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DC's school just got 'requires improvement'

(48 Posts)
cheapandcheerful Wed 02-Dec-15 22:17:44


We have dd1 in Reception and dd2 in nursery at the same school. It had 'good' at the last inspection and just had 'requires improvement'.

I have lots of faith in the school; it's a lovely caring place, good ethos, very child-centric etc. but I can't shake the niggle that unless the quality of teaching is up to scratch, we're selling our dc short.

Please encourage me!

namechangedtoday15 Wed 02-Dec-15 22:22:20

It depends what aspects of the school require improvement and what the management's response is to it. I would expect them to be communicating an action plan or trying to explain the outcome of the inspection. It is only a snapshot. Its also worth reading through the OFSTED guidelines which have recently changed and the school itself may not have changed, just the way it is assessed.

cheapandcheerful Wed 02-Dec-15 22:32:05

It's a difficult time for the school leaders at the moment. The head left in July and the deputy is 'acting head' until they find a replacement.

I read the report though and it's not great...

'Teaching is inconsistent across the school and is not good enough to secure good outcomes for pupils.'

'Leaders do not check pupils’ progress through the school in a coordinated way.'

Mrstumbletap Wed 02-Dec-15 22:48:12

My school just got requiring improvement and is better now than it was years ago when it achieved outstanding. If you feel the school is good and your kids are happy I think that is enough. The loop holes schools have to jump through now are ridiculous. OFSTED won't be happy until every school, requires improvement, then what?

We had the same 'teaching is inconsistent across the school'. Thats because teachers are human beings some are amazing, some are good, some are average. Just like doctors, police officers etc. if you sack all the average and good teachers in the country what schools would be left?

admission Wed 02-Dec-15 22:49:41

Whilst some blame might attach to the deputy head, the real blame lies with the previous head teacher as they should have been more on top of the inconsistent teaching and pupils progress.
The reality is that if the school gets a good head teacher in or the current "acting head" is given the responsibility, then in 12 months time the school could be much improved. It probably will not move from RI to good in that time as the inspectors will want to be sure of sustained progress but by then your children will be feeling the benefit.
I suspect the Ofsted report also says under leadership and management that a permanent head teacher needs to be appointed. That will also be a requirement before the school comes out of RI.

BrandNewAndImproved Wed 02-Dec-15 22:51:54

My dc started a failing school where the head had been sacked. (didn't know at the time).

It's now an amazing school. Think it's been rated good with outstanding features the last few inspections. My dd especially has thrived and the teachers are really committed to making it a brilliant school.
I'm glad I didn't panick when I found out about the head being sacked ect and knee Jerk pull out.

catkind Wed 02-Dec-15 23:08:45

Actually, I would be kind of pleased if our school got RI. There would be more impetus for change and improvement. It's a nice school, but really needs to sort out its game on certain fronts.
It could be a good thing, as long as the pressure for academic improvement doesn't detract from what they're currently good at.

SevenSeconds Wed 02-Dec-15 23:15:49

If your DC are happy and making good progress, I'd ignore the Ofsted report.

Millymollymama Thu 03-Dec-15 01:26:48

The whole point of Ofsed saying the teaching is not good enough in all classes will be because the pupils are NOT making good enough progress. The quality of teaching is now assessed "over time" and it not a snap shot! People use these words but they do not reflect current practice of Ofsted. The report is also saying that the school's leadership has not established a systematic way of assessing and checking children's' progress. This is vital. If you do not have a school-wide tracking system for progress, how do you actually know what progress is being made year on year and what children need extra help or those who are very quick and need extension work? How would you know what progress any pupil premium children are making?

The leadership are clearly at fault and I would not be happy if the deputy became the Head. Clearly this teacher has not worked with a good Head and may not understand assessment and how to track progress. It may also be that the school development plan was ineffective and did not tackle the problems of under-preface by staff and pupils.

Very few schools sack teachers! Teachers who need to improve can be helped via performance management and coaching. It needs someone with expertise, though, to establish what they need to do better and therefore rigorous classroom observation is necessary by experienced school leaders. A plan can then be agreed to help the teacher improve and very many do. They may not have received help to improve and probably have not had high quality performance management so are floundering.

