Satisfactory OFSTED

(45 Posts)
MrsBeaver Thu 29-Nov-12 21:46:12

The school at which DD is most likely to get a reception place has got 2 consecutive Satisfactory/Requires Improvements OFSTED ratings despite a change in Head in between those reviews.

When we bought our house 8 years ago this school got a Good rating and seems fine when I have visited it. I now feel lousy that I will most probably be sending my PFB to a school which "is not good".

Can anyone cheer me up???

learnandsay Sat 01-Dec-12 08:53:29

Of course you can't judge a school on 11+ results, SATs results, GCSE results alone. But, if any of these things are important to you you will take them into account. You will look at the ethos of the school. You will try, as far as you can, (and that doesn't seem to be very far,) to look at its teaching methods. You will try to look at where its pupils progress to once they leave school. You will try to see if the school provides the kind of education that you want for your child. And if it doesn't seem to, and if another nearby school does, then you will favour the other school.

seeker Sat 01-Dec-12 08:58:09

Did they get satisfactory on everything? Were there specific areas of concern?

MrsBeaver Sat 01-Dec-12 22:21:46

Satisfactory for achievement, teaching and leadership. Good for behaviour only.

Main area of concern of the report is the teaching.

Even if I put this school as my last choice it is likely to be the one I am allocated because it is my nearest, and in previous years you have to live within c. 400 m of the other schools to get in and we live further than that.

pointythings Sun 02-Dec-12 19:09:34

I'd read this article about OFSTED's issues around 'assessing' teaching here before automatically taking their word for anything, you know.

chopchopquick Sun 02-Dec-12 19:33:49

MrsBeaver are you in east Hertfordshire? I know this is a real long shot but a few things you mention sound familiar. If its the school I am thinking I would be happy to give you feedback. Pm me if you would prefer not to say what area you are in.

jamdonut Sun 02-Dec-12 20:16:07

If they are satisfactory, that will have rung alarm bells at the LEA and they will be getting all sorts of help and strategies thrown at them. A new head needs to turn a school round very,very quickly.
The school I work at is in special measures. We are an exhausting year and a half down the line, with an HMI visit imminent.(for which we are all on tenterhooks). The staff turnover has been huge, with several on the verge of nervous breakdowns due to senior management's unreasonable 'requests'.
We are all 'strategied' out. I don't think we can take much more change, let alone what is expected of the children.
However, I think on the whole we come across as a caring,friendly,happy school,with improved attainment and results, and I guess that's what matters,isn't it?

PolkadotCircus Sun 02-Dec-12 21:03:39

I'd run like the wind.

My dc are at a Satisfactory school and it can be very frustrating.If you're prepared to keep an eye on things(you'll be intensely unpopular),resign yourself to mediocrity and mop up the failings at home then it could be for the school for you.If the above sounds too stressful then as I said avoid,I wish I had.

Having said that at least the school in question wasn't previously Outstanding (like ours)as with that you get a huge dollop of arrogance to deal on a regular basis on top of the above.

Tbh it all hangs on the quality of the head as with a weak head you can get everything under the sun the LEA wants to throw at the school but it won't make a blind bit of difference.A weak head is a weak head-period.

radicalsubstitution Sun 02-Dec-12 22:04:08

jamdonut The school I work at is oustanding (has been, or its equivalent, for the last three inspections) but it sounds exactly the same.

The whole of education is 'strategied out'.

jamdonut Mon 03-Dec-12 20:10:08

radical ...it is all very sad . The fun has gone, it is all so serious now. We have to worry so much about literacy and numeracy and getting 'evidence' in their books that we have next to no time to have decent art or craft on the go. There are literally not enough minutes in a day to cram all the things they (i.e. management and HMI ) want us to get done.

Parents...while you are worrying about whether your child goes to a 'good ' school or not...spare a thought for the neverending and continually changing hoops that the teachers have to jump through just so you can have that kudos.

I am sure you would all like to be in a job where you are continually scrutinised, criticised and compared.

piprabbit Mon 03-Dec-12 20:17:56

Mine go to a wonderful 'satisfactory' school. We actually live closer to an 'outstanding' school, but you couldn't pay me to send them there. When DC1 was applying for schools I was actually planning to send her to school quite a long way from us, rather than send her to the 'outstanding' one.

