Ofsted’s Visual Metaphors

In an Ofsted PowerPoint presentation on the Education Inspection Framework 2019, it gives a definition of learning which is

Learning is defined as an alteration in long term memory. If nothing has altered in long-term memory, nothing has been learned.

Now, and quickly, at my age I would appear not to have learned many things because I am always forgetting…

But that aside, two of the visual metaphors used to exemplify the meaning of their definition are confusing to me. Here is the first:

ofsted vis 1

I do get the suggestion, but in portraying bits of knowledge as stones seems from the very start to characterise it/this as hard and finite and – well – not the precious commodity implied in the Knowledge Mantra of their current thinking/obsession. This also totally undermines the implied ‘criticism’ of it/this simply remaining static by being collected in a bucket. Are they meant to be thrown? At what/whom? And it is tautologous: these are stones and by their nature are static.

Here is the second:

ofsted vis 2

Again, I get the suggestion: this is vibrant and active and some kind of mesh so about interconnections and so on. And not a stone in sight!

But is ‘belief’ knowledge? Is ‘feeling’? ‘Emotion’? ‘Dread’? ‘Bias’? ‘Reflex’??

I can’t even find the word ‘stone’ in the image!

I don’t agree with Ofsted’s and therefore Gibb’s and therefore the DfE’s and therefore all the other acolytes’ and suck-ups’ foregrounding of Knowledge as the key/core ‘goal’ of teaching and learning, but given this bias [it’s a feeling really…] I still objectively don’t see how Ofsted’s visual metaphors in any way explain coherently or meaningfully what they mean by Knowledge, even in the way with which I disagree.

2 thoughts on “Ofsted’s Visual Metaphors

  1. Good post. Being able to learn, that is find out and use information or process or tools (etc), is what education is about. My long term memory has certainly been altered, but like you that’s often for the worse, i.e. forgetting.



    • Thanks. Yes, this knowledge is ‘all’ cult is quite disturbing. Understanding, skills to use, ability to transfer/change/question… – this is learning. Glad you dropped by.


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