Being a caring school is very easy. Parents like it. However, few parents are equipped to understand about assessment, progress and suss out under-performing staff. Have a look at the school's data dashboard on Ofsted's web site. This will tell you where the school stands in comparison to others. If the school means to improve, they will try very hard to implement their plan quickly and effectively as it is RI, not Inadequate. I would look for a new head with a track record to drive this though.

starry0ne Thu 03-Dec-15 02:28:22

My DS was RI.. money support and training was pumped into the teachers and it was re assessed Good.

SevenSeconds Thu 03-Dec-15 04:29:33

Some schools are better than others at 'presenting' the data, which doesn't make them better schools. For example my DC's school refuses to suppress the year 2 results as many schools do, making it harder to demonstrate excellent progress between year 2 and year 6.

Autumnsky Thu 03-Dec-15 11:48:49

OP, I think if you think the school is lovely, then you don't need to worry too much. However, you'd better to keep an eye on what your DC have learnt, maybe do a bit extra at home from Y3 on wards.

My DS1 was in such a school, the school was lovely, when DS1 entered reception, it still was good. His friends were lovely, and the whole atomasphere was lovely in his school. However, as the good headteacher was headhunted to another big bad school, the new school head was not very capable. The good traditions in the school were carried on, so DS1 still enjoyed the school very much. Like the orchestra,school play, school trip etc.

But the teaching was not so good, as some senior and experienced teacher left, the senior leadership team was not so good at provide support to the new teachers. The school's KS2 result dipped for a few years. We did some extra at home for him to prepare secondary entry exam, so DS1 didn't suffer accedemically himself. But the whole school's result was not very good, so the school was rated require improvment. Now, 4 years on, the school was back to good, but it's KS2 result is still not as good as before.

Tomatoesareyum Thu 03-Dec-15 17:12:15

If you are happy with it overall and your children are as young as they are then I wouldn't worry too much. However, it's wrong for people to say that you should ignore ofsted. My children's first school got an inadequate on their last inspection. It is totally inadequate, the ofsted was absolutely spot on yet some parents still insisted the teaching was fine. It wasn't and when you are still fighting fire with a highly able year 8 who has never heard of half the literacy they are expected to know as second nature you realise just how right ofsted can be

clam Thu 03-Dec-15 20:11:43

Good luck with finding a new Head Teacher. They're walking out in droves round our way and there are few applicants for vacancies.

Autumnsky Fri 04-Dec-15 12:38:28

I agree Ofsted do provide some useful information. Their comments on the teaching ability normally are true.

I think when a primary school was placed under the require improvement, and you feel the school is still lovely, then you need to do extra work at home to make up. As I think the stuff in primary school is simple. But if it is a secondary school, I would try my best to move to another school, as there are too many things to learn, the extra help at home won't be enough.

BoboChic Fri 04-Dec-15 12:41:38

Based on my own experience, I think that "kind and caring" schools can sometimes hide "tolerant of poor performance" under the guise of being indulgent towards less than exemplary standards.

It's not kind or caring to be too lenient.

Millymollymama Fri 04-Dec-15 13:04:40

Believe me, assessment, marking, tracking progress and ensuring very good progress are NOT simple in a primary school. Neither is is simple to get high quality teaching. No, it is not easy to fill in the gaps at home if you do not know how to.

Parents, by and large, are very poorly equipped to understand what really goes on in schools and, if you never experience a top quality one, how would you know what is good and what is less good? It is also totally wrong to say Ofted only look at results. They look at progress over time and the quality of teaching over time. Schools cannot present "progress" in any other way than the required way. Schools must analyse the progress each child makes and must be fully aware of those making exceptional progress, those inbeteen, and those who are making less than the desired progress. Ofsted will want to know what is being done to ensure all the children make good or outstanding progress. Just accepting the situation is a viable position to take. Clearly some children will have needs that mean they do not get the best sats results, but they can make progress from their starting points.

Also, maintained schools have local authority advisers who are all over them ensuring that progress is recorded efficiently and effectively and is fit for purpose. This is not just for Ofsted, it is to inform planning at the school. What should be in the development plan? How will the school ensure each child makes progress? Should there be more emphasis on how maths is taught, or should emphasis be on creative writing? Only if you carefully assess what you are doing, and the outcomes, will you know the answers to this. If you do not assess progress effectively, you cannot plan effectively.

Mrstumbletap Mon 07-Dec-15 21:23:04

With regard to secondary OFSTED have themselves said that it is easier for grammar schools to get a good or outstanding, which shows if you are a normal mixed comprehensive school you will be judged by the same floor standards but with less academic pupils in the school. So how is this fair? Progress 8 isn't a measure used in year 11 yet so isn't published so schools still use national average.

