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Allocated 1st choice-but it's 'inadequate'.

(38 Posts)
MESSING2 Wed 16-Apr-14 22:17:50

Heard today that we've got our first choice school, but rather than being delighted we have mixed feelings about it- because their latest OFSTED (from last month) is a grade 4, inadequate including, rather worryingly, inadequate teaching and learning. Obviously, if we'd known this when applying we wouldn't have put it it on the list, or at least not in first place. but I don't know what to do now- when we looked around the school it seemed fine, better than many others in the area. I am completely shocked about the report and don't know whether to go on a waiting list for another school
or just stick with it and hope they get their act together by the time DS starts in Sept. sorry for rambling on, any
thoughts welcome.

SapphireMoon Wed 16-Apr-14 22:21:08

The only way is up....
Seriously, probably a good time to start the school as all hands to deck.
Try not to panic, especially as you liked the school when you visited.

Frikadellen Wed 16-Apr-14 22:22:54

Messing I assume that you went to the school, looked around and from that decided that you liked the school well enough to have it as 1st choice?

if that is the case then the offstead report as inadequate will not actually change what you liked about the school. It will however ensure that the school will basically " pull their socks up" and get things tightened up and sorted out. So whilst it may appear not the best thing with the report it could also well be that in 6 years time when your child is looking to leave the school is the sought after one in the area.

Basically if you liked the school when you visited, you likely will still like it with your child going there.

I am not saying dont be concerned about the report I am just saying do not make it the one and only reason why you pick the school.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 16-Apr-14 22:23:39


My ds1 had this with secondary school, he went and it was the best decision he ever made.
There is only one way it can go and that is up. They will have to get their act together and will be closely monitored. to me this can be better than an outstanding school sitting back on the reputation.
make sure you have a good relationship with the school and help to improve it. Also find the weaknesses and if need be work with your child to over come these.
I wish you look, but don't worry, all may not be lost.
It seemed good to you, this means you liked the atmosphere which appeared better than other schools to you. This is your starting point, now look where they are failing.

Edenviolet Wed 16-Apr-14 22:25:24

It is easier said than done but try not to worry...

Like a pp said-the only way is up. Try to focus on positives, is the school very near to your home? If so enjoy being able to walk there and back, be enthusiastic when talking about the school to your ds and if there are parent reps needed/fundraising events get involved as sometimes with so called 'inadequate' schools enthusiastic pupils and willing parents can make a huge difference.
I'm sure with failing schools ofsted and the LA will have a lot of input which will quickly improve things.

Best of luck x

MillyMollyMama Thu 17-Apr-14 00:11:02

It just shows that a parent looking round a school is never going to suss out the quality of teaching and learning. Children look happy and appear well taught in most schools, so how a parental visit is really going to tease out the issues is beyond me yet everyone swears by it! However looking at other published data might have given you an inkling.

In your circumstances, you could see if the LA has a list of schools with vacancies. Ours does. Also, it can take a long time for teaching and learning to improve and this is unlikely to be a quick fix. Has the school been good or outstanding at its previous inspections or has it always been variable in quality. Often the history of a school tells you a lot about whether this is a blip or not. If you liked the school though, you liked it with its problems. Nothing has changed really.

MESSING2 Thu 17-Apr-14 04:57:09

Thanks for all messages so far, really helpful.
Have been up all night worrying about it, pointless as that is sad

Last 2 inspections were good, and their results (Sats) have been around average, a couple slightly lower but nothing major.

it just doesn't make sense to me. will call LA tomorrow and see what other availability there is, although our area is so so full of over-subscribed schools I can't imagine there's much left.
My instinct says to just stick with the school as things can only get better..but it seems wrong sending your child off to a place rated as 'inadequate'.

mummytime Thu 17-Apr-14 06:31:13

You may want to find out why specifically they were rated as "inadequate" - it may really be something you can live with. Do also see what is going on, how the school is turning itself around. I would also listen to local gossip to learn a little more.

this happened to us.
I applied to out local catchment school which was 'good'
by the time DD came to start, it was in special measures.

she's now in year 2 and the school is allegedly satisfactory and rapidly improving.

I joined the governors pretty much straight away. more so I could actually know what was happening and to support the school.

its been quite tough tbh. I still have huge reservations about the school. Some of the 'dream team' drafted in to improve the school are, erm, not my cup of teagrin
And they changed the bloody uniform at the first half termshock angry

SapphireMoon Thu 17-Apr-14 07:07:48

It could be that school been a bit complacent or resting on an easy intake of children? Ofsted will give a clue.
This will be a huge kick up the bum for the school.
If your instinct is to stay maybe just ask lots of questions and support the school on its way up again. [Is it an academy? Will it be forced to become one?]
Jumping ship not always a good idea though.

htm123 Thu 17-Apr-14 19:01:31

I would say that this is good in a way. Usually an inadequate Ofsted report is followed by a lot of LA pressure on the school, and larger budgets are directed to improving teaching and learning, which means many changes in staff, extra staff training, changes in the school's management, etc. Ofsted will be visiting probably every 6 months or at least checking if progress is made by asking the school to provide self-assessments periodically. You will see, that is not the end of the world. The children can only benefit from the situation.

carrieindex Thu 17-Apr-14 19:24:22

Messing, for different reasons I am also unhappy with having been given our first choice! I felt sick all day yesterday and like I had ruined DD's life (not that I am melodramatic). After some sleep today I feel calmer. I am trying to get used to the idea of her going to the school but also have requested to go on the waiting list for another school as soon as they open and will see what happens. If we don't get in before Sept we will stay on the list and move if necessary. Unless by that point we are happy with it. It is tough and uncertain, but you never know what good may come out of it. You may still love the school when/if she goes there and can find out more about it, and as others have said a shake up can be a really good thing for a school. or you might get a place elsewhere when the waiting lists start moving (you can go on as many waiting lists as you like). Try not to panic (although I know he hard that is!).

