Can you smell an ofsted/academy rat at your school??

(59 Posts)
bexa Tue 22-Jan-13 22:03:11

Roke school in kenley is being forcibly turned into an academy after falling from long standing "outstanding" into special measures in their latest ofsted inspection.

Ofsted hadnt even been back to inspect whether any improvements had been made before handing the school over to David Cameron's personal friend and Tory donor, lord Harris. Smells pretty fishy! The governors were told they would be sacked of they objected. Smells oven more fishy!

Is roke alone? I heard a similar thing happened in coleford. Just wondering if anyone else knows of other schools where this has happened? Either ofsted not returning to do a follow up inspection before declaring academy status or schools falling from outstanding to failing so fast???

Is roke the only one?

bexa Tue 29-Jan-13 17:37:03

Anyone see the Guardian piece on Roke school yesterday? Yet more evidence of foul play I say! Really needs a hardcore investigative journo to dig deep. I bet there are more schools in this sort of situation.

sleepylampost Sat 26-Jan-13 21:17:52

Now this thread is going seriously off topic, no?

admission Sat 26-Jan-13 20:58:23

I agree that the national funding structure is a crude out of date measure that should have revised years ago but nobody from the previous government had the guts to do and even Mr Gove realises how much of a can of worms it is, so he has put off till 2015.
However Coventry and Derby City are still getting a lot more funding per pupil than the majority of local authorities and that is a fact. And the formula that is used is so out of date and complicated that it has no resemblance to the coal face of needs. Every LA below Coventry and Derby City will argue that their needs exceed those of these two LAs.
Ofsted are targeting Derby and Coventry because of the number of schools in the two LAs that are considered inadequate and inadequate over a considerable period of time and that is not directly related to funding, it is a comment on the teaching and learning that goes on in those schools.

CalmChaos Sat 26-Jan-13 18:43:00

Hear hear submarine.

yellowsubmarine53 Fri 25-Jan-13 22:44:45

National rankings are too crude a measure - the coal face of needs are so much more complex.

admission Fri 25-Jan-13 22:35:38

Sorry that is rubbish. There are 150 Local Authorities, Coventry gets the 48th highest GUF(guaranteed unit of funding) at £5232.31 per pupil and Derby City is 67th on the list at £5049.32 per pupil.
Try being in Leicestershire, bottom of the pile at £4428.70 per pupil. Just think what some of their schools could achieve with the extra £804.61 per pupil that coventry get.

yellowsubmarine53 Fri 25-Jan-13 22:16:22

I wonder if it then would have been more prudent for central government to provide adequate funding to those LAs instead of cutting them to the bone?

Given that this is all meant to be about what's best for the children, of course.

prh47bridge Fri 25-Jan-13 21:28:39

Under the last government some research commissioned by Ed Balls found that ten LAs had particularly high concentrations of schools that had performed below floor level for 5 years or more. The research concluded that these LAs were not taking any effective action to improve the performance of their underperforming schools. I wonder if you can name two of those LAs?

Claudiecat Fri 25-Jan-13 20:20:53

I think people need to wake up to what is going on. It's interesting that Derby was targeted last week, an authority which I understand has challenged the government over academies. Also, Coventry is on the hit list; another authority which has threatened the government with legal action over forcing one of its primary schools to become an academy. Coincident? I think not.

SminkoPinko Fri 25-Jan-13 20:05:52

admission- I am talking of a different school and I have most assuredly read the ofsted report. Many times, seeking reassurance on a school about which I am very worried as my teenage boys attend it. I find the report somewhat unconvincing in the light of the evidence available to me so far, most especially the school's GSCE results, though I am trying to keep an open mind. Why wouldn't I- I want my children to get a good education and if possible some qualifications. I want to support them and their school. I know it has some excellent features and my children have been happy there, mostly.

But the ofsted report does not mention that the GCSE results are so low as to put the school in the bottom 200 nationally, merely alluding to a "significant dip" in the context of a difficult year because the school chose to switch year 11 students to new courses and could not put on revision sessions. A grade 2 good rating for achievement was given by ofsted and indeed all aspects of the school were rated at 2 or better. I think it is very unusual for a school with even one year of very poor GCSE results to be rated as good in terms of achievement. I also do not see why a decision was made to switch lots of year 11 students to alternative courses and why that constitutes a difficult year or excuses the school. It sounds like a really bad decision which resulted in many children underachieving, if anything.

I thought this was relevant in the context of an ofsted/academy thread as the school in question is an academy. Thank you for your advice, however. Reading and re-reading can never be bad.

CalmChaos Fri 25-Jan-13 19:36:07

A nice essay title: Ofsted is completely neutral and independent of the DfE. Discuss.

