalition between the centre-right Christian Democrats/Christian Social Union and the centre-left Social Democrats, as the CDU/CSU’s more obvious coalition partner – the Free Democrats – did not have enough seats to give a centre-right coalition a majority6

4. Connected Coalition

Definition: “Only contains parties that are located next to each other on the ideological spectrum”7

Example:The Danish government elected in 2007 is a connected, centre-right coalition of the Liberal Party, the Danish People’s Party and the Conservative Party8

The 2010 UK coalition between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives can be classified as a Minimum Winning Coalition and may also be argued to be a Connected Coalition.


1 Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction, Eighth Edition, Hague and Harrop, page 330

Profile: Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy HuntName: Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt1

Party: Conservative2

Birthdate: 1st November 19663

Education: Charterhouse, Godalming4; PPE at Magdalen College, Oxford5

Hometown: Godalming, Surrey6

Current residence: Farnham, Surrey; London7

Current job title: Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport8

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Quote from Jeremy: Wisecrack on Max Mosely at UCHR9 and ‘Cablegate’10 – “One is about two women who wanted to tie a man up in knots… and the other is about Max Mosely”11

Quote about Jeremy: “We’re going to be talking to Jeremy C*nt, er, Hunt, the Culture Secretary about… *cough* …broadband” – James Naughtie12 13

Notable previous jobs:

  • Shadow Minister for Disabled People14
  • Shadow Culture Secretary15
  • Founded and ran Hotcourses – an educational publishing business16

Notable for:

  • Set up a charity to help AIDS orphans in Africa17

Political stuff:

  • Successfully campaigned for increased use of subtitling at the BBC18
  • Involvement in decision over Murdoch’s BskyB bid19
  • Subsequent approval of Murdoch’s BskyB bid20

Gaffes:

  • Involvement in the expenses scandal: paid back around £9.5k21 22
  • Suggested that football hooliganism contributed to the Hillsborough disaster (he later apologised)23
  • Hired the daughter of a Tory peer and Hotcourses director as a parliamentary assistant and then as a (supposedly independent) departmental civil servant24

Other:

  • Head boy at Charterhouse25
  • Previous President of Oxford University Conservative Association26
  • Fluent in Japanese (having taught English in Japan)27
  • James Naughty and Andrew Marr both miss-spoke him name: a spoonerism of “Hunt” and “Culture”28