School given a poor OFSTED - what to do?

(37 Posts)
TwentyOneGuns Sat 09-Jan-16 09:04:58

Background - DD is in Y9, she's happy at school and seems to be doing OK.

Don't know the rating yet but head wrote to parents last night outlining all the things they'd been pulled up on and it doesn't sound great. The last report (which we obviously looked at before sending DD there) was much better but a while ago I think.

I was in 2 minds about the school anyway, it seemed pretty good but I preferred another local one, we decided on it as DD is quite shy and lacks confidence and hated the idea of going somewhere she didn't know anyone. I'm now wondering if we should have stood our ground.

There's a meeting next week about GCSEs, this is obviously a really important time for DD but I think moving her might do as much harm as keeping her in a not that great school.

Any advice? I don't know how much an OFSTED report really reflects day to day life in a school. If a kid is happy and works hard should they do OK wherever they are?

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 09-Jan-16 09:11:19

My advice is to stick with the school and wait for the report.
If your DD is happy and doing well then there is no reason to move unless the issues OFSTED raise have a direct impact on her.

There can be an advantage in staying with a school that requires improvements because they will be actively working on making those issues and by rallying good parent support, it can end up turning this into a positive experience for the students.

swingofthings Sat 09-Jan-16 10:08:48

Ofsted reports (as GCSEs results) go up and down between secondary school in the town I live in. I personally give little attention to OFSTED reports. Indeed, DS had no choice but to attend one when it was on remedial measures (and indeed, was not happy at all then!). During the three years there, it went from RM to a level 2, to a level 3, yet based on my own assessment of the school, I would have given it an 1, and thought he had a much better education there than his sister had at her primary school which was rated 1. He finished with a level 6 in both Maths and English at his SATs.

We had a choice between two secondary schools for DS, one rated 1 and one rated 2. We picked the second, and two years on, I have no regrets. Reports I am getting from parents who picked the first is giving me reassurance that I've picked right for him. Yes, they scored well because the Headteacher of that school used to be an inspector! She knew what she needed to do to tick the boxes. However, I am hearing that teachers are young and inexperienced, that kids are treated like infants rather than being taught responsibilities and the Head Teacher is more interested in making a good impression to recruit more new pupils than looking after the current ones.

Your daughter's happiness and stability is the most important factor in the success of her education.

BertrandRussell Sat 09-Jan-16 12:08:22

It depends a lot on what the school is being marked down on. But if your dd is doing well, she's not going to stop doing well because of a poor ofsted...

Blue14 Sun 10-Jan-16 07:09:17

Ofsted are a bunch of ignorant power crazed twats, who know nothing what so ever about education.

Ignore.

BertrandRussell Sun 10-Jan-16 08:03:28

That really isn't true about OFSTED you know.

TwentyOneGuns Sun 10-Jan-16 09:53:12

Thanks, this all makes sense (well not sure about your post Blue14!), I wouldn't want to rush and move her just on the basis of this but it's such a crucial time with GCSEs on the horizon that it was a bit of a shock to hear things aren't as good at school as I'd assumed. Be interested to read the report and see how much of it actually affects DD.

thisismypassword Sun 10-Jan-16 11:36:48

Ofsted is corrupt. I taught at a horrendous school in inner city Manchester. It received an outstanding which is absolute bollocks. I feel sorry for the parents new to the area who believe it, because they're sending their kids into a cess pit!

Chippednailvarnish Sun 10-Jan-16 11:46:35

It depends a lot on what the school is being marked down on
Exactly my opinion.

There was a school near me that had a horrendous Ofsted mainly because they weren't able to keep children safe. There is no way that I would have had a child stay there.

However I generally accept that a lot of what makes a good school in Ofsted's eyes isn't necessarily what I would concentrate on.

BertrandRussell Sun 10-Jan-16 11:50:49

"However I generally accept that a lot of what makes a good school in Ofsted's eyes isn't necessarily what I would concentrate on."

Can I ask what? As far as I am aware, OfSTED want good teaching, good behaviour, good record keeping and good progress. Which are the very basic things I want from a school too.

