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Government using new Ofsted framework to further their own political agenda at the cost of branding schools "inadequate".

(71 Posts)
feelokaboutit Wed 09-Jan-13 11:22:27

Have just come back home angry and upset after a meeting at my dcs' school. In 2008, under the old Ofsted framework, our school was "good". They got the same judgement at the interim assessment last year and so did not have a full inspection. We have now just (in November 2012) been inspected again under the new framework and are "inadequate", a whole 2 points below our previous grade. The improvements which need to be made are in years 3, 4 and 5 in teaching, pupil progress and something else (can't remember blush). The head was very honest about this and talked about the measures which will be taken.

Suddenly, tagged on to the back end of this meeting we (lots of parents attended since we got the report yesterday) were told that before the judgement had even been confirmed, the Department of Education had contacted the school with proposals to become an academy angryangry.

It seems that the new draconian Ofsted inspections are designed to find schools "inadequate" so that the Conservative agenda of dismantling the education system can be rushed through. It is glaringly obvious. Our school might (and does) require improvement in some areas but is good in lots of other areas and certainly does not deserve to be branded "inadequate" overall.

Is it the case that a school can only be forced into academy status if you are found inadequate? What I find offensive is how obvious the political agenda is. In the meantime, the human cost of being branded as "inadequate" in terms of staff morale, parent confidence and overall happiness of the children at school, is found to be of no consequence angry.

Someone at the meeting said that by 2015, all schools in the country will probably be academies. Whether or not this is true, if that is the governments top agenda, can they be less underhand about it instead of making us go through horrible Ofsted judgements to then force us into becoming academies.

That the school has been found to need improvement in some areas is a good thing and will provide incentive for staff to fix the problems. What is sickening is the obvious manipulation of facts to suit the government sad.

If anybody has any positive stories of schools becoming academies then I'd be happy to hear them!

feelokaboutit Wed 09-Jan-13 11:57:26

Just bumping my own thread. Maybe I am naive and all this is old news hence no posts blush.

gordyslovesheep Wed 09-Jan-13 11:59:20

yanbu - poor OFSTED reports are being used to force schools hands unfairly - try this site

TraineeBabyCatcher Wed 09-Jan-13 12:01:59

We have and are seeing this happen to some of our local schools.

JoanByers Wed 09-Jan-13 13:51:57

As I understand it many schools were coasting along, and the new reports are more uncompromising which is a good thing for providing accurate info to potential parents.

Whether that's being used to force schools into becoming Academies, I don't know.

I know that many (most?) of the best-achieving schools are now Academies, so it's hardly the end of the world.

CabbageLooking Wed 09-Jan-13 13:55:19

I know that many (most?) of the best-achieving schools are now Academies, so it's hardly the end of the world.

JoanByers I'd be interested to see what evidence you have to back up that statement.

JoanByers Wed 09-Jan-13 14:50:49

Top 25 schools in the league table:

The Henrietta Barnett School, Hampstead GardensAcademy
Queen Elizabeth's School, BarnetAcademy
Wilson's SchoolAcademy
The Tiffin Girls School, Kingston upon ThamesAcademy
St Olave's Grammar School, OrpingtonVoluntary Aided
Pate's Grammar School, CheltenhamAcademy
The Latymer School, LondonVoluntary Aided
Colchester Royal Grammar SchoolAcademy
Altrincham Grammar School for GirlsAcademy
Tiffin SchoolAcademy
Kendrick SchoolAcademy
King Edward VI Camp Hill School for BoysAcademy
King Edward VI Camp Hill School for GirlsAcademy
The Judd SchoolVoluntary Aided
Dr Challoner's High SchoolAcademy
Newstead Wood School for GirlsAcademy
Reading SchoolAcademy
Nonsuch High School for GirlsAcademy
Sutton Grammar School for BoysAcademy
Dr Challoner's Grammar SchoolAcademy
Chelmsford County High School for GirlsAcademy
Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for GirlsAcademy
Colchester County High School for GirlsAcademy
Wallington County Grammar SchoolAcademy
Colyton Grammar SchoolAcademy

As you can see around 90% of them are Academies.

fiftyval Wed 09-Jan-13 14:56:53

Aren't alot of schools on that list selective? - and not sure how that reassures the op who is worried about her primary school

Panzee Wed 09-Jan-13 14:58:49

YANBU, this is exactly what is happening. Hope all goes well at your school.

JoanByers Wed 09-Jan-13 15:00:42

Yes I think they are all selective. But nonetheless I was pointing out that the best schools in the country have all done this voluntarily.

Charmingbaker Wed 09-Jan-13 16:08:45

Joan Byers, these schools were not underperforming schools which have been transformed by academy status. They are highly selective schools and academy status allows them even more freedom in their admission policies, ensuring they continue to cream off the highest achieving pupils in order to maintain their top of the table status.

JoanByers Wed 09-Jan-13 17:10:26

I'm not sure that the purpose of the academy status was to allow them to alter their admissions policies, given, as you say, they were already highly selective.

