School's version of OFSTED Report

(13 Posts)
admission Thu 31-Jan-13 18:03:01

One point that needs to be made is that when Ofsted visit they are trying to assure themselves that what the school is saying about themselves (their self evaluation) is correct. My guess would be that the inspectors went into lessons and saw lessons that were of much poorer quality than had been suggested was the capability of the teachers. It would not therefore have mattered what the capability of the "best" teachers were because there was a significant cohort of lessons where the teaching was inadequate.
As for the school having lots of trips etc, well good for them but when the core of teaching and learning and its monitoring is being ignored and poor, it is irrelevant.

Perriwinkle Thu 31-Jan-13 16:53:05

Thanks for the support Tiggtape. It's good to hear that you don't think my reaction is completely OTT! grin

tiggytape Thu 31-Jan-13 16:42:04

Perriwinkle - your feelings are perfectly natural. I cannot believe they have offered no proper dialogue with parents since the report was published or addressed anything except to moan how unfair it all is.
Surely they can see that complaining about the Inspectors resisting attempts to be steered towards good teachers indicates the H/T knows there's a problem with teaching quality amongst at least some staff.
An Ofsted Inspection isn't supposed to be a pantomime where the school shows off it's best teachers or trips or anything else and guides the Inspectors away from the bits they'd rather weren't seen!

You asked earlier if you could see other documentation. The only Ofsted report is the one published but you are perfectly within your rights to write to both the H/T and Chair of the Board of Governors and outline aspects of the report you are particularly uncomfortable with and ask them to explain the purpose and timescales of the new interventions being put in place.

I agree with you though – no real improvements are likely under the leadership of anyone who feels that it is unreasonable of Ofsted to ask to see the bad teachers instead of just the good ones that the H/T wishes to showcase. He or she is obviously not going to be able to address issues if they won’t even acknowledge they exist.

Perriwinkle Thu 31-Jan-13 16:19:21

There is no doubt that the Head is in complete denial over all of this. The parents have just been left in the dark. There has been no official word from the school or general parents meeting since we actually saw the report. All we had was a very low key, poorly attended parents' meeting the day before it was sent home with the children, which in hindsight I feel was designed to head parents off at the pass. No one at the meeting knew what the report said, all we were told was that it judged the school "inadequate" in 3 out of the 4 areas with the other are being "Requires Improvement" - and that was sort of muttered at the end of the meeting with the line "you'll be able to read it for yourselves tomorrow". A meeting a week after we'd had it would have been far more productive and well attended.

We have not heard a word since and that was almost 4 weeks ago. Parents are desparate for some sort of update and to feel they'e being kept in the loop. Every day the children are coming home saying that things are changing and there seems to be all sorts of ad hoc initiatives being introduced, with little or no explantion. Presumably in an attempt to appease inspectors. These are secondary school children so they're old enough to know something's afoot and to be unsettled by it all.

Everything that has come directly from the Head and Governors since the report has come in the form of snatched soundbites and letters in the local newspaper. From this, and among all the "it's not our fault, we don't recognise our school as it's described in this report and it's all political" type comments, we've managed to glean that the school will now have adademisation forced on it but that an academy sponsor has not yet actually been idenfitied.

It really is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. The Head has managed this whole affair extremely poorly in my view. I think that people would have far more respect for the Head/SLT and Governors if they collectively showed a little humility and acknowledged the fact that the decline of the school over recent years is at least something to do with their combined ineptitude as a leadership team. I mean, the report criticised them on proper use of systems designed to track pupils' progress effectively, failure to adequately monitor the performance of teachers and to provide effective training to raise teaching standards and on top of that they were also criticised for awarding teachers generous payrises on the basis of inacurate information about their competence to do their jobs properly.

The Governors were separately criticised for not being well enough informed about the school's strengths and weaknesses, for not having the skills and knowledge to challenge the school and for not effectively managing the performance of the Head and other teachers! All that and they're all still taking no responsibility and are instead banging on about the fact that OFSTED didn't want to know about the range of trips and extra curricular activities and work experience programme the school offers and the fact that the inspectors refused to observe the classes of their best teachers when they tried to direct them to them. The way they are refusing to take any personal responsibilty is astonishing.

I know academies have their critics too but as far as I'm concerned we can't get this current leadership team and governors out fast enough!

Sorry for the long rant but I feel I need to do it somewhere!! blush

prh47bridge Thu 31-Jan-13 10:41:25

As Tiggytape says, it is common for the leadership team and governors to go into denial when a school is placed on Notice to Improve or put into special measures. No-one likes to believe they have failed and the leadership team may fear (possibly with justification) that their jobs are on the line. With the results you describe a negative report was always on the cards but results on their own wouldn't lead to one as negative as you describe.

A lot of schools on Notice to Improve or special measures are complaining about an alleged political agenda. However, the proportion of schools rated inadequate by Ofsted has not risen - it has hovered around 2%-3% for a some time.