Sometimes you have to go with your hut instinct.

PolkadotCircus Wed 05-Dec-12 11:12:24

Pip I'm glad you've got a wonderful "satisfactory" school.

If our school produced consistent good lessons,ensured my dc made consistent good progress in line with national standards,kept parents informed,had good leadership,had a modicum of consistency in anything,stretched my dc etc,etc...... I'd feel the same.

Sadly it doesn't do any of the above.

Gut instinct has a lot to answer for tbf.Any school can cover cracks and dreadful leadership when showing parents round.

Snazzyfeelingfestive Wed 05-Dec-12 11:25:15

I don't have a child at school yet but am just visiting them to as I have to apply soon. I have toured several local schools, one that was outstanding, with the most glowing Ofsted report you could ever imagine (so much so that it actually made me a bit hmm) and two others that were good. DH and I much preferred the others and didn't get a good vibe from the outstanding school at all. I will not be listing it as one of our choices. I would definitely go and see the satisfactory school and see what kind of feeling you get about it.

PolkadotCircus Wed 05-Dec-12 11:34:39

Satisfactory and good are very different.

Tbh I think good is the grade I'd be looking for.With outstanding you get arrogance and in our case complacency fed by the arrogance.Outstanding schools also get left far too long imvho.

Good schools are doing a good job and many will be aspiring to do even better.

My experience of satisfactory is not something I'd ever have chosen for my dc.To be honest Ofsted has being going a loooong time.If a school can't pull good out of the bag on just two inspection days it's worrying,there is no excuse.

The school may come across all fuzzy and warm but at the end of the day if leadership,teaching and progress aren't good the fuzzy and warm front kind of loses it's allure after a while.

piprabbit Wed 05-Dec-12 11:40:21

The school was good, but was inspected within 3 months of the previous HT retiring at very short notice and was given satisfactory. I think that the inspection caught the school at a low point (in morale and organisation). The new HT has been very proactive in changing things around and I'm waiting with interest to see how the next inspection goes.

Of course use the Ofsted reports as part of your decision making process, but if you see the school and like it and talk to other parents and get good feedback, you have to ask yourself if you trust the school to turn itself around.

PolkadotCircus Wed 05-Dec-12 12:27:41

See the talking to parents thing doesn't mean a lot if the school covers crapness up which it's very easy to do.Most parents haven't been near a school since they left and wouldn't have a clue re educational policies,techniques or expected national standards.

piprabbit Wed 05-Dec-12 13:08:23

No - but if the parent with a child at the school says - did you know that they have dealt with my child's SEN support exceptionally, or did you know the HT retired under a cloud and there is a new head in place, or they have funding in place to build/buy outdoor equipment etc. etc. it might give you a different perspective.

As would talking to a parent who says 'the school gave me no support at all when DD was ill/bereaved/struggling' but they got an outstanding Ofsted.

It's all about getting as complete a picture as possible.

PolkadotCircus Wed 05-Dec-12 13:23:20

You can't get a complete picture with a bit of playground gossip from 2 or 3 parents outside the gate.

Personally even with their faults I'd go more on Ofsted and SATS results.

piprabbit Wed 05-Dec-12 14:15:54

I think you are wilfully misunderstanding my point.

At no point have I said that Ofsted and SATS results should be ignored, only that parents try to inform themselves as much as possible from a variety of sources.

I don't know why you are so determined to attack my points. I have not attacked you in any way. Surely there is room for a difference of opinion?

PolkadotCircus Wed 05-Dec-12 16:20:11

I'm simply saying to ignore the writing on the wall ie shite Ofsted and Sats results for a bit of gossip outside the gate and a warm fuzzy feeling on visiting the school for the sum total of an hour would be foolish imvho and experience.

pointysettia Wed 05-Dec-12 19:28:02

Schools can also be very good at papering over the cracks when OFSTED rolls up...

Personally I'd be looking at very high Value Added scores over OFSTED - shame they're doing away with those, they're the only part of the data that seems to take intake into account as well.

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