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Henleaze Infant ofstead requires improvement(23 Posts)
We recently moved to Bristol, and Henleaze Infant was one of our top choices, as it was one of the 'outstanding' schools nearby. My son was just admitted today, only for me to learn their ofstead rating dropped from outstanding to needs improvement in January! I'm freaking out. Any parents with children there have any insight?
Hopefully a local parent will be along to give you a better insight into the situation but I didn't want your post to remain unanswered.
I can understand it must be worrying for you. Have you read the report and discovered the reasons for the change in rating? It may be due to complacency but hopefully this means that the school will be doing everything they can to rectify the concerns Ofsted have highlighted.
My son moved from an outstanding school to a good school in sixth form and it has benefited him massively. The outstanding school was rubbish at dealing with bullying and the overall culture was very unhealthy for my son. The good school has better teaching in his A level subjects and a much more inclusive ethos. Sometimes Ofsted doesn't give a complete picture of everything going on. Obviously if there are safeguarding issues and poor teaching standards then this will not ease your worries.
If you really do not want to send your DS to his allocated school then check to see if any of your other preferred schools are under subscribed or ask to be placed on their waiting lists if full.
Read the report, which will outline why the rating has dropped. Presumably you looked around before signing your child up? They have somewhat changed the ofsted parameters and are having more regard to SEN etc rather than just academic results, which is a good thing. Having said that,
Requires improvement used to be called "satisfactory". It's not something to freak out about, for Pete's sake.
The outstanding Ofsted was very old - 11 years out of date.
What did you think when you looked around? If you liked it, the school will now be getting a load of support to improve things so it should get better quite quickly.
If you want to consider other options, you need to accept the place and go on the waiting list for the other schools in that area. A lot will be very popular so you may have to wait a while for a place to come up.
It’s important not to panic when a school gets a poor Ofsted report. By the same token, don’t get over-excited by an outstanding one either. Check the details, and talk with the school and other parents.
There are some serious flaws in Ofsted’s inspection process. Teaching unions have continually requested Ofsted carry out double-blind inspections (or at least double -blind samples) to see if their inspection process is valid. That is, carry out a second inspection on a different week, with none of the inspectors knowing how the others scored the school. Ofsted continue to resist this simplest of verification tests.
Hence you end up with some very arbitrary results, based largely on one person’s opinion.
Some factors are outside a school's control. Eg. Attendance is down to parents sending children to school, but low attendance stats will limit the final grade awarded.
Ofsted are constantly moving the goalposts, and have ever-changing fads and fashions about what is essential in a good/outstanding establishment. In the early years, it took the blink of an eye to move the emphasis from child-led learning and free play to adult-led instruction and 'school-readiness'. And while school-readiness sounds great, it involved such things as downgrading perfectly good childcare settings for allowing 2yo's to use sippy cups or giving children more than twenty minutes to enjoy a meal. In one case, a local nursery was downgraded from good to inadequate when one of its procedures concerning school runs was deemed to be a "serious safeguarding risk"; yet the previous had remarked that the exact same procedure was "best practice".
The flip side of this I shall that some schools can deliver a better inspection than others, without being better schools. So much of it is about presentation, and sweeping problems under the carpet. The previous head at our local school knew how to hide problems and coach staff to present a good image, resulting in outstanding Ofsted reports. The current one is addressing the resultant mess of unresolved issues do, because this means bringing those problems to light, had a bad inspection.
Certainly in the early years, there are whole books and training courses on how to present yourself best to gain outstanding grades. It’s largely a matter of style over content.
I wouldn't put too much emphasis on it unless there is something serious in the report.
I have been a childminder in the past and honestly a lot of it depends on inspectors you get, what happens on the day etc.
I would do further research and try and speak to parents who have children there etc. Our school is a good and it's fab, it isn't outstanding because it has rubbish pupil attendance and punctuality levels. They hand out fines left right and centre, five out prizes for attendance, point system etc etc and it's still rubbish.
