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Shock OFSTED. What now?

(53 Posts)
Chocovore Mon 01-Jul-13 17:56:49

I did post a while back about something fishy over our schools OFSTED. We finally got the verdict today - Outstanding to Inadequate in one fail swoop. How the hell did that happen? What happens now? Will the Head leave? It says they may be converted into an Academy. Just can't believe this is happening. Wonder whether we should jump ship now or hang on and see what happens? I have Ds2 due to start in Sept and feel like we have all been very let down!

tiggytape Mon 01-Jul-13 22:13:00

I would see what happens next. Not just what the LA do but how the school responds to the things it has been asked to improve. Some schools do respond very quickly and are very positive - in such circumstances things can be turned around in a very short period of time.

One slight alarm bell though is the 3 A4 pages sent home to parents to highlight the 'unfairness' of the inspection. Yes Ofsted is tougher in some areas than was previously the case (a school cannot be judged outstanding overall when teaching is not outstanding for example - previously it could).
This has led to shock results, but things like inspecting when Year 6 is absent or classes are being covered by a supply is totally normal and totally fair - afterall the school has a duty to ensure standards for all children including those who have to have a supply teacher are high and that everything doesn't grind to a halt when the HT is away.

If the meeting the school promised focuses on the failing of the inspection team, the unfairness of the selection of teachers observed and seeks to minimise criticisms, that's the point I'd worry but until then, there is room to believe things can improve drastically in a relatively short amount of time where there’s the will to make this happen

Chocovore Mon 01-Jul-13 22:26:38

Sorry, that isn't under the 'unfairness' bit. Apologies if my post was confusing. They are disputing loads of issues and things that they say are factually incorrect mostly around data management systems.

Anyway, I will explore other options locally just to see where we stand. The complication is I have DS2 about to start in Sept. If a more local school has a PAN of 20 (composite classes of 30) is that an ICS issue? Or donthey still have leeway as the PAN is 20?

MustafaCake Mon 01-Jul-13 22:38:21

Gosh, how worrying for you OP.

Although you are panicking, I would wait to read the report and see what the issues are.

I am shocked at the schools' "excuses" though. Aside from the alleged behaviour of one of the inspectors, the rest of the "excuses" don't hold any weight at all.

Supply teachers, kids offsite, head away (poss on a conference), kids doing tests, all perfectly normal IMHO.

DS's school were inspected a week before the whole school moved to a new site! Everything was in boxes! According to the HT, the school still got a very fair appraisal though.

MustafaCake Mon 01-Jul-13 22:42:20

Oops posted too soon...

On a positive note, schools that fail their OFSTED do get huge amounts of time/ resource/ mentoring/ checks/ new staff in order to raise their game.

Two of our local schools went from failing to good in a very short space of time because of this.

littleducks Mon 01-Jul-13 22:47:57

"On a positive note, schools that fail their OFSTED do get huge amounts of time/ resource/ mentoring/ checks/ new staff in order to raise their game."

Not anymore, LA man said to us basically that they would support the school in any way the could but their budgets had been cut and they had no money.

tiggytape Mon 01-Jul-13 23:11:25

Chocovore - a composite class of 30 made up of 20 reception children plus 10 from Year 1 does fall under the ICS rules (any class of 30 comprising children from reception - Year 2 age does).
If you do decide to move, you will probably be on waiting lists for any such schools with your position determined by how well you meet their criteria (i.e. normally how close you live). You don't go to the bottom of the lists just because you joined them late.
It does make sense to just hang on a bit and see what will happen however I appreciate it must be worrying with another child due to join

MustafaCake Mon 01-Jul-13 23:16:48

Really Littleducks, that is terrible. Not the case at all here, perhaps our LA has more money. Bad that there is such disparity.

OP you may need to ask what measures will be taken and what support will be given/accepted to turn things around.

Barbarashop Mon 01-Jul-13 23:21:20

This happened to ds's school a few years ago, attainment and, in particular, the teaching of maths were heavily criticised. They had a notice to improve. They worked really hard,took advice, moved around some of the staff (eg. The maths co-ordinator moved to nursery, where actually she has been very effective) and generally got the kick up the arse they needed. I feel they had become complacent.
When they were re-inspected a year later, they got good with some outstanding features. It can be done.

Barbarashop Mon 01-Jul-13 23:28:54

If you look at January 2008 then march 2009 you can see how it is possible to make huge strides.
The interim assessment in 2012 states that they have maintained standards and won't be inspected until at least summer 2013.