Chippednailvarnish Sun 10-Jan-16 14:43:49

Slightly different to the OP, a Preschool I was involved with were told that they couldn't be outstanding because due to the fact their premises didn't have a direct route into their garden to allow free access. It's not like you can carry out major building work just to accommodate this one thing.
The teaching, record keeping and safeguarding were all excellent. They were also told off for not offering a "rolling snack bar" and asking children to sit down in groups for snacktime. Again in order to do this would require major construction due to space constraints...

Blue14 Sun 10-Jan-16 15:30:18

Can I ask what? As far as I am aware, OfSTED want good teaching, good behaviour, good record keeping and good progress. Which are the very basic things I want from a school too

Maybe in theory, but not in that order, and certainly not with that weighting.

What ofsted want above and beyond all else is good record keeping, to the extent that you are able to find the information on what you said to each pupil in each lesson,, including what proportion of boys/ girls you spoke to, as well as what proportion of gays/straights, immigrants/natives travellers/ forces children, etc etc etc. You are also expected to know, ( speaking as a maths teacher) what level English a particular student is on, and record how you are stretching that level of English during your maths lesson, and record HOW YOU KNOE YOU HAVE SUCCEEDED

In other words, it is not enough just to use challenging vocabulary, and make it accessible to the student.

You have to ASSESS AND RECORD exactly how challenging the vocabulary used for each pupil is, ASSESS AND RECORD whether each pupil has made progress in English in your lesson, including starting and ending sublevels every six weeks, and then statistically analyse whether your gay and straight pupils etc are making the same progress, in English ( in maths lessons)

All of this leads to no time what so ever being left for planning, teaching and assessing maths.

This is what ofsted want. Manic assessing and recording and statistical analysis and intervention planning to the detriment of all else.

At the start of last term, I calculated that over 100 full staff days ( as in around 10 teachers for a full two weeks) had been spent on statistically analysing the GCSE results, in every possible format.

Why?

It doesn't benefit one single student one iota.

And ofsted insist and demand other pointless exercises.

Writing up and copying lesson objectives.

Why?

each teacher spends 5 mins or so per lesson, so half and hour a day, so two and a half hours a week. The class takes much longer, possibly up to 5 hours a week. For no reason.

My DC and their friends have refused point blank to write out learning objectives since around year 8, when they got sick of the pointless, patronising waste of time.

And how about the PSHE? My tutor group spent longer filling out the feedback forms each week than they did learning any PSHE - again, a specific instruction from and ofsted inspector. And I spent longer filing it than teaching it, and once filed, the files were never opened again ever. This is the way a lot of ofsted paperwork goes.

I've been in a school graded outstanding, and yes it was a total con. The inspectors couldn't see what was right in front of their noses. Many staff walked out of the school in disgust as a protest at the result, and within weeks a pupil lost a lung in a stabbing, foreseeable, and preventable, but the violence was not noticed by ofsted.

I've been in a school graded down because an inspector heard a pupil swear.

There was no acknowledgement that we were offering an education to pupils no other school would take, including sweary ones! And swearing wasn't there worst problem.

Without us, those pupils would have been on the street robbing people, well some of them still are, but they had an opportunity from us that no one else woud give them, and some of them took it.

I have known a school fail ofsted for because the security guard on the gate recognised the ofsted inspector on the second day, and let him in without checking his security pass! Instant fail.

I could go on.

Ofsted is utterly meaningless. School statistics are utterly meaningless in most cases - speaking as a statistician, the significance levels are derisible,

Ofsted decides what is "good practice" according to a combination of political correctness, novelty and vanity. Their general recommendations are not founded in any genuine research or understanding of education, and their conclusions and recommendations for individual schools are frequently more or less random, or at best a reflection of the cover up and PR job achieved by the school.

They are a bunch of twats.

Ignore

BertrandRussell Sun 10-Jan-16 15:33:45

Blue- much of that is simply not true.

Blue14 Sun 10-Jan-16 15:37:39

which bit of it do you not think is true Bertrand Russel? I assure you it is all 100% true of my own experience, and from what others have said to me my experience is pretty standard.

timelytess Sun 10-Jan-16 15:38:41

Former teacher here.
Base your own assessment on the school for your daughter on the following:

Is she happy?
Does she have friends/people to be with (my dd spent a lot of time with staff, it worked better for her)
Is she making progress?
Those should be fairly easy to answer.

