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AIBU to be horrified by my kids' school's latest Ofsted and want to shift them asap?

(79 Posts)
bundybear Tue 14-Feb-17 13:30:26

So, we received the latest Ofsted report for my kids' primary school yesterday. Previously 'good' school, ticking along nicely, lost the head last year and not managed to recruit another so we've had an Executive Head drafted in since Sept. The school has been put in Special Measures, and the report is, shall we say, challenging. There's basically nothing good to be said in any section apart from safeguarding hmm.

We already had a few concerns about a dip in standards after the last head left - bit less discipline, bit of a lack of direction - but not to the extent highlighted in the report. We thought it would be quickish to turn around with the Exec Head.

We moved a year or so ago (only a mile) but didn't shift the kids as we were happy with the school at the time, but now I'm thinking of putting in an in-year application to transfer. Two schools close to us - one is tiny (intake of 15) but within catchment, the other is bigger, but didn't give places to anyone beyond 0.5 miles (we're 0.8 miles away). Both are full so we'd be on a waiting list.

Thoughts about being in a Special Measures school? Remotely likely to get a transfer?

My kids are in Y4 and Y2, and we're applying for DD3's place in January (more dilemmas).

Suitcasegirl Tue 14-Feb-17 13:34:44

Are you DC happy and are they progressing academically? If they are I'd be tempted to keep them where they are with their friends and routine and see how it goes. Now that the school is in special measures it HAS to improve and the school will be monitored very closely.

If your DC are unhappy there and you've noticed their work slipping I'd move them.

Bettyspants Tue 14-Feb-17 13:38:55

DH is a head teacher who goes to schools in special measures. If stead reports generally can only apply to a school for the same year, particularly when teachers change. When he goes to a school on sm everything possible is thrown at the school to get it back on track (although of course this depends on the effectiveness of the team he's also aware of a couple of pretty poor head teachers coasting in a similar role) here a problem solving team of school governors replace the existing team, individual teachers are assessed and weak teachers are identified. As this is annon I'm comfortable in suing that when he's identified a poor teacher he tries to get them out of the school as from experience it can be horrendous in getting them up to speed... I wouldn't make a snap decision. Particularly if the schools you would want to transfer to have not had a ofstead report during the last year

DixieNormas Tue 14-Feb-17 13:40:32

Ours has gone from outstanding to special measures. It doesn't bother me but I cant see any drop in standards and it now has a new ht who seems good

Im hoping other people may move their dc though as I've been on the waiting list for a place for ds3 for 18 months unhelpful

bundybear Tue 14-Feb-17 13:41:59

They are both very happy there in terms of friendships etc, and their teachers this year are good, as far as I can tell (although maybe not that good, given the report).

Teaching wise, my eldest is on track to be considered for 11+ for grammar school, and is currently top in her class for English and Maths. I don't think she's being given enough to do, but then I'm not sure any state primary would do much better. She's starting weekly tutoring in Sept for the 11+, so in some ways I guess they'll catch things there that are being missed at school. When I ask her about school, she does feel that discipline has totally gone out the window, that the boys run riot and sometimes stop her concentrating, or stop the class from working, which frustrates her (lack of discipline was highlighted in the report).

My middle child is in Y2, she loves her friends and is happy and settled, but she lacks confidence in her abilities and I don't think this is being supported because the focus is on the 'problem' kids, of which there seem to be quite a few in her class. I don't think she is progressing as well as she could with a bit more attention and encouragement.

Does Special Measures automatically mean academisation? There's a meeting in school tomorrow by DH is away and I've got no one to watch the kids, who aren't allowed to attend, so I can't go.

witsender Tue 14-Feb-17 13:44:33

I wouldn't move them unless they were unhappy or not achieving.

DaphneDeLaFontaine Tue 14-Feb-17 13:44:54

Oh God, don't take any notice of OFSTED reports.

I've been in lots of schools during inspections and basically it comes down to how well you 'perform'

Load of shit. If they came in unannounced, that would be worth reading.

bundybear Tue 14-Feb-17 13:46:03

That's helpful, thanks Bettyspants. The biggest area of concern highlighted in the report was completely failing senior leadership, which possibly wasn't a surprise as they were without a head for a while, and the deputy (now head of school) is a total wet blanket. The report did comment that they felt the new Exec Head was starting to identify improvements, but she's only there 2 days a week.

Realistically, we'll have no choice but to stay for a while at least as there are no spaces at the other schools. It just feels like such a gamble with my kids' education and everything I read about Special Measures seems to suggest total chaos, everything getting worse before it gets better, and huge pressure on the kids sad

DrivingMeBonkers Tue 14-Feb-17 13:47:18

Ofsted isn't worth the paper it's written on.

If your children are happy, settled and progressing, then that's fine.

Money will be flung at a school in SM.

bundybear Tue 14-Feb-17 13:48:26

I normally try to shrug off Ofsted reports - I don't think it helped that the inspector came in the day after they started back after Christmas, so everything probably was a bit more chaotic than usual.

I think what worries me is that the report backed up some of the things we had already started to notice, so it's sort of confirmed our fears if that makes sense. Our kids are happy being happy, but as parents I guess we also have a responsibility to make sure they are also getting a decent education.

