DD school and horrific Ofsted report(65 Posts)
This will completely out me so I am under a new name. Sorry it is long but I am desperate for advice.
We moved our child who is year nine to a different school last September. This followed a terrible time at her old school which included bullying, threats with a knife and a generally horrible time at her old school. DD has some learning needs which were also not being met and socially she was near enough always alone. She hated school and was beginning to refuse to go and was suffering from anxiety.
The only suitable other option with space was a UTC school. Socially she has thrived here, smaller environment, teachers know all the pupils and for the first time ever has proper consistent friends.
We have had issues with the teaching in Maths and I made a complaint about this as her maths teacher has been teaching at another place for the last six months consistently leaving them with supply teachers, her physics teacher has also been off months.
DD made a massive drop in learning in Maths (think B to a D)
The school did say they were dealing with it and that the teacher would be back properly by x date, he is back but has been missing several days again since. They arranged to work with dd to support her and did for a couple of weeks but this too seems to have veered off.
Apart from this dd is holding her own academically despite having sen. In certain lessons she has made amazing progress and some teaching in those areas seems very good.
I was really panicking that I had done the wrong thing but she is so happy so I decided to hold out on a decision.
Anyway Ofsted report came home tonight and it is VERY BAD.
They are now in special measures and every single area has received inadequate.
Failures in safe guarding, inadequate teaching, irretrievable damage to the now year 11s teaching, Top set year 11 covering primary level work, breakdown of relationship between senior staff and teachers,very weak teaching, high amount of parent complaints, racist and homophobic bullying.
Basically it is really bad.
I could cry. DD is so happy here but another UTC school linked this the same people has announced closure after none of them passed their GCSE exams.
If dd was year 11 in September I would possibly risk it but she will go into year 10. The school only officially takes at year 10 and a lot of the new starters for September are withdrawing their application meaning dropping numbers.
So we are faced with three scenarios.
1) The new team come in and kick it up the arse and it sorts it self out.
2) Numbers continue to drop and they close the school like they have with other UTC. Leaving dd possibly at the start of year 11 with no school.
3) The year 11 fail their GCSES, The school is closed like the other linked one was and dd is possibly left with no school for year 11.
AIBU to ask what the hell you would do?
This is very difficult situation, but don't feel alone. Other parents will feel the same and I have no doubt the staff are completely demoralised by it too.
I really think the Chair of governors owes it to the parents to meet and discuss your concerns. Ask specific questions relating to actions being taken to ensure future grades improve. Your decision to move DD should be guided by the quality of their response.
Staff moral is mentioned on the Ofsted report as being very very low.
There is a meeting tonight however we only got notification of the meeting when the kids got home last night (well actually mine forgot the letter but I was told by someone else) and I cannot get work off at such short notice, I have asked the acting head if they can provide some kind of minutes or power point or such for those who cannot attend.
If she happy leave her there for now
Special measures means school will get lots of support and input and things could turn around quickly
I would feel the same.. Do look beyond the ofsted report, how your child is doing in the school..Do you have other options for school? If so make enquires today..You won't be the only one at least you will know your options..Are you friends with anyone attending the meeting.. Askt hem for feedback or do you have a mum nearby you can send?
Our school got requires improvement a few years ago. The school got a lot of money and staff training in and was reassessed as good. So you need to look at what they are going to do.. Although in your case yes I would be concerned this, my DS is in Primary. We got a letter from the governors with plan of action
I think her being socially happy will be more important than a slight drop in grades. It is soul destroying being an isolated teenager and can do lifelong damage.
I agree with what others have said. If she is happy and socially included this is more likely to impact on her life than GCSE grades: she can retake those or you can get a tutor.
My gut would be to stick it out. I'd really hope that they wouldn't close the school, because it's such a serious thing to do - where would all the pupils go? I would really hope that the new management team comes in and sorts it all out. It's a risk, of course, but taking her out is also risky - and if she's settled and happy that is probably the most important thing for now. You don't want to put her through more disruption.
That is so so difficult OP. Given the difficulties she faced at her other school, could you keep her there, but hire a private tutor for the areas where teaching seems poor, such as Maths?
My gut is also to stick it out.
If they turned round to me and said we cannot guarantee she will get the grades she wanted BUT we promise not to close before she leaves I would stick it out.
I am however utterly terrified of being left with no school place and a year 11 child (based on how long it took for the other UTC to shut)
I don't know what a UTC school is, but I suspect the local authority will be closely monitoring this situation and doing everything in their power to ensure the school remains open to avoid a flood of children looking for new school places simultaneously.
