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Q&A with Ofsted Chair, Baroness Sally Morgan - ANSWERS BACK

(38 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 01-Nov-11 14:04:25

We're joined this week by Ofsted Chair, Baroness Sally Morgan who has agreed to answer your questions on Ofsted and in particlar Ofsted's new Parent View online questionnaire.

You may have seen in the news - there is now a new easy way for you to tell Ofsted how you think your child's school is performing. Ofsted's new Parent View online questionnaire has been up and running for a couple of weeks now. The survey includes 12 questions, and asks parents to rank how well the school does in areas like managing behaviour, quality of teaching, tackling bullying and setting homework. The final question asks parents if they would recommend the school to another parent. The results will be available for anyone with an interest in a school to review and help parents as they make decisions about their children's education. Ofsted will also use the information to help make decisions about which schools to inspect and when.

If you haven't already seen it, have a look at the site at and if you have a child at school take your opportunity to give your views. Send your questions to Ofsted Chair, Baroness Sally Morgan by midday on Monday 7th November and we'll be linking to the archived Q&A on Thursday 17th November. Please note, it won't be possible for Sally to answer questions about individual cases in individual schools.

This Q&A has been sponsored by Ofsted.

onholidaywithbaby Tue 01-Nov-11 16:41:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Balsam Tue 01-Nov-11 16:45:16

Why are schools, nurseries etc. notified of their Ofsted inspection in advance? Surely an unannounced or short-notice visit would give a more accurate picture of how an institution is performing?

IndigoBell Tue 01-Nov-11 17:01:11

Do you notice how many kids leave a school without changing address?

Because that's a huge measurement of a school doing badly. But those parents won't be around to tell you next time you come for an inspection.

TheOriginalFAB Tue 01-Nov-11 17:13:24

My husband and I have filled in the OFSTED online survey, and so far are the only parents for that school to have done so. My question is, what will happen about megative comments being left? How many do you have to have before you check the school and at what point do you get rid of Head teachers who are not running the school in a positive, safe way?

noblegiraffe Tue 01-Nov-11 17:25:50

The survey results will be biased as the sample of parents who fill out the questionnaire will be self-selecting. As this will most likely skew the results in favour of negative comments - people are more likely to leave feedback if they've got a complaint - how will Ofsted ensure that the impression of the school given through the survey results is fair?

LineRunnerBonfireMother Tue 01-Nov-11 18:34:55

Seriously, what's the point? The choice I realistically have is to send my children to their local school. Reading about how marvellous another school is that is out of my catchment, or effectively requires car ownership to travel to, is to a large extent using a masquerade of 'choice' to hide the fact that poor teachers are still allowed to teach in state schools.

Why aren't all local schools good schools?

When tackled on poor teachers in an interview, your predecessor Zenna Atkins famously said that every child should have a shit teacher [sic], as some kind of learning experience. Do you regret what she said?

TheSecondComing Tue 01-Nov-11 18:41:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

clappyhands Tue 01-Nov-11 18:43:12

What are the statistics for ineffective teachers being sacked?

Second the questions about why are schools given notice?

I work in adult training (16+) and as part of our quality system I am observed teaching approx. 3 times a year by a mixture of management / peers - how does this equate to schools? How often are teachers observed each year (I will have 2 announced observations and 1 unannounced)

Thank you for taking the time to answer some of the questions listed smile

TheOriginalFAB Tue 01-Nov-11 19:18:43


twinklytroll Tue 01-Nov-11 19:59:42

I agree it is nonsense. My dd is at a primary school which is failing her in all sorts of ways. I have no choice where to send her do what use is this information?

january29 Tue 01-Nov-11 21:27:34

Hi, I have two questions. What do you think the best thing is about our education system today? What do you think is the biggest area that needs development? Really interested to hear your thoughts.

ninah Tue 01-Nov-11 21:28:04

I also want to know whether unannounced visits could be considered. I have witnessed totally artificial and atypical lessons conducted with a myriad of resources which bear no resemblance to normal practice; pressure from SLT to 'get results' at all costs, and two day theatre performance for the benefit of inspectors, who seem to have no alternative but to take this at face value. Outstanding should be awarded for teaching, not for spin.

ninah Tue 01-Nov-11 21:28:41

.. because our children are there all year round.

Marney Tue 01-Nov-11 21:30:46

Schools should do genuine surveys themselves and discuss the results with their parent goyernor groups and try and improve things before ofsted inspections The treatment of dyslexic pupils is awful why does ofsted never talk to these pupils or their parents i heard one local school the inspector picked all the pupils with foreign names to talk to why what would be wrong about asking some of the slower learners if they really just have low self esteem its the only thing some schools seem to think is their problem yes they end up with low self esteem when thy have to struggle through school

noblegiraffe Tue 01-Nov-11 21:46:21

With Michael Gove talking about how schools shouldn't be awarded Outstanding if Teaching and Learning isn't Outstanding, will the schools affected lose their Outstanding status, or be put back on the normal inspection schedule and only maintain their Outstanding if T&L is improved?