If the school is convinced the Ofsted report is unjustified they can appeal. However, if the appeal fails or they don't appeal the head and governors really have no choice but to accept the findings and work in conjunction with the LA and, if they choose to get involved, the DfE on making the improvements required by Ofsted. If they refuse to co-operate they are likely to be replaced.

tiggytape Thu 31-Jan-13 09:11:40

Perriwinkle - the HT's response isn't unusual. Some schools fall marginally below par and end up in ‘Requires Improvement’ category and feel unfairly treated as a result. Maybe they’ve just dropped down on an area or two or perhaps standards have stayed borderline satisfactory for years but the school suffered now because of Ofsted new marking scheme that means satisfactory no longer exists.
In such schools, some sympathy is deserved and a I know parents worry that they've been 'failed on purpose' just to force academisation on them.

Your school is not in this bracket despite what the HT would have you all believe. In your case, the school obviously has a lot of problems. If Ofsted had a political agenda of academisation, they certainly wouldn't need to give your school Grade 4 in every area except one! They could achieve it with all grade 3’s if they were so inclined!
The report you describe is a very damning one indeed and, if the HT is really clinging to the excuse that it is all a giant conspiracy, she is either in great denial or blnd to the problems – neither of which bode well.
If the HT and governors acknowledged the problems and addressed parents with an action plan, that would be better all round. As it is, she is dressing it up as one huge conspiracy but no school gets all level 4's if they are anything like fine. There are serious problems there and she has shown that she isn't capable or willing to turn things around. In your place I'd be anxious for a school move or an academy take-over too.

Perriwinkle Wed 30-Jan-13 22:54:38

In my view, the Head and Governors have acted in a very disingenuous manner over the whole OFSTED report debacle. They are (quite naturally I suppose it could be argued) extremely defensive and, it seems to me, to be prepared to take no criticism or responsibility whatsoever for the state that things have very clearly been allowed to get into at the school. All we're hearing from all corners is that OFSTED "had written the report before they came" and that the school is one of many being used as a pawn in a political game. Quite frankly as a group of parents we're sick of it and would love to be able to find out more about what really happened.

The report is very damning, scoring inadequate on all but "Behaviour and Safety of Pupils", which still only achieved "Requires Improvement". However, the Head still seems to be in total denial that the failings had anything to do with the ineptitude of the leadership team or governors and seems to be missing the point. Schools both locally and nationally with far more challenging intakes than ours seem to be able to achieve far better results than ours in all areas. As parents, we'd like to know more about what went on as so little has really been divulged and this situation allows the Head to be conveniently cast as the victim in an unfortunate set of circumstances beyond the control of the school's leadership team and governors.

However, from what you've said here admission I think it's unlikely that we'll ever learn more than what was written in the official report.

I don't view academisation as a panacea by any means but in the case of our school, it can't come quickly enough. If there was ever a school that needed a new broom I think it's ours!

admission Wed 30-Jan-13 21:48:34

There is only one official report and that is published on the Ofsted website.
What the head is probably referring to is that there is a formal feedback session to the head teacher and a representative of the governing body at which there likely to be more detail then is in the report. However that is not in writing.
It is also true to say that things are said during the inspection which are a good indicator of where the school needs to improve.
The school is given a copy of the formal report prior to publication to check for factual errors but in no way can the school at that juncture start to argue about decisions made by the inspection team. The time for that was during the actual inspection and the head teacher should know that. The school can complain if they believe that they have been badly treated in some way but in the vast majority of cases this never gets anywhere as it is usually the school believing that an area is better than the inspector's evidence suggests.

tiggytape Tue 29-Jan-13 16:54:18

Perriwinkle - you may be right in that case. In the normal scheme of things, there is just a report issued and then published online but if the HT says she has been given additional guidance, that may be something extra for situations like this.

Do you agree with the report you have seen? Are you worried that it isn't widescale enough or that things have been missed? Hopefully the fact the HT called a meeting pretty quickly means she might be open to discussing individual concerns if you contacted her. I am sure a lot of parents are worried so it would be good if the school were open and honest with them.

Perriwinkle Tue 29-Jan-13 15:42:43

Thanks tiggytape. Our school was placed in special measures so because of that I was under the impression that the school was given a more detailed summary of reasons for failure. I'm almost sure the head implied this too as something about putting "both versions" on the school website was muttered at a meeting but never happened.

I know that the Head and SLT did go through the due process of disputing many of the inspectors' findings after they saw the initial version of the report, in the period of time in which they had the right to do so, before the final version was published. It obviously didn't make any difference though.

I wonder if it would be possible for me to get hold of this additional information under Freedom of Information? I suppose I can always ask OFSTED...

tiggytape Tue 29-Jan-13 10:32:05

The school will probably give you a copy of the letter from Ofsted that says 'thank you for welcoming us to your school and for talking to us about all the things you enjoy.......'. This will sum up the overall points Ofsted made. Many schools send this home in the book bag.
The full inspection report will be available on Ofsted's website.

The school may have had variations on the report eg if there was to-ing and fro-ing whilst certain aspects of it were argued over and debated and corrected and finalised. The finished report though is one that the school receives and Ofsted publishes. There is no additional secret report available only to the school.

givemeaclue Tue 29-Jan-13 09:46:30

On the ofsted website you can see all the reports

Perriwinkle Tue 29-Jan-13 07:57:53

I am led to believe that the school receives a far more fulsome OFSTED report than the version that is made available for the parents/public.

First, is this correct (I'd imagine it is) and second, if it's correct, I was just wondering if anyone knows whether this could be made available to me under a Freedom of Information request to OFSTED?

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