Abitwobblynow Wed 09-Jan-13 17:13:55

OP the current education system NEEDS dismantling.

Be happy! This is way better for your children!

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Jan-13 17:18:52

"If anybody has any positive stories of schools becoming academies then I'd be happy to hear them!"

Yes... My DS's secondary school was so bad 10 years ago that people fought like cats not to send their kids there. The head was replaced, the new head turned the place around and it converted to an academy about two years ago. Is now classed as 'outstanding'. Sorry your kids are at a bad school.

HollyBerryBush Wed 09-Jan-13 17:25:16

You have to understand the difference between academies and not assuem they are all the same.

This 3rd generation academy is merely the school getting all its funding rather than the borough supplying services and taking a chunk from the budget.

Simplistically - the school decides whether new text books ora new roof is needed.

Don't be misguided that the academy status is a great cure-all.

hackmum Wed 09-Jan-13 17:31:27

When schools first become academies, they usually start off with a pot of extra money (they no longer have to pay the local authority for certain services), and there's often a new head and SMT, so you'll quite often see short-term improvements in schools that convert to academies. Am sceptical about whether they'll be sustained long-term.

diabolo Wed 09-Jan-13 17:56:35

You can choose become an academy if you score Outstanding - a positive thing.

You can be forced to become an Academy if you are not performing at the required level.

2 totally different things.

Check out this one in Burnham on Crouch, Essex. Was failing massively, forced to become an Academy, new head, new governors etc and now a massive improvement in GCSE results.

noblegiraffe Wed 09-Jan-13 18:38:16

Don't be fooled into thinking that outstanding schools are choosing to become academies voluntarily because it's such a good thing. At my outstanding school the head told the whole staff that there was no interest in becoming an academy and absolutely no intention of doing so. A year later we were an academy. We were forced into this by massive budget cuts, the promise of more budget cuts to come (yet I'm sure the Tories said education funding was ring fenced) and the only way for the school to not completely sink was to take control of its finances from the LA. There were still loads of redundancies and I can definitely say that the kids are getting a worse deal after our conversion, despite our conversion.

YorkshireDeb Wed 09-Jan-13 19:24:24

YANBU. It's lovely that you, as a parent truly understand the government agenda behind ofsted & are supportive of your school despite their Low grade. Ofsted (like Sats & league tables) are a way for each government to 'prove' how rubbish the last government was & implement their own ideas to 'turn things around'. If only the government would keep their noses out & let schools decide for themselves how best to educate children (instead of us all dancing to the tune of a dickhead minister for education who's never taught in his life) we'd have the best education in the world. X

gordyslovesheep Wed 09-Jan-13 19:27:55

time will tell - private companies running schools - when they need to make a profit - time will tell

staff pay and conditions eroded
none qualified staff 'teaching'
no money for SEN support, student welfare etc
mass exclusions
companies going bust

time will tell

letseatgrandma Wed 09-Jan-13 19:33:50

We were outstanding in 2007, Good in 2010 and the powers that be have decided that they want us to become an academy so the lea gave warned us that the dfee might well trigger an Ofsted which will find us inadequate so we can be legitimately 'turned'!

Wrong on lots of levels.

Overdecorated Wed 09-Jan-13 19:41:15

At a recent meeting attended by my headteacher, they were told that ofsted would be failing at leasr 50% of schools they inspected. With 'targets' like that I'd say the agenda was pretty clear too OP. I hope all parents are as supportive and non judgemental as you smile

Overdecorated Wed 09-Jan-13 19:41:43


2013go Wed 09-Jan-13 20:04:45

YANBU the government agenda is to ultimately privatise schools. First by forcing academies - two methods: change inspection goalposts is one, starve LEA schools of funding is the other.
Behind the surface improvements of many academies are several factors- one is that they excluded more ( and did it in a more 'unofficial' way, eg disapplying) and took fewer FSM pupils and another is the proliferation of less academic qualifications (note the ebacc figures of many academies- if you can find them anywhere). This has been well researched and you can find the evidence in a number of academic studies.
Our local state school faces massive budget cuts and is being restructured so that staff will no longer be paid tlr payments for taking on additional responsibilities. Meanwhile many academies have inverted pyramid pay structures so that there are layers of managers all on well over £50000 per year. So it's easier for them to attract good staff. Academies in the local area pay AST wages and create AST posts even for staff who haven't passed AST selection procedures. In LEA schools, AST posts are going. Again, good staff can easily be enticed to academies.
Our local school has significantly increased its GCSE results consistently each year for three years, yet 2 years ago was deemed 'satisfactory' and faces another ofsted this year or next, which may well see it graded '3' again, only this time it means curtains- academy stays for a school which is clearly making great strides forwards against all the odds.
Michael bloody Gove!!!!!!!!!!

2013go Wed 09-Jan-13 20:06:03

Oops academy status, not academy stays!

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