Cric Thu 17-Apr-14 20:04:46

An ofsted isn't a true reflection of a school. A couple of people will make a judgement on a school based on 2 days. As others have said the school will now be given stacks of support to improve. As a foundation stage teacher it is so important that children enjoy school and learning. In your post you said that the children in the school are happy and it had a lovely feel. If you can teach children to love learning the rest will fall into place. Happiness when you are 4 is the most precious thing in the world! Go with your gut because that is far more important than what a person in a suit tells you. Go back to the school, speak with the head and if you get that same feeling about the school you had on your first visit then go for it. You never know if you change school they could always go from grade 1 to 4 when your child has been at the school for a few years!! I have worked in a school that went from 1 to 3 and then back to 1 and the school had the same passionate staff and community for each inspection! Sorry to ramble .... I just think sometimes ofsted sometimes has a negative effect on education!!

tobysmum77 Sat 19-Apr-14 14:38:50

slightly different dd's school was 'good' at the start of the year when she started reception now special measures. It is definitely much easier to get sm than it used to be!

My advice is talk to the people who you know who have children already in the school to get honest feedback and advice. Then decide what to do - I think in this situation being a prospective parent is worse than being an existing one.

Only you can decide whether to send dc there though, no one would blame you for not. It's important that you feel comfortable but remember it can happen to any school really.

tobysmum77 Sat 19-Apr-14 14:41:06

also have you properly read the report? You may find for example the issues are actually ks2 meaning there is a lot more time for it to be sorted.

X3512 Sat 19-Apr-14 15:56:50

What does the report say about leadership?

ReallyTired Sat 19-Apr-14 23:01:19

Was the inspection done recently. The biggest up heaval will be the first term after failing the inspection. When a school is rated inadequate the head teacher is usually forced to resign. The LEA will put in an executive head. Often a good package will be put together to attract a superhead to turn round the school. Teachers will be observed every two weeks by the LEA.

My daughter attends an OFSTED inadequate school. Its not ideal, but she is in a better position than her brother who left last year. I feel guilty that my son attended a poor quality primary school for seven years than the fact that dd is in reception at a poor primary. Like you we have very little choice. The only schools with vacancies are schools with awful OFSTEDs.

It is easier to support a child educationally in reception than year 6. For example I got dd to do the jolly phonics activity books at home with me over the last two terms. I have also done a bit of maths at home with her.

MESSING2 Sun 20-Apr-14 01:43:52

Thanks again for all the replies, appreciate it. still very stressed about it all. the inspection was apparently done in Nov/Dec last year but results only published last month- possibly the school hid them until after admissions <suspicious>. They had a new head in at the time, and the report does say a few complimentary things about her so I guess she'll be staying and working on turning the school around. The leadership and management were rated 3 not 4 so not special measures.It does seem the major issues are with higher lever classes- lack of stimulation for more able students for example.
I guess one option would be to try it in reception (presuming reception is going to be fine, they can't really screw that up can they) and look to move for year 1 if needed- would waiting lists for year 1 start afresh or be carried on from previous year?

MESSING2 Sun 20-Apr-14 01:46:50

Tobys I think you're spot on about it being poworse for prospective rather sthan existing parent. it's a totally unknown entity for me. (don't know anyone that goes there, as generally don't know many people in new area).

tobysmum77 Sun 20-Apr-14 06:45:37

dd's school's report took ages to come out - initially the inspection was the start of september and it was published at the end of feb.

Does dc go to nursery or anything? I'd be more than happy to talk to anyone whose child was starting at the school whether I knew them or not.

What does it say about provision in reception? Immediately for you that is the most important thing.

Martorana Sun 20-Apr-14 06:54:37

What are the specific areas of concern?

Oh, and suspicious though it looks the school couldn't have held up publication- OFSTED publishes the reports. Did the school challenge it, do you know? That might have held it up a bit. But they wouldn't have got away with not publishing it for 4 months- something's wrong there.

tobysmum77 Sun 20-Apr-14 07:15:08

they do take much longer for 4s Montana. The sla is 28 days as they have to be moderated by hmi. There were also changes to the framework over Christmas which held them up. The 2 weeks over Christmas also aren't counted.

Nennypops Sun 20-Apr-14 08:09:39

It quite often happens that headteachers coming up to retirement or a change of jobs coast a bit, and I suspect that is what has happened here. The new head will have every incentive to turn it around and will probably be taking serious measures with the staff in the higher level classes. Additionally, there are some odd Ofsted reports coming out since the criteria changes, and I read somewhere that some inspectors don't really understand how to apply the new rules and are assessing over-harshly.

So all in all, I would say stop worrying and judge for yourself once dd is there.

sashh Sun 20-Apr-14 10:15:23

I am not normally a conspiracy theorist but I think you will find that any school that is not an academy will be getting a 3 or 4 from Ofsted this year.

I was doing cover recently in a school Ofsted visited. The school has above average results, pupils make good progress etc. Ofsted report was bad.

An example of 'inadequate' teaching (inspectors gave feedback to individual teachers on the day) a GCSE class reading a Victorian author. A child asks a question and mixes the name of the author with a prominent person of the same time, (something like George Stephenson instead of George Orwell who I know is not Victorian but I don't want to identify school).

The rest of the class ridicule him for getting the wrong name, Teacher corrects the name, answers the question, and continues with lesson.

According to Ofsted the lesson should have stopped to make sure each and every child in the room knew the name of the author.

HolidayCriminal Sun 20-Apr-14 10:37:32

There are quite a few stories about schools going from good to inadequate to good again within the space of a yr. I don't think I believe in Ofsted reports any more.

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