Rickandmorty Tue 14-Feb-17 13:49:26

I haven't heard of any schools recently near me that haven't ended up in Special Measures. I don't know what that's about!

birdgal4848 Tue 14-Feb-17 13:51:11

I wouldn't move them, not if they are happy. Remember, an OFSTED inspection is a one and a half day snap shot, they have to make a judgment in that time, they don't see what goes on day in day out in a school. If management is judged as not great then even if the teaching they saw was outstanding they are not allowed to give this grade, because they way OFSTED works is that nothing can be graded higher than the leadership grade.
I wouldn't worry too much - unless the children are unhappy, keep them where they are. The positive thing (not for the teachers) is that the school will now be under monitoring, so outside agencies will come in to help them improve.

bundybear Tue 14-Feb-17 13:51:40

Oh, and our Head Governor won Governor of the Year award this year...

blackistheneworange Tue 14-Feb-17 13:52:35

My kids school has just been put in special measures. Feel gutted for the school and staff. The teaching was rated as good but they got hauled over the coals for safeguarding issues that a) I know they have already addressed and b) were caused by parents complaining on the feedback forms. Such a shame and nothing like the school I know.

bundybear Tue 14-Feb-17 13:55:56

Ahh that's interesting Birdgal, I didn't realise that teaching couldn't be rated higher than leadership. I think some of the teaching is good - certainly my eldest's teacher this year seems to be doing a great job, is giving her extra work etc - so I was surprised it scored so low. There are clearly some less good teachers, and they've had a lot of turnover in Year 5 and 6, so that won't have helped.

The report did seem to be focused heavily on the leadership, which I guess isn't a surprise when they didn't have a proper head in place for months (it's a big school so things can unravel quickly). The lack of leadership was cited as contributing to poor discipline across the school.

OneOfTheGrundys Tue 14-Feb-17 13:56:29

Personally and professionally (I'm a teacher), I'd leave them there. Any 11+ tutor worth it will assess and cover gaps in their general learning as well as preparing them for the test so your eldest will have support there too. They are happy and learning... stay put and keep a watchful eye on how things shape up. Ime of being a parent to a child in a school in special measures there will be lots of meetings with parents so you may have a chance to air your specific concerns. School will now have to address these areas of weakness too.
Easier said than done but don't let the report put the wind up you. If you don't like what you see over the next few months think again however.

bundybear Tue 14-Feb-17 13:56:32

Safeguarding was the only thing that was ok - I guess that's something!

bumsexatthebingo Tue 14-Feb-17 13:56:49

If the kids are happy and achieving then I wouldn't uproot them and make them leave established friendships just due to the Ofsted. It is a snapshot. Some schools may have an uncharacteristically good week, some may have an uncharacteristically bad one. And as others have said there will be a lot of money/support coming the schools way so no doubt it will be 'good' at the next inspection.

SarfEast1cated Tue 14-Feb-17 13:57:07

I was working in a school recently which was ofsteded - went from good to requires improvement. It was mentioned that a school with RI is more liable to being taken over by an academy, so maybe this is why so many reports are negative? <dons tin foil hat>

witsender Tue 14-Feb-17 13:57:53

Massively important in my eyes, a supportive family can address academic issues by a safe environment is key.

bundybear Tue 14-Feb-17 13:58:52

How do they prioritise what happens next? Where do they (who's they?!) start in tackling the issues? What can we expect to see happen first?

I read something about most schools staying in special measures no longer than 2 years, but that's not much good for my Y4 child.

witsender Tue 14-Feb-17 13:58:57

I think so Sarf. I also think they is why they keep screwing with sats...Make the system look like is failing then execute a massive landgrab and pass it over to private sector.

cantkeepawayforever Tue 14-Feb-17 14:04:18

Daphne, Ofsted does come in effectively unannounced - previous day is the maximum notice these days, some are unannounced for particular reasons.

If the report matches what you know of the school - and tbh a child reporting uncontrolled behaviour in her class would be an absolute red flag for me - then I would suggest that you at least get yourself on alternative waiting lists.

IME, schools in this situation almost always get worse before they get better - big staff turnover, concerned parents withdrawing children, maybe another change of hea, possibly academisation. Yes, in a couple of years' time it WILL be better than it is now (as long as it keeps approximately the same intake profile and doesn't become a 'school of last resort') but the interim period could well be very disrupted.

We were talking a couple of days ago about a school that started to decline, went into SM, had executive heads and lots of help, then got a Good ofsted and is finally beginning to fill up again (went down from 150 to under 80 children). the process from 'starting to slip' to 'almost there' has taken 10 years, despite all the resources poured into it. And it is still a 'school of last resort', even now, with local people sending their children anywhere but this school unless they absolutely have to.

NoYouDontKnowItAll Tue 14-Feb-17 14:11:59

Three of mine are in a secondary school that's just been put in Special Measures and the Head suddenly 'resigned' over xmas. Am not moving them like some parents seem to be, not worth it as they are in years 9,10,11 but guess you just do what you think is right for your own at the time

cantkeepawayforever Tue 14-Feb-17 14:19:18

To others saying 'it is a one day snapshot' - no, the process may only take a day BUT it does also look at a LOT of data, including that for progress over time.

Yes, there are some 'shock' Ofsted results, where all stakeholders do not recognise the school being described. There are also 'shock to the parents' reports, where a school has been coasting with no 'obvious' issues (particularly if the previous inspection was relatively old, as the criteria have changed a LOT). Then there are the 'ah, well that's worse than I expected in terms of grade, but I do sort of recognise what they mean' reports - which it sounds exactly like the OP's experience. It is the match between the OP's experience and the report that has me suggesting that she should at least look into moving and get herself on waiting lists [whatever they say, many other parents will be doing exactly the same thing].

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