Grammar school gets 90% a-c, a comprehensive gets 40% a-c and given the OFSTED grade based on that, it's all about data now, not about the actual students you have and what you offer them. OFSTED may as well give grades on schools from their data without visiting, because they aren't interested in anything other than number crunching. Unfortunately not all students 'fit' the data.

Imperialleather2 Tue 08-Dec-15 11:22:39

My nephew's school got put into special measures 2 years,ago. My sister stayed put following the line of that loads of money and resources will be pumped in. 2 years on is still awful and my nephew now in year 6 has been left to rot for 2 years.

I suggested my sister to jump ship straight away but she spoke to other parents who said they were staying put and then guess what they moved their children.
His school got marked down on teaching and he's dyslexic.

Personally quality of teaching is very different for getting marked down for not filling in paper work.

Personally I would move asap

Autumnsky Tue 08-Dec-15 11:23:24

When I say the stuff in primary school is simple, I mean the stuff that children need to learn is simple, I don't mean managing a school is simple. Of course, the parents need to be able to help, some parents may not be able to do it due to their time or other factors.

The trouble is that you can't change your catchment school so easily if you don't move house. So what can you do when suddenly your lovely catchment school become requiring improvement? For us, DS's lovely group of friends didn't change, their school's interesting acitivities didn't change, DS's school was quite good for music and play etc. Overall, DS had a good experience of primary school life.

But their accademic side did suffer, as the school's KS2 result became very low for a few years.However, for us, DS1 still got L6 for math, and missed L6 for English. He passed his selective secondary school entry test with nearly full mark and was offered scholarship. That's why I think you can fill the gap by yourself at home if you have the time and ability.

Autumnsky Tue 08-Dec-15 11:28:32

Yes, turn around a school takes a long time, my DS1's school had bad KS2 result since 2 years before my DS1 reached Y6, and it only rise back last year, so that's 5 years time.

catslife Tue 08-Dec-15 13:10:14

It had 'good' at the last inspection and just had 'requires improvement'.
Requires improvement used to be known as Satisfactory!
OFSTED requirements are changing all the time so it's now harder than it used to be to obtain a Good rating.

Millymollymama Tue 08-Dec-15 13:59:12

Goodness me! It does not take 5 years if you can get good teachers, assess children accurately and ensure the vast majority make good or better progress. Nor is it all about sats results. Please do read the Ofsted inspection handbook! Children can get KS2 level 3 (old money) but still have made very good progress. You need to know what he starting points of the children are before you can make any judgements! Also, each cohort is different. Some may have a large number who will make excellent progress and a level 5/6 Sats and in other year groups this level of progress may be a real struggle to achieve. What schools must do, is assess the children accurately and ensure they make progress. They must have a reliable and embedded asessment system that tells the school how each child is doing and then teach accordingly. Nothing less will do.

Very many parents cannot tutor to the level required for Maths (the new curriculum is more challenging) and really schools should do this, not parents. Why should children with less bright parents be disadvantaged? Great for you Autum, but pretty poor outcomes for everyone else!

Millymollymama Tue 08-Dec-15 14:08:21

Mrstumbletap. I am sorry but what you say is absolute rubbish! No Ofsted report is written without Inspectors visiting. Yes, they have the data on the Dashboard but a school with 40% A-C may still be getting excellent progress from many children. It may not, of course. It depends on the starting points. Similarly a grammar school may be coasting if lots of children get B grades and not A grades. As above, it is progress, progress, progress. In fact, many grammar schools argue they find it more difficult to show very good progress because all the children arrive with pretty high levels of attainment. A comprehensive school has fewer in this category and plenty of room to improve children. No Ofsted grade is based on pure attainment! Absolutely not!

Autumnsky Tue 08-Dec-15 14:26:06

For DS1's primary school, it did take a long time. As good headteacher is not easy to be find. Their own good headteacher was headhunted to another failing school, then DS1's school started to gradually slip down. The deputy head became the head, but he was not able, then school find another head teacher and after another 2 years, this new head teacher still couldn't make things better. Then this time, they found a good one, eveything started to go back to normal slowly.

It is not a good situation to be in, and it is not fair to the children who hasn't got good parents help. But sometimes, you don't have that choice. For us, we started DS2 in a different school, and kept DS1 in the old school, as he had all his friends there and enjoyed the school.

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