Do I just need to be patient to find out more about Ofsted judgement?

(25 Posts)
flow4 Tue 22-Jan-13 17:32:43

DS2's school (where DS1 also used to go) had an Ofsted inspection before Christmas, but the report is not yet published. Now rumours have started circulating that the school has been placed on Special Measures.

A friend who is a teacher at another local school says it was 'announced' at a LA meeting. There's nothing on the school's Ofsted page.

I 'phoned the school direct and was told the draft report had been returned to Ofsted with comments, and the final one would be available "at the end of Jan, possibly February". No comment other than this.

I spoke to a parent governor, who is a friend, and who says the head teacher and chair of governors have not shared the draft Ofsted findings with the rest of the governors and are refusing to discuss them. confused

I find this slightly shocking, since governors are legally accountable, and it puts them in a very difficult position if they're unclear of the facts when gossip is starting. My friend is frustrated and angry.

I'm also irritated that parents are being left to find things out through 'hearsay' rather than being given clear, official information. hmm

I sent the following email to the head this afternoon... I'm not expecting a response but I thought I had nothing to lose by asking directly...

Dear Ms X,

There are rumours circulating that the recent Ofsted inspection judged the school to be 'Inadequate' with 'Serious Weaknesses' and it has been placed in Special Measures.

As a parent, I am of course concerned to hear this. I would appreciate if you could confirm some facts, and let me know when the Ofsted report itself will be published.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

So I wonder if anyone else has ever been in a similar situation... Is there anything else I can/should do? Or that my governor friend can/should do? Or do we just wait?

And if the rumours are true, does anyone know what happens next? confused

Thanks in advance for any help/advice. smile

camptownraces Tue 22-Jan-13 18:24:48

You have to be patient - nothing is official until the report is published, and then it will be available to parents and other members of the public.

Your governor friend should have had governor training, presumably covering things like inspections and their aftermath.

flow4 Tue 22-Jan-13 19:25:01

Thanks camptown. My governor friend is very cross about not having been given any information, and focussed on trying to get it... She doesn't want to think about the aftermath yet, which I understand, since we don't officially know which aftermath.

I am not very good at being patient. And the status of parents revealed by your comment "parents ^and other member of the public^" pin-points exactly how disregarded many parents feel, including me... Personally I feel that parents have very much more of a stake and interest in the performance of a school than 'other members of the public', and deserve information before gossip.

christinecagney Tue 22-Jan-13 19:43:57

OP The school can't tell anyone anything until they get the report. This is absolutely emphasised by the lead inspector at the final feedback to the school before they leave on the last day. They are not being difficult deliberately. Also if it is a Grade 4 then the report and all the evidence are triple checked by senior Ofsted people before the report goes back to the school. This can delay things. Once the school have it they have to publish it to all parents as soon as possible, so you will have it as soon as they can get it to you.

What happens next depends on lots of things, whether its Grade 4 Serious Weaknesses or Grade 4 Special Measures etc etc . Or, indeed, neither of these and it's all just rumours...

christinecagney Tue 22-Jan-13 19:47:33

Also if it was announced at an LA meeting then that's a serious breach of confidentiality, and the teacher who told you that is also acting very unwisely in being so lax about confidentiality too. Inspectors are very clear with schools that the verbal feedback and draft report are confidential until the final report is published.

WeAreSix Tue 22-Jan-13 19:49:05

You need to be patient.

Even if the school got an outstanding and the HT wanted to stand on the roof top waving flags and scream with joy, s/he would not be able to until the report was published.

And what christinecagney said smile

cricketballs Tue 22-Jan-13 19:49:38

nothing is official until the report is published as christine has stated. The report has to be checked through, not only by the school (in case of serious mis representations) but also Ofsted chiefs, the LA etc. The rumour mill is well known not to be 100% correct so rather than panicking, wait until the report.

I would like to add though, that being in special measures can be a good thing as this means that the school receives intensive support to enable it to meet the standards expected today whereas a 'good' school can just be coasting along with a constant intake of decent kids that will make progress no matter what

flow4 Tue 22-Jan-13 20:15:37

Thanks, christine, WeAreSix and cricket... More votes for patience! blush smile

To be fair to the teacher who told me, she didn't realise she was breaching any kind of confidentiality, because she assumed the news was 'official', since it had been announced at a LA meeting and fed back to the senior management team at her school where she heard it.

It take your point about special measures being potentially a 'good thing', cricket, though personally I think the head will need to go: she announced her intention to make the school 'excellent' when she arrived 5 years ago or so, but she has presided over a sort of back-sliding that took it from 'good' down to 'satisfactory', and now apparently (and if the rumours are true) to 'inadequate' and special measures. sad

But the goal posts have changed since she took over too - 5 years ago it was all about value added and then it was floor targets of 5 a-c and now, in addition to that it's about 3 le else progress and those different measures can give you a very different view of the same school.

Just because it's judged inadequate a) doesn't mean it's in special measures and b) doesn't, in real terms, mean it's horrific. Is the school serving your DC well? If so then don't worry about it.

WeAreSix Tue 22-Jan-13 20:24:22

The other important thing to say is that a changed Ofsted score doesn't mean the school has changed massively. The goal posts have moved (again!) as far as Ofsted are concerned.

