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To think OFSTED has lost credibility with most people?

(53 Posts)
SnipeBird Tue 10-Jan-17 09:50:01

Just an observation really, I have DS going to school this year and been chatting to lots of parents about different schools. General consensus seems to be to ignore Ofsted. Now I see they've appointed someone as CEO who has never taught in a classroom who is supposed to be the expert now on how to improve standards etc. It seems to me they've become an annoyance to most people and certainly lack credibility....

MsHooliesCardigan Tue 10-Jan-17 10:17:08

I completely agree. DD's school was on special measures for a while and is still rated as Requires Improvement. DS1 left there last year and my impression of it was always overwhelmingly positive and it is becoming more over subscribed every year so parents obviously don't agree with OFSTED. DD did half a term at an 'Outstanding' school and was as miserable as sin as she said that all they did was tests. When I'm applying for DS2, I will take zero notice of anything OFSTED have to say.

2014newme Tue 10-Jan-17 10:22:57

I don't agree at all. Ofsted are one of the few ways that a parent can get a view on the strengths and weak areas of a school. They have done a huge amount to highlight underperformed schools and drive up standards. They have a lot of credibility with me. You don't need to have been a teacher to run Ofsted any more than you need to have been a pilot to run an airline

NoraDora Tue 10-Jan-17 10:27:07

You definitely do need to have taught to be an ofsted inspector. Otherwise your observations are not done with any understanding of context.

Ofsted is a pile of shite, worked in schools from outstanding to special measures. I'd send my kids to special measures every time.

Outstanding schools get their results due to the intake of the pupils. There are very few examples of outstanding schools in tough areas.

DailyFail1 Tue 10-Jan-17 10:30:36

If that were the case then house prices around 'Outstanding' schools would have fallen by now.

Welshrainbow Tue 10-Jan-17 10:31:43

I'm a teacher and have taught at 2 outstanding schools and 2 schools requiring improvement, one of the outstanding schools was awful. Awful behaviour, results ok but not where they should have been given entry levels, just all round not a good school. The other outstanding school I taught at was truly outstanding. One of the schools requiring improvement is one of the top 5 schools for results in a large city where there are very few good or outstanding schools and I can honestly say it should be rated outstanding. Ofsted can be used to give you some guidance when picking schools but I would never rely on it totally and I wouldn't let a bad ofsted rating put me off a school I otherwise liked. A school can go down hill very quickly and if it is ofsted outstanding it may not be reinspected for several years. Likewise a good headteacher can start turning round a bad school quickly.

winewolfhowls Tue 10-Jan-17 10:31:50

Ofsted inspect paperwork, not teaching. They have more or less decided the grade of a school before they get there. Based on the paperwork.
They do observe the teaching but only small chunks of a minority of lessons.
I have barely recognised schools I have worked in from the ofsted report.
They often miss the non measurable little things that make a school a community, like the staff who give up lunch on rainy days so the kids can stay inside, or the kids in Form 3a who all contributed to a gift for another child in hospital, or the time the head dressed up for children in need.

There is no replacement for going, having a look around and getting a feel for a place

winewolfhowls Tue 10-Jan-17 10:34:21

Also agree that a few small changes such as a new head or a few staff coming or going can make very rapid change for the better or worse so it's a lottery really!

Lindy2 Tue 10-Jan-17 10:34:33

I think one of the problems with Ofsted is lack of consistency. Inspectors are individuals with different views, priorities, judgements etc. What might be requires improvement for one could potentially be outstanding for another because, even with the best intentions, people come to different conclusions. I think personalities and preconceptions about certain schools also play to big a part. It's the same as one child and their family can be delighted with a school but another child and their family are unhappy with it. Same school but different views.
I've no idea how to fix it but it's why I think any Ofsted report needs to be viewed as just some information about a school rather than the most important thing.

Oliversmumsarmy Tue 10-Jan-17 10:40:44

Actually OFSTED outstanding schools can quickly become Needs Improvement. As happened to a school in our area. Property prices for a particular road fell too.

I look for schools that are in special measures with new head teachers.

Ds's primary was a brilliant school but according to OFSTED it was failing.
When ds went to super large secondary (300 intake in years 7) the maths exam they gave to stream children into groups. Out of the 4 children who went from ds's primary they came 1st,2nd,3rd and 4th. Not bad considering OFSTED slated their teaching methods

Zarachristmas Tue 10-Jan-17 10:41:00

Well I disagree about the outstanding schools in tough areas.

I live in a bad area, we have several outstanding senior schools. Our two nearest high schools are in really deprived areas and are both outstanding. The ofsted reports comment on how the pupils achieve despite poor starting points.

We have some outstanding nursery schools, an outstanding primary and most of the rest are rated good despite the area.

WorraLiberty Tue 10-Jan-17 10:41:05

Outstanding schools get their results due to the intake of the pupils. There are very few examples of outstanding schools in tough areas.

I think that ^^ is spot on.

Also, depending on which area you live in, the OFSTED report can be pretty irrelevant considering your 'choice' of school will often be allocated on distance/catchment only.

Oliversmumsarmy Tue 10-Jan-17 10:42:36

Just to add the worst school my dc attended was rated Outstanding by Ofsted

WorraLiberty Tue 10-Jan-17 10:43:13

Zara that is really unusual for a rough area.

