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School "requires improvement". What can I do to ensure my dc are fully supported?

(19 Posts)
Gisla Thu 07-Jan-16 13:34:26

Latest ofsted report shows my year 1 child's such has slipped from good to requires improvement. It seems the main concerns include lack of effective management and (worryingly) teachers not expecting enough from pupils and pushing them effectively.

Tbh I had suspected my dc isn't being pushed enough as he is reading books two levels above what he is given at school. When I raise this, they assess his reading and put him up a level but he is steaming ahead at home compared to what is a expected at school.

He has never brought a spelling list home yet either but I'm not sure how normal that is?

My main question is how can I ensure he is fully supported to reach his potential at home? We read every day and I read to him each night. He likes maths and we do mathletics each week as well as talking about times tables and adding/subtracting, telling the time etc.

I don't feel moving his school would be the right option currently, as he gets so much out of it socially, but I don't want him falling behind needlessly either.

Gisla Thu 07-Jan-16 13:35:37

Sorry for the typos, autocorrect and toddler are conspiring against me.

TheWoodenSpoonOfMischief Thu 07-Jan-16 13:42:08

I think that sounds fine.
The only extra thing Id do is handwriting practice as there's more importance on it now.

Gisla Thu 07-Jan-16 14:22:13

Thank you, I didn't think of hand writing, although it's obvious now you've said it! grin

bojorojo Thu 07-Jan-16 18:52:15

A crumb of comfort will be that the school should be urgently addressing the areas of weakness. The bad news is that if the SLT and Governors are ineffective, then progress towards improvement could be slow. I think it is shameful for a school not to know how good a child is at reading and not give appropriate books. I would, as soon as it is available, ask to see the Development Plan that will be drawn up to improve the school. They may send round a "headline" version anyway but this will give you a steer on what they have prioritised.

Gisla Thu 07-Jan-16 21:13:25

I hope that's the case bojorojo, but thanks for the advice re: development plan, I'll keep that in mind.

Gisla Fri 08-Jan-16 19:33:53

In an unexpected turn of events, ds has been moved up two book bands today after I suggested his reading needed assessing again. He is thrilled (as am I).

DanFmDorking Sat 09-Jan-16 19:49:56

I expect you are feeling annoyed/upset/angry about getting 'requires improvement' but the following is true:-
1) The worst is over, the school is now getting better,
2) The County Education Dept. know the problems and will be pouring extra money/time/resources into the school to take it out of special measures
3) the Staff and Governors know the problems and are sorting them out now.

The school will be getting regular inspections (roughly 2 or 3 per year) from Ofsted to check progress

Remember:- Because of the extra money, time and effort, when the school gets out of ‘requires improvement’ it will arguably be the best school for miles around.

Blue14 Sun 10-Jan-16 07:05:05

"requires improvement" means the school is not ticking all the ofsted boxes.

Ticking the ofsted boxes requires monumental inputs of time and resources, and is a colossal waste of time.

A school that achieves "outstanding" is wasting unbelievable quantities of time and money on pleasing ofsted, TO THE DETRIMENT OF EDUCATION

I would remove my child from any school classed as outstanding, and prefer to place them in a school classed as requires improvement.

I taught in a school that was graded outstanding by ofsted recently, many of the staff walked out in disgust, some without even giving notice, so disillusioned were they with teaching.

It beggars belief that there are any parents left in the country ignorant enough to take these gradings seriously.

Gisla Mon 11-Jan-16 17:57:34

It beggars belief that there are any parents left in the country ignorant enough to take these gradings seriously.

Well that's rude. Sorry for not knowing as much as you, presumably a teacher, about the education system.

Dan I hope that is the case that it will benefit greatly from this. I'm not necessarily angry, just concerned and like all parents, want my child to have the best chances to succeed in whatever he wants to do.

bojorojo Mon 11-Jan-16 20:09:33

I hate to be the bringer of bad news but, the LA will not pour in shed loads of cash! Sadly, that is utterly outdated. This school is RI not Inadequate and even then enhancements to the budget would be unlikely.

