The OfSTED inspection: how to be in your very own Truman Show

The Truman Show is a film is set in a hypothetical town called Seahaven built in an enormous dome, and is dedicated to a continually running television show, The Truman Show. Only the central character, Truman Burbank, is unaware that he lives in an almost solipsistic constructed reality for the entertainment of those outside. The film follows his discovery of his situation and his attempts to escape. Central characters fake friendship to Truman, and in the case of his “wife”, bury their real feelings of disgust.

The OfSTED inspection is an example of a solipsistic epistemological position in that one’s own perceptions are the only things that can be known with certainty. The nature of the external world – schools — , the source of one’s perceptions — can not be conclusively known; they may not even exist at all. Truman himself can be viewed as an equivalent fictional school ofsted inspector who when visiting schools, tends to witness flowers decorating school corridors and toilet paper in the school toilets.

Inspection day can be presented as a lovely sunny day with bright blue skies; there’s not a care in the world, the children are well behaved and courteous, teachers well dressed and courteous, and its like this every day with pupils dutifully drinking water to enhance their learning and no-one objects to the Jamie Oliver inspired New School Dinner which has caused much wringing of hands and emptying of budgets.

But as in the Truman Show, the inspector is surrounded by central characters in the school who have to fake friendship and find methods to bury their real feelings of disgust in order to maintain the solipsistic constructed reality of the Government Inspector.

Author: drnicko

Awarded an MBE for services to arts-based businesses, I am passionate about generating inspiring, socially engaging, creative practice within educational contexts both nationally and internationally.

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