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(16 Posts)
Onedaughteronecat Thu 10-Mar-16 10:30:08

How much influence do OFSTED reports really have on a school? Our local school has recently been graded "inadequate" and it has come as a shock to everyone in the local community. The Head of the school has written a lengthy article defending the school after the inspection and refutes much of what was said in the OFSTED report.

I myself used to be a school governor and have seen OFSTED at their finest. I have never had much faith in them, myself, as all they seem to do is try and tick boxes, but wondered what other parents' thoughts were?

Citygirl1234 Thu 10-Mar-16 11:13:53

We have a local independent school who failed an ISI report in 2014.As they are no longer a member of the ISC they had an unannounced Ofsted inspection in November 2015.They have about 50 students which speaks for itself really.Former parents who are now at our school say long periods of the day were sent on free time especially in the upper part of the school,year 5 and 6 are taught together.Children are not safe they wander out on their own many evenings.They had a terrible case of physical bullying,the child is no longer at the school.They print false exam results on their website ,the list is endless.The former parents now can't believe they ever sent their children there.Recently they have cut their fees and are offering scholarships in an attempt to lure new parents in.The ISI and Ofsted reports were only the tip of the iceberg.Parents didn't even receive a copy of the ISI report,I don't know about the Ofsted one as the parents I know had left by then. Ofsted and the ISC are there to help us protect our children, would we send our children or ourselves for that matter to a hospital with this type of report?The former parents feel that if the school continues it only a matter of time before some terrible happens and then everyone will be wise after the event

JudgeJudySheindlin Thu 10-Mar-16 12:18:08

I'm an ex governor & experienced a few inspections. It's a jumping through hoops exercise for schools & easy to pull the wool over inspectors eyes. I have a friend who is a governor at a special school & they had one section which ofsted graded as inadequate. I can't recall what the issue was but I it was absolutely impossible to grade it higher. Even the lead inspector apologised because every other section was deemed outstanding but this one inadequate pushed the overall grading down.

Ofsted has become more & more of a government puppet & the rules constantly change which confuses both schools & inspectors. As for private schools & ISI inspections; these are not worth the paper they're written on. The inspectors are independent school teachers ex/teachers who are reviewing each other's schools. It's unusual to find a negative report & I'm interested to hear about the school mentioned by the previous poster's?

Cuttheraisins Thu 10-Mar-16 12:32:23

Many people who work closely to schools including governors and teachers feel pressure to tick all the boxes but the fact is, parents will want their children to go to a Good or Outstanding school. Where I live east London, we have 6 primary schools within a couple of miles, and if one of those schools gets an outstanding the following year that school receives loads more applications and it completely changes the pattern of applications. So parents take it very seriously when applying for a school. But fact is that top teachers and management from Outstanding schools get poached by other schools and offered lots more money, so in 15 years as a governor I have not seen a single primary school in my local area receive an outstanding rating twice in a row. But quite a few have received Good rating consistently. Moral of the story for me? Aim for good.

Citygirl1234 Thu 10-Mar-16 13:03:45

I must say that most ISi reports are very lenient,which just shows how bad the school is.Children very rarely start at reception and stay through to year 6.They teach two year group together and the headmaster who owns the school is the year 5 and 6 teacher.The parents who have joined our school said a little boy was regularly beaten my three older boys and was rebuffed when he sought help from staff.Eventually he was told by the headmaster not to tell anyone else about what was happening to him.All the children knew what was happening and the child left before Christmas.Most of the staff seem to have very little qualifications.The former parent was told her child was achieving well by the headmaster and it turned out she was two years behind where she should be.Very little time was spent doing work,this can't of helped behaviour.They say on their website that 66% of year 6 get a place in local grammar schools.This year 2 did and last year it was also 2 In both cases all the work was done by parents outside school.The school has absolutiely no facilities and sells itself as a small family school.It registered for about 200 and has about 50 students with numbers falling all the time .Yet some parents seem to be blind to the schools failings which it bizarre and they are paying for the school.

ChemicalReaction Thu 10-Mar-16 13:04:55

I too would like to know which school citygirk refers to.

I WANT ofsted to come in to our child's school. They are well overdue and would like them to have some accountability for how they are currently failing the students. However I agree it is too easy to pull the wool over their eyes and we will end up with a usual bland good judgement agin. I would move my children but there are no plavpces available.

ChemicalReaction Thu 10-Mar-16 13:06:30

Horrible typos! blush

Citygirl1234 Thu 10-Mar-16 13:36:40

The Ofsted report was the one that said bullying is not prevented at the school ,no records of sanctions were kept and the proprietor must ensure pupils behave well.The boy was still at the school when Ofsted inspected in November.He was a brilliant student and very talented in music and drama according to the former parents and children we know.His parents worked very hard with him and he was only at the school for 18 months or so.I think he was told not to say anything by the headmaster because one of the boys who beat him had two siblings at the school and they wouldn't upset his parents under any circumstance.I doubt any state school could behave this badly.