Then look at her GCSE options, and get all the teacher info on them from the exam boards. Follow her progress, make up anything missing, share the journey with your dd if she will let you. Give her whatever support you can - it might be a trip out to see something relevant, extra theatre visits to support her understanding of how plays work, whatever. Things that help her have a full understanding of what she is doing in class.

BertrandRussell Sun 10-Jan-16 15:43:53

"What ofsted want above and beyond all else is good record keeping, to the extent that you are able to find the information on what you said to each pupil in each lesson,, including what proportion of boys/ girls you spoke to, as well as what proportion of gays/straights, immigrants/natives travellers/ forces children, etc etc etc."

Well, this bit, for a start. Oh, and there is no record kept of gay/ straight pupils in schools.

Blue14 Sun 10-Jan-16 15:52:47

there is no record kept of gay/ straight pupils in schools.

absolutly there is BertrandRussel, it is supposed to be recorded on your class profile, along with trans pupils.

Personally, I have always refused, along with many of my colleagues but the instruction is there. And we could technically be disciplined for our refusal. Or picked up on it by ofsted.

An ofsted inspector a few weeks ago let us know before a visit that he would be picking up on one specific group of students to compare their achievement to the school average. "homosexual" was one of the possibilities on his list, but in the event he chose "Vietnamese"

titchy Sun 10-Jan-16 15:58:20

Blue have you name changed - were you charis?

Sadik Sun 10-Jan-16 16:06:10

OP, my inclination would be not to ignore the OFSTED, but to look at GCSE results over the past few years (including trends), figure out when the report comes out what they've been marked down on, and think about whether you're happy with your dd's progress generally.

DD's school is on annual visits from the inspectors. But the particular thing they fall down on is poor relative performance by lower ability boys. Since I have a top set girl, I'm not that worried from a personal POV. (Actually, I think there are complicated reasons to do with intake for lots of their 'problems', but that's another matter.)

BertrandRussell Sun 10-Jan-16 16:06:16

"An ofsted inspector a few weeks ago let us know before a visit that he would be picking up on one specific group of students to compare their achievement to the school average. "homosexual" was one of the possibilities on his list, but in the event he chose "Vietnamese""

Bollocks.

ravenAK Sun 10-Jan-16 16:08:43

Is the school an academy?

If not, you can safely disregard ofsted.

(The school will be an academy by Easter).

My last ofsted inspector thought my lesson was great, although he did ask what I was doing to challenge the gifted students. After he'd spent 50 minutes watching me bang on about C/D borderline grade descriptors to a group clearly identified (on my lesson plan, data seating plan & all the other gubbins in the pack of bumf I handed him) as lower ability.

Then he bimbled back in to the same class the following day because he thought perhaps he really should see some high flyers too, & still had it in his head that my motley crew were top set. Didn't recognise me or the kids until one of them commented that they all felt really special, sir, what with you coming to see us twice...grin.

HSMMaCM Sun 10-Jan-16 16:14:24

Read the words in the Ofsted report and then see how happy your DC is and how well they are progressing. Talk to the form tutor if need be. DD's school has just been downgraded but it has been an excellent school for her both emotionally and academically.

Cric Sun 10-Jan-16 16:19:33

Were you happy before the inspection? You have had nearly 3 years at the school.... Trust your own judgement! The inspectors were there for 1/2 days.

Blue14 Sun 10-Jan-16 16:21:06

Bollocks.

What's Bollocks bertrand Russel? Maybe you are not familiar with how ofsted operates.

TwentyOneGuns Sun 10-Jan-16 16:33:23

No it's not an academy. My gut instinct was that DD would do best in a school where she felt happy, secure and was with people she knew and liked. She's been there since September (3 tier here so they move after Y8) and all of that applies. We haven't had a parents evening yet but here report before Xmas was fine.

I wouldn't believe blindly everything OFSTED say, I'm sure the system has its pros and cons, but apart from the above I have nothing else on which to judge the environment in which my DD is working.

Hope they hurry up and release the report!

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