When OFSTED arrives, what opportunity do parents have to speak to the inspector.

(11 Posts)
noseynoonoo Tue 29-Jan-13 22:27:11

Just wondering how parents communicate with OFSTED when they arrive for an inspection.

Honestyisbest Tue 29-Jan-13 22:36:40

Usually by questionnaire plus you have the option to speak to the inspector if you request I believe.
I always think they should contact people who have recently moved their children from the school as they are the people who may have encountered issues, but they are not there to fill in the questionnaire.

TBH if you have concerns raise them with the school now, or OFSTED if appropriate, rather than waiting until the inspection.

DeWe Wed 30-Jan-13 09:07:41

There's a questionaire, although I have strong suspicions that these aren't actually read. On the first ofsted I wrote some criticism of their reading stategy. I later learnt that another mother had written almost word for word what I'd put. The letter to parents said "No parents said anything negative about any aspect of the school". confused

A local secondary gained a very suspect Outstanding (an outstanding was needed to push through something the county wanted) and I know of a huge issue involving one form. Out of that form 8-12 people wrote about the issue. Again the letter to parents stated "only negative comments were sporadic individuals throughout the school" confused

But if you request to speak to the OFSTED I suspect they will mark you down as someone with an axe to grind, and take not too much notice. After all, no one's going to request to talk to the inspector to say "I think the school's doing all right really".

If you write a letter to the governors they may have to show that they've dealt with it satisfactorily. That's probably the way to go. Then if they haven't dealt with it, then you can tell OFSTED that and that you weren't happy with the way it was dealt with. The governors should have records of how they dealt with it, and then ofsted can make their own decision whether you have a valid point and if so, are more likely to bring it up.

noseynoonoo Wed 30-Jan-13 09:19:44

Interesting you say speak to the governors - a real bone of contention since 3 of the last 5 appointments have been due in some part to the generosity of the head.

I am feeling very disappointed by my DC's 'outstanding school'. Their emphasis at the moment is box-ticking ahead of a long overdue OFSTED inspection rather than education itself.

The responses above are making me feel that I don't have any avenue to raise issues.

Littlefish Wed 30-Jan-13 11:30:11

I made a formal complaint about the governors, to the governors! I did it following the school's formal complaint procedure so that the governors had to reply to me within a specific timescale, and following certain stages. Before I did this, I spoke to governor services at the local authority to discuss how to go about it.

Have you followed the school's formal complaint procedure? This is usually to speak first to the class teacher if it is a matter concerning your child. then, speak to the Headteacher directly (or if it is a general school matter). If you feel your concerns have not been answered then you can put in a formal complaint to the Headteacher, or governors.

It would be worth asking for a copy of the complaints procedure.

DeWe Wed 30-Jan-13 12:52:26

What do you mean 3 of the last appointments are generosity of the head?

Community governors are appointed by govening body, of which the head is part. She/He can suggest people, other people may come forward. Dh (who's a governor) looks out for people who are interested who will come in with their own opinions and with different skills to complement the governors already there. So it could seem like a "head choosing", but actually each person is vigorously discussed on their own merits, and the head liking someone may help, but it doesn't guarantee them a place.

Parent governors should be voted for if there are more people than spaces wanting to do it. If this hasn't happened-and it shouldn't happen that they offer someone a space without throwing it open to all parents, then it would be perfectly reasonable to put a complaint in.

box-ticking ahead of a long overdue OFSTED inspection rather than education itself
Sadly the nature of OFSTED is that they are so prescriptive about how things are done that most schools do this.

Honestyisbest Wed 30-Jan-13 17:53:03

Agree with some of the above: the ofsted questionnaires and governor voting slips both go back into school. Hmmmm. Definitely felt that the head of my kids old primary school picked the governors. Picked the ones who wont rock the boat.

fourquartets Wed 30-Jan-13 20:46:10

According to the ofsted training for governors I had this evening, the new shorter notice period means that ofsted won't ask the school to send out a parental questionnaire for the inspection but will expect to see evidence of regular parent questionnaires. They will also look at the parent view website to see what parents have said there and may also talk to parents at pick up/drop off. So I think if you specifically want to be involved in feeding back to an inspection team your best bet is to register your views on the parent view website (no idea what the address is, but google parent view I think) or hang around and hope to catch an inspector at drop off. The person doing the training did actually comment that it is going to be difficult for all parents to get their views across.

But if you have a serious issue, don't wait for an inspection. Contact the governors and if no progress there, then ofsted. I seem to remember hearing that parental concerns can in fact trigger an inspection if they are serious, but I may have imagined that.

opeysmum Wed 30-Jan-13 21:17:44

Our school was inspected very recently. There was no paper questionnaire this time, just a link to the Ofsted website where parents could complete a short (very) short tick box type questionnaire (parentview). There was no opportunity to add any comments and you are able to see the responses of other parents. You would not be able to raise a matter with Ofsted through this vehicle, just simply express you satisfaction or dissatisfaction in response to their list of questions.

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