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New head's old school now "needs immediate improvement " - cause for concern?

(12 Posts)
lbsjob87 Wed 04-Jan-17 21:35:48

My DD is in Yr 3 at a local school. In July, the old head retired and a new one started in September.
She seems very nice and has made some small changes that I think work - arrangements for pick up, new after school activities etc, nothing radical.
Today, a quite slating report has appeared saying that her old school nearby has dropped from a Good OFSTED to "Needing Immediate Improvement". The inspection was in November so the new head had been there a couple of months, and said that she was working hard to improve in areas that need it.
The old head (new head at DDs school) was there for about 8 years and the previous report was good with elements of excellent, but obviously something has changed in between.

I work in education and know that Ofsted reports can vary, but I wondered if anyone would be remotely worried by this development, or just stick with your gut instinct that if your child is happy, it's the right school for her?

If so, are there any questions or issues you would raise at parents evening, for example?

admission Thu 05-Jan-17 15:02:31

You do need to go with your gut feeling to a great extent here. If the new head teacher has made some small but sensible changes, that you agree with then that sounds good.
However the head teacher's previous school does seem to have come down in capability according to the Ofsted report and that did not happen in the two months that your new head has not been in the school. So they do have a level of responsibility for where that school now is.
Should you be worried? I would go with your positive gut feelings and give the head teacher the benefit of the doubt. However if they start altering all sorts of other things then that might be the time to start wondering more about the situation.
I do think it would be in-appropriate to ask questions at any parents evening. That is so you can know how your child is doing, not ask questions about the previous school of your head teacher.

Seeline Thu 05-Jan-17 15:05:24

I think I would be checking exactly what the problems were at the old school. Could they be the result of an outside factor rather than the 'fault' of the school? Is it likely that the elements of immediate concern could be replicated in your school?

GU24Mum Tue 10-Jan-17 22:27:25

When I first read your post, I thought I knew the previous school (as in had friends with children there rather than knowing it personally). I don't think it is though - but I agree with what admission has said. If a head's previosus school went down that dramatically essentially under her tenure then I'd certainly want to read the Ofsted report fully and keep a watching brief but there are always lots of factors to how a school performs so it's not down just to one person. Agree with the others - definitely not something to bring up at parents' evening!

user1484226561 Thu 12-Jan-17 13:21:31


do people take these reports so seriously? They are utterly meaningless

Ignore it

So the woman's previous school has slipped from "good" to "satisfactory", in all probability for no reason at all, if there is a reason it is more likely to be because some silly meaningless measurement or calculation on paper has changed definition often the ofsted tick sheet, rather than anything relating to teaching or children.

I'd be far more wary of anyone achieving "outstanding" because you've got to ask yourself exactly where the sacrifices in education were made to prioritise the ofsted paperwork....

celtiethree Sat 14-Jan-17 07:39:25

In my experience of primary school the education of my DC varied year to year depending on the quality of the teacher. Some years were brilliant and some awful. I'd concentrate on the now and your child's individual experience rather than tracking the heads previous schools.

Poocatcherchampion Sat 14-Jan-17 07:42:23

You would really move your child out of school because of another school's Ofsted report?

Yes by all means fret about it but what are you really going to do?!???

mrsC4 Sat 14-Jan-17 07:43:42

Huge time lapses between some ofsted reports. She'd have to be a shockingly shit head teacher to fuck up a school in a couple of months. Chances are it had already gone downhill when she got there confused

bojorojo Sat 14-Jan-17 17:28:46

I think you have misunderstood mrsC4. It is the former school of the new Head. I would be slightly concerned - rat leaving sinking ship etc.

Ofsted inspectors are forensic these days. By that I mean they go through evidence to establish if the children are making good progress and if not, why not. Usually it is poor teaching, poor assessment and lesson planning and not knowing what progress children have made. Often all of this. It is down to the Head to get all of this right. The old school may have been complacent and the governors may not have asked for robust evidence of progress or good teaching or even realised what the problems were. Again it was down to the the Head and the Governors to know these things, have a high quality development plan and improve! All of that can be laid at your Head's door if Ofsted have found such faults. Very little in a RI inspection outcome is not of the school's making.

I would not remove my children. I would however watch the situation like a hawk! A few minor changes is neither here nor there if the ship sinks. High quality teaching and excellent progress are not achieved by tinkering.

Crumbs1 Sat 14-Jan-17 17:36:44

The drop,reflects a change in the inspection framework rather than real concerns about the school. The floor targets have changed and schools are being judged on different indicators now.

user1484226561 Sat 14-Jan-17 17:51:29

I would however watch the situation like a hawk! why? what would you be watching? what do you expect to see?

mrz Sat 14-Jan-17 19:23:21

*"*^*The old head (new head at DDs school) was there for about 8 years and the previous report was good with elements of excellent,*^ _^*but obviously something has changed in between*^_^*"*^ yes they got a new head ... inspection reports are broken down into areas so look to see what the issues are.

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