In my (very rough/deprived) area, there are tons of schools and only 1 outstanding senior and 1 outstanding primary.

namechange102 Tue 10-Jan-17 10:45:33

Agree totally with NoraDora and winewolfhowls. Have been through a number of OFSTED visits, they only look at a small snapshot of teaching, which of course is very reliant on pupil intake to the school in general, and pupils in each individual class at the time. Depending on the area, resources can be an issue, parental involvement can also have a big effect. It is often not an accurate representation of the school overall, as many small changes are made for just inspection time and paperwork is changed at the mere thought that a visit will be made in the future. I find it completely disrespectful to the profession that people who have not been teaching (a range of ability classes) for so many years can sit in judgement with their little tick lists. Times have changed since many of these inspectors were at the chalk face, if ever they were. Therefore I class a lot of OFSTEDs mutterings as irrelevant smile.

paxillin Tue 10-Jan-17 10:47:08

I read the reports, not as my only reference, but I take notice. Looking at the close correlation between house prices and OFSTED report, others do, too.

samG76 Tue 10-Jan-17 10:48:21

agree that it's a tick box exercise, which shows nothing more than whether the school happens to accord with the current educational principles. I was delighted when DS's hoped-for SS was downgraded, as it means sweet FA as far as education is concerned but might reduce pressure on places.

lalalalyra Tue 10-Jan-17 10:51:37

Head Teacher is more important than OFSTED when evaluating a school imo. A new HT means the last OFSTED is entirely irrelevant - I've worked in an outstanding school absolutely destroyed by a shit HT, and the opposite - a school that was rated poorly, but the HT was actually fantastic and OFSTED's report did the work of the staff no favours at all (ofsted heated that HT as she refused to allow the school to grind to a halt for them).

samG76 Tue 10-Jan-17 10:55:21

Also, if OFSTED have it in for a school then they can always arrange things to put it in a bad light. A local SS had a surprise inspection 2 days before the end of the summer term. Obviously, things were a bit relaxed, and there were loads of kids present from local primary schools, having a "taster" of secondary school, so it was a bit chaotic, and this was reflected in a shocking report.

DailyFail1 Tue 10-Jan-17 10:55:29

*Outstanding schools get their results due to the intake of the pupils. There are very few examples of outstanding schools in tough areas.*

In my experience schools in tough immigrant areas do tend to be outstanding. I went to one in a rough area - and the school has been nothing but outstanding in the 20 years since I left. Populations and cultures that respect and encourage education, tend to have kids that do far better than populations/cultures that don't.

Zarachristmas Tue 10-Jan-17 10:57:02

Perhaps it is unusual. We do have a lot of schools and none of them are particularly big so perhaps that has to do with it. We also seem to have large catchment areas. So I think we'd have the choice of at least 10 secondary schools.

I always read ofsted reports but I don't take them as the only factor.

MirabelleTree Tue 10-Jan-17 11:00:42

I lost nearly lost faith in Ofsted over the debacle at DD's old school. It was pretty much the only school of its type that wasn't an Academy and didn't want to be. The Head said the feel of the inspection was very different to previous ones and it felt as if they had made up their mind in advance. It wasn't the report of a school any of us recognised and that did really well given their intake was creamed off to Grammars in two other LEA's due to its geographical location.

It narrowly escaped special measures. 18 months of the teachers working their backside off and regular inspections which acknowledged improvement but still pretty negative. Then they announce they are in talks to become an Academy then llo and behold 3 weeks later in walks an Insoector and starts singing its praises saying in his opinion it is now reached 'Good', despite the rather negative report just weeks earlier.

All well and good but great stress on the teachers took its toll on my DD's GCSE year who were the second year to go through after the bad report and it definitely impacted very negatively on my DD.

However they kind of made up for it by being on the ball at the Boy's Grammar. It got graded outstanding after a change of Head but the results weren't good enough given the selective nature so they went in again pretty quickly and resinsoected and downgraded which I thought was good as matched what the parents were saying.

HardofCleaning Tue 10-Jan-17 11:01:07

In my Grammar area all the Grammars are outstanding all the non grammar's are "requires improvement", these schools get no useful support, teachers are under enormous pressure with constant inspections and most leave for Grammar schools at the first opportunity leaving a lot of NQT's. Personally I would give some weight to Ofsted and would avoid a school with a terrible ousted report but would be suspicious of an "outstanding" school as they can often rely on intake, set lots of homework and apply plenty of pressure to get results as opposed to focusing on teaching and well being of students.

SugarMiceInTheRain Tue 10-Jan-17 11:02:44

I taught in an outstanding secondary school - house prices were so much higher within the catchment than they were immediately outside catchment - yet from a teacher's point of view the school was far from outstanding. Staff not supportive of each other, terrible behaviour problems and attitude amongst the pupils, some lessons were a joke because of the way they'd grouped children together. The week Ofsted came we had a record number of exclusions. I only managed to stay there a term and tbh that school put me off teaching sad

Zarachristmas Tue 10-Jan-17 11:06:20

Ofsted isn't just based on results though is it?

It's quality of teaching, behaviour of pupils, safety of pupils, leadership and management and achievement.

One of our schools comments on the pupils background and the risk of becoming involved in gangs and how the school tackles all this. It's an outstanding school surrounded by social housing.

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