Other local school in a 'posher' area is outstanding yet 2 of my friends, who are both teachers, have removed their kids because they don't feel it's a good school (one was a governor!)
Also, a lot of schools in our area have suddenly been failing ofsted visits in recent years and then are all of a sudden turned into an academy
Don’t focus on the rating. Read the report. What is it actually saying?
Even if Ofsted reports were 100% reliable, and they most certainly are not, they only tell you about the past: about past performance, and what a couple of inspectors saw over a couple of days.
Any school you choose can have a change of staff, a change of leadership, a change of students, and consequently become less or more desirable in some way.
Thanks, everyone. I'm from a different county, so this is all new to me, and to learn the school had dropped so suddenly after we'd applied was a shock. My son didn't get into our first choice school, so this was the second choice. I did like the school during our visit, and I've heard good things from other parents. The report has uncovered some problems with leadership and support for teachers, which is a bit worrying. I've put him on the waiting list for our first choice, so we'll see what happens.
Ofsted and parents/ children often want different things from a school.
I work in education. I've read this report and I'd have no concerns about my child going there. I would translate the report as: lovely school, got a bit complacent, this is a wake up call, it will almost certainly get good or better in the next inspection in about 2 years.
Unfortunately Bristol has a plethora of poor schools. Add yourselves to waiting lists for others. What would your secondary school be?
My first choice was Bishop Road. We're in the catchment for Redland Green for secondary school.
You may still get a place at Bishop Road it's a large school so there is some movement
Requires improvement means they will be focusing on really getting it right now. I wouldn't worry too much about it - see how he goes.
Outstanding schools (particularly on an assessment over 10 years ago) can get complacent and lazy.
I wouldn't care what on ofsted report says.
Do you like the school, do other parents like the school.
Ofsted reports are not worth the paper they are written on.
My DD went to Henleaze Infants. Thought I'd chime in even though this message is a few months old as I know other mums will be searching for info about the school for years to come!
Please don't worry about the Ofsted report. It... as with many Ofsted reports... was way too harsh. Since the last report years ago funding has been cut to school so badly yet they still offer an outstanding education. To offer specialist teaching (SEN) you need specialist teachers, yet Ofsted wanted to get rid of them at the school to bring the budget into line! Talk about double standards.
The main problem, we parents think, is that the school treated the children as children. They didn't buy into the constant testing other schools do, which is why we loved it there. Learning through play was put above doing reams of maths and English just to satisfy Ofsted. Don't get me wrong, they still did English/Maths and all the core subjects. There was some talk about boys being a bit left behind in their reading, but that wasn't the main reason for the poor report. And anyway, the standard expected is too high. Many boys just learn at a different rate. They all catch up eventually.
The headmistress at HIS cared more for her children and staff than toeing the Ofsted line, refusing to put massive pressure on the kids with harder work and more testing. They also wanted to make more cuts, horrible, drastic cuts that would have meant losing some amazingly experienced, good staff. Seemingly (don't know if true, but the buzz on the street) the head refused to get rid of those staff and so was made a scapegoat. That poor headmistress was there for 8 years and made the school a lovely place for kids to start out their schooling life... which is why it was so popular.
So please, don't always believe Ofsted reports. They expect ridiculous standards where there is no money and punish heads when they don't make the changes they demand.
So if anyone else is thinking of HIS, now is the best time to get in! It's a lovely nurturing school with a great school community.
@MJE590068 I'm intrigued, are you still there?
Thank you! Yes, my son started in September and I took him off the waiting list. So far, I'm very happy with the school, as is he
That's meant to say: Since the last report years ago, funding to the school has been cut badly yet they still expect them to offer an outstanding education. Can't edit the post! Although on re-reading it not sure badly even fits anymore! Lol. Anyway, am sure YGWIM.
@MJE590068 That's great. Both my kids loved it there