PastSellByDate Tue 02-Jul-13 06:43:27


It's worrying - there's no denying it.

But I think as others have suggested you need to consider:

How are your DC's doing in the school?
Are they progressing as you'd like?
Are you generally happy with atmosphere of school?
Are teacher's approachable and appear to know your children?
Are your children happy there?
Are you happy with the environment (upkeep of grounds/ building but also the general atmosphere)?

Finally where do children from this primary go on to Senior School? - this really is critical - it may be struggling right now but if it feeds into the best senior school in the area it may not be worth jumping ship to a school which feeds into a sink senior school.

If the answer to most of this is positive - then I'd hold tight and see what changes come. As someone suggested above - there is a likelihood a lot of resources will be diverted to your school and that may mean being a student at the school during this time is a good thing.

You cannot control how the school is run and jumping ship may be jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Great OFSTED results are only good on the day (and as I know school's can put on quite a show for OFSTED bearing no resemblance to normal day to day there) and individual year KS2 SATs results are really only worth noting if the school is consistent - but having said that there can be 'bad' years - or years because of mass maternity leave (as has effected my DD1) - teaching hasn't been as consistent across their time in the school.

Finally I've posted a lot about the disappointment with DD1's progress in Reading/ Maths at our school in YR - Y2. It's meant I've had to really work hard to support it at home - buying workbooks, signing up to on-line maths tutorial, ensuring lots of reading books available (we have issues with books not coming home from school) - and after years of slowly working with her, it has meant that DD1 (now Y5) is doing well - so don't forget that you can also do quite a bit at home to support learning at this stage - it isn't all down to the school. For us school is day care and a social experience for DDs - and we've come to terms with that. We find it very liberating.


MrButtercat Tue 02-Jul-13 09:27:04

What Past said but be aware if said school was previously outstanding there may well be an arrogance that won't go away.This means it's very difficult when trying to work with the school as any criticism(which obviously there may well be) is just brushed aside and you will be turned into that parent.That's fine if you have a thick skin but if you don't frankly it's horrible.

If you're the type to just run a blind eye to things that you may question re your dc's education this won't be a problem.

Chocovore Tue 02-Jul-13 10:04:23

Not the type to turn a blind Eye! And I think you are right regarding the arrogance. In reading their response the report, at no point do they seem to accept that anything needs to change. This is my biggest worry.

My son is very happy there and I think he has done just OK. I have nothing to compare it with though. If I had to guess, I would say he is a bright child who went in above average and hasn't really progressed that much in school. He has not been pushed. We do a lot of work with him at home though and I think this is how he has maintained an above average score. The juniors gets the biggest criticism and this is my fear as he is about to start that in Sept.

No specific secondary school to feed into, we still have Grammars here and it is our hope he would be suitable for that. There is one alternative school nearby which is consistently good but they are pretty much full atm. Saying that, I think we must be near if not at the top of the list geography wise. Am waiting for a call back from the Head. I happen to know that someone who has a reception place there for Sept desperately wants a reception place at our current school so there might be possibility to swap (waiting list criteria dependent I suppose). She may also have changed her mind now of course!

Chocovore Tue 02-Jul-13 10:08:15

Just had an email back from county saying Ds2 is now top of the list out of 7 for waiting list for this alternative school for reception class!

admission Tue 02-Jul-13 10:50:19

Chocovore, I think your latest post sums up the position quite neatly, the school thought it was outstanding, was complacent in not pushing its pupils to achieve the very best they could and Ofsted when they came visiting saw exactly that.
My concern would be why Ofsted did not go for requires improvement, which is what a complacent school tends to get. That is there is nothing wrong fundamentally with the school that as swift kick up the backside will not resolve. To go to inadequate either suggests more fundamental issues or that the Ofsted inspectors for whatever reason have been over harsh with their assessment. Without being able to see the Ofsted report and the school's response it is impossible to tell which may be more appropriate.

Chocovore Tue 02-Jul-13 12:28:27

Thanks all for your help and experience. Yes, it does seem a very drastic plummet. Hopefully I will find out more at the meeting and can update.

Sprink Tue 02-Jul-13 13:10:59

Believe it or not, OP, I think your school is now in a GREAT position. Governments do not like Failing Schools on their books, so your child's school is likely to get a whole heap of "kick up the arse" help.