However, the LA Improvement Partner (as our Learning Trust calls them) will work with the SLT to draw up the Development Plan based on all the areas that need improvement. The plan may not cost huge amounts to implement but will usually seek to ensure all the teachers and SLT acquire the necessary skills to improve the school. Training will therefore usually be offered and, if there are problems around the quality of lessons, the need to ensure assessment is rigorous and that progress is improved, a great deal of attention will be given to how this will be done and when improvements are expected to be embedded. . This is why the development plan is the key document. A RI school will not get loads of visits from Ofsted. However, do expect the Improvement Partner and other monitoring officers from the LA or Learning Trust to be keeping a very close eye on the school. Where I live these officers would have been in before RI! We have regular "inspections' and are graded Red, Amber or Green. Red is a school with problems and Amber is causing concern. Why the school did not know it could be RI would concern me and the fact it appears to have not done enough to prevent it.

The big problem is whether the SLT can manage the teachers through the changes that invariably will need to happen. Teachers can be disillusioned and not feel SLT is up to it! Teachers leaving can be a problem but a strong team will see the school through this. When you see the development plan (and do not be fobbed off) you will be much clearer about what the school intends to do about the problems. Very few RI schools pull themselves up to Outstanding overnight - but Good is certainly attainable with the right people doing the steering!

Wellthen Mon 11-Jan-16 20:13:23

"not pushing children enough' is Ofsted speak for 'we didn't know what else to say'. Criticising work of high ability children is an easy way out because you can always argue that a clever child can do more.

People who are not teachers open children's books and say 'why isn't there more, why these mistakes, why is this messy' and its just impossible to answer without sounding like youre making excuses. All a school can do is hang its head and say 'yes, sorry, must do better'

It is colossal bullshit. These people have no idea what children are actually capable of. They describe work as 'too easy' because the children completed it.... obviously children being reduced to tears by work they can never complete as it is too hard would be much better.

Think nothing more of it - as PPS have said, of the school is genuinely crap then it'll be monitored, if its fine then you have nothing to worry about.

Oh and, children can make progress in reading regardless of their reading book. There is more to teaching reading than handing out books.

bojorojo Mon 11-Jan-16 20:54:03

Hmm. Wellthen. I really do not agree with your rather jaundiced view. Clearly you have had bad experiences of Ofsted but it has been well documented that Ofsted Inspectors are no longer lay people. Lots of the teams have been cleared out and I believe it is now highly unlikely that people without substantial experience of teaching, Advising and Headship are inspecting schools.

The inspections are not based on looking at a few books either. Children being challenged at school do not cry. In my experience they relish the challenge! The inspectors never drill down into who is reading what anyway. This is totally wrong. They are not looking at who completed what work in great detail (they will note lots of messy books and poor marking!) but they will look at lesson plans and look at how the school monitors progress and crucially, does the school know what its strengths and weaknesses are. Why would any parent not want to know that bright children are not being challenged or that marking is not helpful or timely for example? Saying the bright children can do more challenging work has to be backed up by their progress profiles and other evidence. Of the progress evidence I have seen, the brightest children make the most progress! It is not just a throw away line! It is up to the school to demonstrate that all the children are making good progress and have the evidence to back this up. RI judgements based on one messy book just do not happen!!!

I strongly suggest anyone interested in Ofsted inspections looks up the latest Ofsted Handbook to see how an inspection must be conducted and, if advice is offered on MN, it should at least be up to date and reasonably accurate.

G1veMeStrength Mon 11-Jan-16 21:01:42

I couldn't care less what ofsted think of my children's school except as far as it affects morale.

Honestly OP, if your child is happy, and fit and well, and you talk to them, show them that reading is fun, show interest in maths, go to museums etc the rest of the learning stuff just happens. I know it sounds easy to say, but the ofsted stuff is generally wanky bollocks.

Wellthen Tue 12-Jan-16 06:46:45

if advice is offered on MN, it should at least be up to date and reasonably accurate.

So can I take it that like me you are currently working in an RI school? My post is based on what I experience every day, its as up to date as its possible to be! Yes, it is true that these daily experiences are based on te actions of our management, the LA and HMI, not actual Ofsted ms'ectors themselves. (our team was one of the ones 'culled') However none of this would be happening if it weren't for Ofsted. As a school we are improving based on our last report. A report based, imho, on bullshit.

I don't think I said anywhere that they based it on 'a few books' and the comment about reading books is completely unrelated and is aimed at the ops issues with her school.