Social confidence and stability is vital for any child and seems to be something your DD has finally found, so I think I'd do whatever I can to avoid moving schools.
Can you afford a maths tutor?
The school will now get loads of input. They will have very strict deadlines for improvement which should be rapid. It's scary but as you're child is happy I would stick it out as the change should be dramatic and fast.
Although the school has had a terrible Ofsted, you have pointed out several areas in which it is serving your DD well (socially / amazing progress in some subjects / she is happy). If this was me (and I also have DC with SN/SEN), I would be inclined to keep her there for these reasons.
Acting head: this is a good sign as it indicates the head that presided over this car crash has gone.
A summary of the meeting is cursory, though and is unlikely to provide you with the assurance you seek. You need an opportunity to hear everything and question yourself. Talk to your employer about the need to take the time off in an emergency, and be flexible in return.
The reality is that Ofsted inspections tell you how good the school is at Ofsted inspections and little more.......the difference between a school that is outstanding and a school that is failing can in reality be very little and amount to little more than different record keeping.
I would never trust complete strangers to affect my thinking on what is right for my child. Is your child doing well? is she happy? If your child is unhappy at school she will likely do poorly not matter what Ofsted say about the school.
Stop relying on other people to tell you what is good and what is not - trust your own instincts on how your daughter is doing.
After all it does not matter what standard the child reaches in maths at the age of 9 - what matters is how happy that child's life turns out to be for the next 80 years. What is more likely to lead to a happy life - a happy childhood or a maths certificate?
My children went to a primary school that was in special measures and one is a firefighter and one a dance teacher - it was irrelevant in the whole scale of their lives.
Look at your other options first, if there are no better schools in easy reach , l would give the school a year to turn it around....
In the meantime l would take her learning into my own hands..
There are many good maths sites such as Doodlemaths and Mathletics, where DD could work for an extra hour at home daily and make good progress. Maybe set aside a regular hour at a convenient time each day, and make it a given.
WHS do very good English books and mock test papers. Again a solid hour of comprehension or grammar daily would soon bring her up to a good standard.
This way you will have her most important skills covered whilst she stays where she is happy, and wait to see if the school gets its act together, a lot depends on the Head, but the school should get lots of support now.
I'd try really hard to get time off work for the meeting, it's pretty vital.
Can you send a friend if not?
Lost at sea
"After all it does not matter what standard the child reaches in maths at the age of 9 -"
Just to confirm she is year 9 not age 9. She is 14.
It is important that you attend the meeting, do whatever it takes to attend.
You will hear about the schools plans moving forward, and be able to decide if the areas important to you will be improved, and how there plan to do this.
The school will receive a lot of support now, which will help a lot.
Don't underestimate the importance of your DD being happy and settled.
Agree with pps:-
1. Go to the meeting.
2. Keep her in school for time being
3. Get a weekly maths tutor and supplement daily with 30mins of online practice at home.
4. Review in 6 months.
OK - she's happy - that is the prime consideration. You have done the unhappy at school bit and know how destructive it is to the child and to the family.
OfSted reports are a mixed blessing and should to some degree be taken with a pinch of salt - a quick dive in and come out with an opinion is entirely superficial.
But - if the school is now in SM you know for sure that they will kick ass and get the place up to scratch.
If you cannot get to the meeting, then you need to have someone there who will report back to you in detail.
She's happy, which is the number one priority - leave her be and bide your time.
Socially it's clearly better she stays but it's pretty serious if there's a good chance she'll be left without a school for Y11 thus having to join a completely new, potentially frightening environment for that year. Sorry, it's tricky and I think you have to go with your gut feeling.
There are other school options which have a year 10 intake nearby which are oversubscribed but we would probably get in in September but not later.
My gut is to stick it out but then I am torn between her being a new year 10 with other new year 10s in September in a planned admission versus her being moved into any school which has a space without the options she wants and possibly a different exam board and thrown in with kids who have been together since age 11 at the start of year 11.
Be careful as, from you have said, you cannot trust what the school have said about how your child is performing. They obviously don't know / are capable of understanding and applying / may not be honest about the standard children are achieving. Might be worth getting a tutor or someone teaching in another school to have a look your child's work to ensure they are on track. Otherwise you might find out too late that the level she was told is achieving is wrong.
TBH it sounds like there are too many problems to be easily fixed and if staff morale is already low, any decent teachers will be looking for a new job and the rest may not have the energy to really try to change.
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