Changes will need to be made--staff and governors (especially) can become complacent, it's human--and it won't be easy. Like another poster, our primary went shooting down to a 4 in Spring 2012. It was inspected again last week and we believe it's solid 2s with Outstanding features.

It hasn't been easy, but I'm glad we didn't jump ship. I now feel our children are in a school that truly understands what is expected of it and can deliver.

Hercule Tue 02-Jul-13 14:17:41

Admission I'd hazard a guess that the reason why the school got inadequate rather than requires improvement, is that any school getting inadequate will automatically be forced to become an academy. Ultimately that is what the government want.

Our school had its Ofsted last year and should really have got requires improvement. It did indeed require improvement, but a new Head was already in situ ( as of 6 weeks before the inspection) and had already developed a rigorous plan to address the issues and some good progress had been made. We got inadequate. Now we are becoming an academy as from next year.

Some may feel there are ulterior motives at work.

wintersnight Tue 02-Jul-13 14:19:13

A similar thing happened at a school a family friend's children attend.

They went from outstanding to special measures and were then packaged off to Lord Harris as an academy. I don't know the ins and outs but it all seemed a bit dodgy

Sprink Tue 02-Jul-13 14:22:18

It's incorrect that an Inadequate (4 Ranking) automatically becomes an Academy.

I reiterate, our school received a 4 in Spring 2012 and was inspected again, last week, receiving a Good (2 Ranking). It has not been turned into an Academy.

tiggytape Tue 02-Jul-13 14:40:18

The Requires Improvement category is the old 'satisfactory' category so it doesn't always follow that a school with problems should be classed as a 3.
The Requires Improvement label means a school requires some improvement to become a good school but is fundamentally O.K.
The level 4 grade is for schools which aren't just a couple of tweaks away from being good but instead have areas of concern.

MilkRunningOutAgain Tue 02-Jul-13 19:05:52

Happened less dramatically at my kids school about 16 months ago, school went from good to requires improvement, the head left, some staff left, there was an interim ht for 2 terms and quite a few things about the school changed. Afternoon break for ks1 scrapped and replaced with daily golden time (bad) , rigid ks1 reading book lists enforced and books regraded, result, my dd has spent yr 2 rereading all the books she read in yr 1, as have several other kids in her class, achievement assemblies introduced on Friday afternoons when I'm at work and can't attend, very few clubs run and those that ran were subject to frequent cancellation as teachers worked on improving pupil tracking, my son's teacher has been out of the classroom so much improving things that his education is juggled between several support teachers each week and he has gone backwards, as his lovely teacher admitted, parents of teachers of this previously successful class are now in uproar and there are a pile of interminable parent / teacher meetings to sort things out.

Good luck, I'm moving my kids next year , not because of all this but because we are moving house, and can't wait to see the back of the school, it was great before ofsted decided a cohort largely consisting of summer born boys was under performing, from being relaxed and positive, the teachers are now nervous and obviously stressed.

The school has apparently received extra resources to help it improve, perhaps it will given time, but my dcs are there now and can't wait . But it wasn't actually broken prior to ofsted, now it is.

BabiesAreLikeBuses Tue 02-Jul-13 19:32:41

Interesting thoughts milk. Am sure yours isn't the only school ofsted has put in this position...

savoirfaire Tue 02-Jul-13 22:17:16

I'm curious about the Outstanding schools thing - I also thought that Outstanding schools were only inspected if there had been a complaint or massive drop in outcomes or whatever, but it seems I was wrong?

If any outstanding school can be inspected for quality control, and be seen to drop from outstanding to inadequate, why are Outstanding schools not monitored as a rule? Two of my four local schools are outstanding but I have concerns about one of them and technically it could not be independently assessed for years and years and years (if at all). How does this make sense?

admission Tue 02-Jul-13 22:38:32

There are two answers. One is that if Ofsted see the results of the school starting to tail off then they can come in. Also they do inspect a proportion of outstanding schools, so no schools is absolutely safe from having an inspection.
The other thing that needs to be considered is that what Ofsted are inspecting against now is very different from 2 to 3 years ago when many of the schools were considered outstanding.

Chocovore Wed 03-Jul-13 07:52:36

This school was only formed in 2009. Apparently they had a really strong cohort that year with exceptional KS2 results. Subsequent cohorts have been more typical but have been compared to that exceptional year group and therefore the trend in results is by default downwards and erefore by default standards have slipped and by default the teaching must now be inadequate. Seems ridiculous.

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