Some would say that the government forcing schools into special measures (by making Satisfactory / good difficult to achieve) is another push in forcing schools to become Academies. I'm not sure how true that is, but our 1st school was recently inspected and went from good to needs improvement. Reading the report, some if it rings true but other parts is hmm. Ofsted only seem to look at the end point rather than the actual achievements made by children especially those with SEN or social problems. It's just a number game IMHO.

WeAreSix Tue 22-Jan-13 20:25:11

X post!

flow4 Tue 22-Jan-13 20:35:33

Thanks Pottering and (again) WeAreSix.

No Pot, the school isn't serving my DS very well. But I am aware that I may be over-anxious about it, because it failed my DS1 very badly (I have two DSes 5 years school apart) and I do not want to see history repeat itself with DS2... He is bright and creative and self-motivated (and identified as 'gifted and talented'), and until recently very engaged in learning, but is losing his enthusiasm... And at least part of that is because the quality of some of the teaching is very poor...

tiggytape Tue 22-Jan-13 22:40:53

As others have said - you are not being kept in the dark by the school, it is the process. All schools have to keep initial results confidential until the report is published. If details are leaking out then others are breaking the rules not your school's Head. Even if the governors knew, they would not be allowed to say anything to you at all.
It is possible the Chair of Governors and the Head both know the 'headline' result of the inspection but again, it is still confidential until published whether it is awful or fantastic. You will just have to wait a few more weeks and see what it says.

Startail Tue 22-Jan-13 23:07:08

And whether good, bad or very bad Ofsted reports should be taken with a very large pinch of sodium chloride.

They have an agenda and I'm certainly not sure the welfare of our DCs features very high on it angry

flow4 Tue 22-Jan-13 23:14:02

Yes, that's probably true Startail. And I can see my low opinion of the Head has probably coloured my response here...

Tiggy, the school itself told me that the draft report had been received and sent back to Ofsted with comments in the first week of term... I think that irked me, and particularly my governor friend, who has not seen it and cannot understand why/how it could have been returned without her seeing it.

DewDr0p Tue 22-Jan-13 23:22:06

I'm a governor but at a primary school. I'm not sure how much it differs to the process for secondary but we were inspected by Ofsted just before Christmas.

I was interviewed along with two other governors and the Head and Chair of Governors were given headline feedback at the end of the inspection. However they were strictly not allowed to share any of that feedback with anyone before the report was published. As a governor (and a governor who had been involved in the process too!) I did not see the report before any of the other parents.

They do seem to try to get reports published quite quickly these days. I would suspect that the delay will be down to the school disputing certain points? The snow may be contributing to this.

DewDr0p Tue 22-Jan-13 23:22:53

I also think it's worth remembering that the school is still the same school it was the day before it was inspected.

flow4 Tue 22-Jan-13 23:56:22

Thank you Dew, that's a very useful insight. smile

Startail Wed 23-Jan-13 00:11:31

Dew has summer it up exactly.

Startail Wed 23-Jan-13 00:12:39

Summed, summer??

I wish it was it started to snow the moment I went out tonight.

tiggytape Wed 23-Jan-13 08:51:36

flow4 - the draft report exists but is confidential.
The Chair of Governors has no doubt seen it. And the Head. Even if your friend knew the headline rating and contents she wouldn't be allowed to say but it is quite usual that she has not been told either.

Everything is confidential until the official report is published which may be a few more weeks yet.
The Head gave you the maximum information allowed i.e. the stage the process has now reached but he or she is absolutely not allowed to tell you anymore until that draft report gets signed off and becomes the official report.

DewDr0p Wed 23-Jan-13 11:14:06

Glad to be of service, flow4 smile

sigh startail summer would be wonderful wouldn't it?

admission Wed 23-Jan-13 20:59:38

DewDR0p, an interesting observation you make about who can know about the outcome of the inspection and one that your inspectors, head and chair have got wrong between them.
Having talked directly to Sir Michael Wishaw the chief honcho at Ofsted the process is that the lead inspector will feed back the conclusions of the inspection to the head and the chair of governors (or another representative of the governing body). Those conclusions can then be shared with the governing body in confidence but cannot be released to parents until they are published. The reason for this is that the conclusions reached by the inspector are only considered to be recommendations and can be altered by the checking process that happens at Ofsted. In effect the collected evidence has to back up and justify the conclusions reached. Only when published are the conclusions considered cast in stone.
Whether it is the inspector who has given wrong information to your Chair or the Chair who has not understood I don't know but it is a common situation and has to be stopped. The governing body is the responsible body for the school, not the head teacher and not the chair of governors. If people do not believe that such information cannot be kept confidential by the governing body members then there is a lack of trust or a lack of appropriate governors.

flow4 Wed 23-Jan-13 22:02:37

Thanks all.
admission, thank you for the clarification. That is what my governor friend and I thought: it seemed/s bizarre that the governors - who are after all the group of people who are legally accountable for the school - are not been given information that will affect their governance. My friend is thinking about resigning because of it.

DewDr0p Wed 23-Jan-13 22:08:49

In our case it must be the inspector who got it wrong admission - both the Head and the Chair were very clear that the inspector had told them to share the result with noone.

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