LottieJenkins Tue 01-Nov-11 21:58:56

My ds goes to a residential boarding school in Kent, three hours from where we live. OFSTED sent me a form/questionaire this morning. They have asked that it is returned by 1pm tomorrow (they are inspecting tomorrow and Thursday)I rang them up and asked how most parents were supposed to get the forms back in time. The lady i spoke to said "we expect most parents to bring the forms into school tomorrow"!!??!!
I then asked her how 90% of parents were supposed to do this when their children are weekly boarders? She had to admit then that i had a point! I am lucky that i have a fax machine so was able to fax the papers this afternoon. I know OFSTED can't give a lot of warning but surely there must be some way round this. I have emailed them to follow up my complaint and copied in the schools head and deputy. Depending on what they say in response i am thinking of contacting the Department of Education. They are not going to get a balanced view of the school from the parents perspective if they cant get the forms back!!!
The above is a post i posted in Jan 2011 regarding my sons school.........Your comments please!!

Saltire Wed 02-Nov-11 07:46:41

Can we get her to come back and answer questions from childminders?

isitwineoclockyet Wed 02-Nov-11 09:59:44

The question I want to ask is "what's the point?" but I see someone else got there first!

This is a serious question: When my children's school was inspected, the opinions of parents (formed over many, many years in some cases) were totally disregarded because after 2 days in the school the inspectors apparently knew better than we did.

The consequence of this is that what is meant to be a tool to drive up standards is used in my children's school as an excuse for apathy & complacency. Imagine the head of this school sitting in his office with his fingers in his ears going "I run a good school. I run a good school....." because that's what it's like.

Poor behaviour isn't addressed (we have none, we're a good school), some of the teaching is beyond a joke (nope, we're a good school) there is widespread use of homophobic and offensive language (erm.. still no, we're a good school) and the attitude of the teachers towards the parents is appalling.

I know that the Ofsted report depicts a school that is unrecognisable to many of the parents. Other parents flock to it because they trust Ofsted's conclusions. We're stuck there because other local schools are full, because our children have friends they don't want to leave, because we have no way of assessing alternatives other than Ofsted reports which we have no faith in.

Seriously - what is the point?

Abgirl Wed 02-Nov-11 16:23:33

How does the school have any right of reply to comments left by parents potentially in the heat of the moment? I am a Chair of Governors as well as a parent and have concerns about any ratings website where effectively there is no right of reply, as the school will have a duty of confidentiality to anyone involved in any incidents.

HedleyLamarr Wed 02-Nov-11 17:44:05

Damn you TSC! I wanted to ask that! grin

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 02-Nov-11 19:42:37

One of the issues I have had is one of arrogance of some outstanding schools. Give them outstanding and they believe they have nothing to learn which is a terrible outcome for parents with children with SN. Ours refused to attend the county parent/school reception training because they were outstanding and didn't need it apparently.

And I would love to know if and how you measured the schools use of evidence-based practice, because in 3 outstanding schools I have yet to see a SMART IEP.

Many thanks.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 02-Nov-11 19:49:24

Oh, just read the site and see no questions relevant to SEN anyway. No wonder schools don't give a fig if you lot don't.

themightyfandango Wed 02-Nov-11 20:15:16

I agree with Starlight. The things that I am unhappy with are related to my childs SEN. I have one child doing well in the school and one not. I don't see how such broad based questions inform anyone of anything.

appropriatelytrained Wed 02-Nov-11 20:21:16

Where to start??

I would echo my despair at Ofsted's impotence in relation to special needs.

How do you inspect special needs provision? There seems to be very little understanding that it means far more than grade improvements. For example, a child with Asperger's may be very bright but struggle with day to day attendance because of stress and poor communication skills. A school which can't be bothered to support him/her properly will completely ignore these difficulties as the child is still able to produce the grades the school requires for its 'data'. Ofsted sees the 'data' on the child and the IEPs (which may or may not have ever been discussed with the parents) and says - very good. How does Ofsted possibly measure the support of difficulties which are social/communication/emotionally based without talking to parents or the child too?

Also, I agree, give a school an 'Outstanding' and it's carte blanche to do nothing but ignore parental concerns.

Your Ofsted parental questionnaires are positively weighted - there is no neutral column. You either disagree or agree. Many parents will not want to disagree so have to agree. Most surveys offer a neutral response - don't know, don't care etc.

Finally, Ofsted are not interested in receiving complaints and have no power to investigate them and yet you 'rubber stamp' 'Outstanding' awards to schools without inspecting them on 'data' and lack of complaints. That's a abject dereliction of duty.

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