TooMuchOfEverything Thu 10-Mar-16 13:42:46

As a parent I don't care what Ofsted say.... However in some ways it is easy for me to say that as my DC schools have always been at least Good in Ofsted's opinion. But they are bloody marvellous in mine! Not sure how I would feel about an Inadequate rating.

teacherwith2kids Thu 10-Mar-16 20:48:51

I would say that, although the fine gradings between Good and Outstanding, or even Requires Improvement and Good, are not necessarily reliable / reproducible, there IS a difference between a school at the top of the gradings and one that is graded Inadequate.

By which I mean, while the same school inspected on one day by one team might get Outstanding, and on another day with another team get a Good, there IS a genuine difference between a Good school and one that is rated Inadequate, and that would be picked up regardless of the team and the day.

Was the school previously Good? Has it been some time since the last inspection? IME, what has usually happened in such a case is that although the 'headline' results of the school may be perfectly good, one or more subgroups within the school has not been making good enough progress , or getting good enough results, over more than a single year. This happens particularly if the school has been rather complacent about results, perhaps because they have a generally 'good' intake, and have not focused on e.g. the performance of the relatively small number of low ability or pupil premium children.

It can also happen if there has been a 'notable failure' in a single area, particularly those which are limiting judgements such as safeguarding (there are some areas which, if graded Inadequate, bring the overall level down to Inadequate).

Occasionally it happens if there has been significant staff turnover leading to a lack of overall direction and / or gaps in important processes and procedures.

The schools that get out of this situation quickest and most successfully are those that are open, honest and reflective about what led to the Inadequate judgement, quick to involve and communicate with parents and other stakeholders in terms of creating an action plan, and decisive in terms of e.g. appointing new leadership, training specific staff, bringing in expertise in particular areas of weakness. A blanket letter of refutation / denying the issue isn't a great start, tbh - I have seen successful turnarounds which start with a 'we do not recognise the school in this description but we are nevertheless going to do x, y and z to address the issues identified', but tbh the ones that start off with 'the inspectors were wrong because' do tend to take longer to resolve....

I have seen a (primary) school go from Inadequate to Otstanding in a year, and many from Inadequate to Good within 2 years. Secondary schools, partly because of their size, tend to take longer to turn around. In the past, Local Authorities have tended to pour resources into such schools, brokered partnerships with successful schools etc to aid a turnaround - if the school is an Academy, reliant on its own funding to e.g. bring in experts and advisors, I am not quite sure what happens.

soapboxqueen Thu 10-Mar-16 21:04:43

I really don't have anytime for Ofsted. I've worked in schools that are allegedly outstanding that I'd walk over got coals so that my child wouldn't go there. I've worked in requires improvement schools that were amazing.

There are somethings that are non-negotiables like safeguarding, procedures and policies etc But other things that they don't take into account or aren't interested in that can really affect the outcome.

MsMermaid Thu 10-Mar-16 21:13:54

My school make a big deal of being outstanding, but I genuinely can't see any difference in quality between my school and dd1's school which is good.

Dd2's school went down from outstanding to requires improvement a few months ago. The teachers are the same, the children's learning is the same, the only difference is the head and her ability with the paperwork. I don't care, dd2 loves her school not her teacher though and is thriving. She's only got one year left there anyway.

teacherwith2kids Thu 10-Mar-16 21:23:52

Soapbox, MsMermaid - absolutely, often little difference between outstanding and good, and even between outstanding and RI-last-time-striving-for-Good. But I am trying really hard to think of any school that I know of that dropped rapidly into Inadequate from Good / Outstanding (and I can think of quite a lot that made that drop) where there was no good reason for the Inadequate rating.

Of course, the reason a school becomes Inadequate might not be of relevance to a particular child / parent - the subgroup of children not making progress, e.g. disadvantaged pupils, might not be the subgroup that child is in - but there has always, IME, been a good reason for the drop, and it has usually been indicative of a wider school issue (usually, but not always, complacency).

teacherwith2kids Thu 10-Mar-16 21:32:46

(OTOH, some schools that have ALWAYS been RI / Inadequate may only be in that position because of factors the school can do nothing about - usually extreme deprivation / disengagement of the community from education. But a school that DROPS into Inadequate from Good or higher is different)

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 10-Mar-16 22:01:41

What teacher has said.

I wouldn't really bother about the difference between a good and outstanding school, or even good and RI in some cases. It's different in the case of inadequate. There is the rare occasion when a single aspect can cause a school to be in inadequate when everything else is good or outstanding, but those are usually easily rectified and heads put their hands up an admit to it.

Has the school admitted any culpability at all? Writing a lengthy defense of the school is not usually a good sign.

soapboxqueen Thu 10-Mar-16 22:07:01

2kids Ha! You took the words right out of my mouth. I agree a dramatic decline is worrying. However, as you say, some schools are hammered for things that are outside of their control. I've worked in one.

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