CalmChaos Fri 25-Jan-13 19:35:28

A nice essay title: Ofsted is completely neutral and independent of the DfE. Discuss.

prh47bridge Fri 25-Jan-13 10:31:01

Yes, it is happening a lot. Whilst it has been the assumption for years that a school giving cause for concern (to use the official phrase) should in most cases become a sponsored academy, being forced to do so if necessary, this government has extended the assumption to primary schools and is pushing conversion more aggressively than the previous government.

directaction Fri 25-Jan-13 08:20:31

Our story:-

Results below floor for several years so obviously warned to improve rapidly or face closure/conversion. We were given a year to make this improvement. Staff, governors, pupils, parents, all working together in order to bring about rapid improvement. Termly data starts to show real progress.

So................... suddenly OFSTED arrive. Notice to Improve because of achievement levels, although all other areas deemed satisfactory or good and recognition that school has capacity to improve. Governors given choice to back academy status or be sacked - democracy in action! Academy status agreed before SATs results show a massive improvement taking school well above floor and national averages and local averages - we achieved what we had to achieve in order to avoid academy status/closure, but it was forced upon us anyway. This story is being repeated almost word for word countless times.

This really is happening everywhere. Time to wake up!

admission Thu 24-Jan-13 23:00:04

Sminkopinko, if you actually read the inspection report, then you might understand why the school is in a category. The teaching and learning in years 3,4 and 5 is inadequate and it is the catch up that is done in year 6 that is allowing them to come up with what are not bad results. But if the three previous years were any good then the results would be much better.
Really interesting comments about the governing body who were the people who had to push the SLT to instigate changes to improve outcomes in years 3,4 and 5. Leadership is obviously also not a strong area.
The bottom line regarding Tribal is that they are definitely going to have been responsible for the inspection because they have the contract for organising all the inspections in the south of the country, some 5000 per year.
Whether they should have that contract and then be able to offer their consultancy services to the schools is a very different question and one that I do think there is a big conflict of interest around.

yellowsubmarine53 Thu 24-Jan-13 22:24:24

On Tribal, a friend of mine works for an FE college, which was judged 'inadequate' by a sub-contracted Tribal inspector.

The very same Inspector immediately offered the college expensive Tribal educational consultancy to help them remedy their inadequacies.

Ker-ching!!!

yellowsubmarine53 Thu 24-Jan-13 22:22:44

The data for Gladstone Park shows that the children achieve above the national average in terms of numbers reaching L4 and L4, and the progress measures are also above average.

prh47bridge Thu 24-Jan-13 21:45:50

SminkoPinko - You can make an FoI request to the school. They could try to argue commercial confidentiality but I don't think that would wash unless you were after details of the contracts.

yellowsubmarine53 - The Ofsted report suggests that there are serious problems in Y3, Y4 and Y5 resulting in pupils falling behind and behaviour issues, but pupils are given extra support in Y6 so that their attainment is broadly average by the time they leave. I have no idea whether or not that is a fair picture of the school.

SminkoPinko Thu 24-Jan-13 21:32:49

You are more than welcome, prh47bridge.smile Ah yes, have a vague recollection of the converter fund and seem to recall that was one reason the senior management team at my children's school gave as a reason for converting- that they would lose out financially if they stayed as they were.

Tribal definitely did the ofsted report for my children's school. I know as I emailed them my views as a parent (and they did not reply). Is there a way I can find out who, if anyone, provided academy converter advice for the school, does anyone know?

SminkoPinko Thu 24-Jan-13 21:23:24

Thanks for BBC article, yellowsub. Interesting stuff. I feel increasingly despairing! IMO/E we are very very bad in this country at getting inspection services right- CQC regulates much of my area of work and there have been some problems with them missing big scandals in care homes etc. We so need our inspection services to be robust and trustworthy. I think that starts with them being independent and conflict of interest free.

prh47bridge Thu 24-Jan-13 21:07:25

daisymaybe - I wasn't suggesting the fact they provide a range of services makes a difference, just filling out the picture a little.

SminkoPinko - Thanks for those comments! Regarding your question, the school will pay any consultants they use. The school gets £25,000 from the DfE towards the school's conversion costs. They are free to spend that how they wish.

SminkoPinko Thu 24-Jan-13 21:00:32

prh47bridge is an extremely well-respected, knowledgeable and helpful long-term mumsnetter.

I must say I had no idea either that ofsted subcontracted out inspections to private companies or that there were private companies who help schools convert into academies. Who pays the latter? If the school wishing to convert pays them, where does the funding for that come from, I wonder?

yellowsubmarine53 Thu 24-Jan-13 20:56:05

Gladstone Park in Brent has academy chains sniffing around it after it was judged to be inadequate in November '12. Given these results, it's very, very difficult to see why.

www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=101529&superview=pri&qtype=LA

daisymaybe Thu 24-Jan-13 20:53:43

I don't see how the fact that they provide a range of education-related services makes a difference. Also thank you for the comment that they are not the only such business....

yellowsubmarine53 Thu 24-Jan-13 20:48:31

Conflicts a go-go between Ofsted and academy chains at the moment...

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20756653

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