Nor did I disagree that high ability children can and should make excellent progress - did you actually read my post? I said that 'high ability children aren't pushed' is a lazy statement and in my experience inspectors cannot justify it. You can say that Inspectors back statements with evidence all you like but at our school and imspector actually said 'it was too easy because the could do it' (with adult support I might add)

Our Ofsted inspectors arrived, within minutes decided we were RI (an inspector SAID this to me so please dont tell me it doesn't happen) and set about spending 2 days finding evidence for this. They were not interested in our reams of evidence that we are a good school.

It remains to be seen whether they Ofsted overhaul and cull will male any difference but if they are now the upstanding, knowledgeable and evidence based inspectors that you say then old statements by now-sacked inspectors should have been overturned. My life and those of my 50+ colleagues has been made a misery for two years due to the sham that is Ofsted.

bojorojo Tue 12-Jan-16 17:33:30

Actually they probably decided you were RI, based on all the data they had, before they turned up. Clearly your evidence did not persuade them otherwise. Why did you think an Ofsted Inspector had never been a teacher? If the progress of the children was not good enough and your evidence did not show you were truly on the road to improvement, and you have said your school has now improved, who is to say the judgement was actually wrong? A inspection of 2 years plus ago is not the same as one now and it is not using the updated Inspection Handbook. If subsequent visits by HMI have continued to say the school needed to improve, then why are they wrong too? Are you saying they do not know what they are doing either?

Of course Ofsted inspectors can judge if bright children are pushed. They have the data on their attainment. They will know, in good schools, what that progress should look like. How can you be so surprised about an Ofsted outcome? It is a serious weakness of SLT not to know how the school is performing when benchmarked against other schools. No, I am not a teacher - but a life in education with up to date Ofsted experience. Ofsted does not make anyone's life a misery. You are free to teach in another school. You are not obliged to stay in a school you do not like. Usually it has been my experience that the vast majority of teachers understand why the improvements are necessary and are then professional enough to make the necessary changes. Good teachers I know also relish the challenge.

Wellthen Tue 12-Jan-16 21:17:05

Actually they probably decided you were RI, based on all the data they had, before they turned up.

So why do inspections? Don't even get me started on looking at non-adjusted data with enormous confidence intervals.

Why did you think an Ofsted Inspector had never been a teacher?
I dont understand which part of my post you're referring to. I never said this.

A inspection of 2 years plus ago is not the same as one now and it is not using the updated Inspection Handbook.
Exactly, this was my whole point about your previous post. My school is being impacted by previous (I emphasise again NOW SACKED, therefore OFFICIALLY bad at their jobs) inspectors. So how Ofsted operate now, which you went to great lengths to explain, is irrelevant.

If subsequent visits by HMI have continued to say the school needed to improve, then why are they wrong too? Are you saying they do not know what they are doing either?
Again I dont understand where you've got this from. Also, why is the assumption that I'm wrong, not them.

Of course Ofsted inspectors can judge if bright children are pushed. They have the data on their attainment.
So x progress means pushed, y progress means not pushed. You seriously think it is this simple?

How can you be so surprised about an Ofsted outcome?
Surprised? Where did I say I was surprised? Devastated. Not surprised. No, surprised was how I felt when an Ofsted inspector said a TA should be marking my books not observing and supporting children.

It is a serious weakness of SLT not to know how the school is performing when benchmarked against other schools.
Where is this in my post?

No, I am not a teacher - but a life in education with up to date Ofsted experience.
I'm sorry but unless your a TA or something similar then you have no idea. Ofsted pressure is almost entirely on teachers - you simply cannot comment if you don't do the job.

Ofsted does not make anyone's life a misery.
??????????????

Good teachers I know also relish the challenge.
Ah and here we get to the point of your post - thank you for your feedback, I shall add it to the parents, management and government telling me that working myself into the ground is just not good enough.

G1veMeStrength Tue 12-Jan-16 21:52:25

Ofsted does not make anyone's life a misery.... I've heard it all now hmm

Bitlost Tue 12-Jan-16 22:35:46

You seem to be doing all the right things with your DC: listening to him read, reading to him and doing mathletics. DC will be fine, whatever his school's rating.

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