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Bad OFSTED report

(12 Posts)
Collaborate Fri 18-Mar-16 09:26:03

My son's school has recently been downgraded in its OFSTED report from "good" to "requires improvement".

I had expected that parents would be sent a link to the report via email and text (this is the usual practice, as with previous OFSTED reports), but on this occasion the report has been buried. No email, letter or text to parents. In the "letters home" section of the website, the school has even removed the letter sent the day prior to inspection, which told parents how to give feedback to the inspectors. It's as if they want parents to forget that they were ever going to be inspected.

To find reference to this on the website, a parent has to go to the OFSTED section (of a difficult to navigate website), and will see there a link to the report, together with a letter from the Head and Chair of Governors basically saying that it's not all that bad, and look, the Archdiocese recently reported we were good.

The main thrust of the criticism is a lack of leadership and a slide in standards.

I've emailed OFSTED to try and find out what steps they expect the school to bring the report to the attention of parents, but no response.

I suspect we're going to have to arrange a meeting with the Headmaster so we can go through the criticism in the report, and see if we are satisfied with the steps the school are taking.

Does anyone know of any rules that the school needs to adhere to re notifying parents about the report? We're seriously considering pulling our son out of the school.

PurpleAlerts Fri 18-Mar-16 09:39:37

There is usually a two to four week wait between when the inspection happened to the publication of the report, Sometimes this is delayed further if the school disagrees with the outcome and there is a further appeal process.

If the report has been published you would be able to view it on the OFSTED website.

PatriciaHolm Fri 18-Mar-16 09:46:01

Once the report is final and published, the school are required to take "all reasonable practical steps" to make sure all parents get a copy within 5 days of publication.

I would expect a school who had an unexpectedly poor ofsted to be doing all they can to reassure parents that steps will be taken to improve, not pretending it didn't exist, especially if the issues are with leadership (as opposed to some of the other minutiae of reporting etc that ofsted look at).

Collaborate Fri 18-Mar-16 09:48:29

Well, it's been on the OFSTED website for 6 working days now, so presumably the school haven't taken all practicable steps to make sure parents get a copy.

Thanks. I'll take it up with the school first and hopefully won't have to bring OFSTED in.

admission Fri 18-Mar-16 17:31:50

Sounds to me like a school burying its head in the sand - so what the Diocese like the school!
I would ask the school why they are not putting the Ofsted report on their website and see what response you get. I would also suggest you fill in ParentView on the ofsted site and try and leave a connection to the letters the school has sent out saying it is not that bad.
The school will have a visit from an HMI as a follow up, roughly about a term after the inspection report. This is to confirm the school is taking appropriate action - the letters as you report them will not go down well with the HMI. If they feel that the school is not making appropriate strides forward then on the day that they come in they can convert the section 8 monitoring visit into a section 5 inspection for the following day and that will be to consider whether the school should be put into a category.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Fri 18-Mar-16 17:47:31

The School Improvement Plan should be addressing all the issues in the report and the HMI will be assessing progress against that.

You're right in expecting the links to be on the website. It does sound rather like delaying tactics. My guess would be that there's some deliberation about how best to put a spin on this - difficult if leadership and management has been criticised, together with standards. Could it be that there is some behind the scenes activity and the head is on the way out?

Do you think that it was a surprise to the school. It's even more tricky if schools haven't been aware of the areas in which they need to improve.

However, what is your, and importantly, your son's opinion of the school?

Collaborate Fri 18-Mar-16 18:42:37

We've had our concerns. We don't think our son is being stretched enough, and sure enough the report said that both high achievers and those with SENs and low achievers were being let down.

The criticism is of senior management, by which I assume the head, deputy and perhaps some heads of department. Yes - the thought had crossed my mind that the head may fall on his sword.

GCSE results have declined since the last assessment.

There is a link to the report on the website. It's just that it's buried in a part with low traffic, and it's unheard of for something like this to go on the website and the school not email parents to alert them.

I've had a reply from OFSTED now, who say within 5 working days of the school receiving the report they should ensure where possible every parent receives a copy. After this it will be published on the website.

I haven't heard of a SIP. Would I be entitled to a copy?

bojorojo Sat 19-Mar-16 15:08:06

The School Improvement Plan or School Development Plan is a detailed working document which contains everything the school intends to do to improve the school, how it will do it, what it will cost, who is leading each section of the plan and what success will be measured against. Normally this document is discussed in detail by the Governing Body and, if it is an appendix to a Governing Body meeting agenda, then parents may have a copy. A good school will let parents have a "headline" copy with financial details omitted and other detail usually involving named staff. It would give you enough confidence that the issues are being addressed. A good school would seek to assure parents it is taking the report seriously. What the Diocese thinks is besides the point really.

Just because GCSE results are not as good as they were does not necessarily lead to RI. If the children are making excellent progress to get the results they do, then Ofsted would not necessarily criticise. It may be children are entering the school with lower attainment at KS2 for example. However, if progress is not good enough and the SLT and Governors are over-estimating the quality of the school, they will be criticised. Therefore reading the report and looking at the data about the school contained in the league tables on the Government's web site will give you a big steer as to what the problems are.

Leadership is senior staff and Governors. If a school does not know what its weaknesses are and is not already addressing them, they deserve to be criticised. This is a failure of leadership. I would expect to hear from the school shortly about their intention to address the criticisms, but working up a good quality school improvement plan will take longer especially if the SLT and Governors are poor!

PrettyBrightFireflies Sat 19-Mar-16 15:13:36

The criticism is of senior management, by which I assume the head, deputy and perhaps some heads of department.

Was it management, or leadership? If the latter, it includes governance. In recent years, as the role and responsibility of the GBoards have increased, some faith schools have been left behind as the diocese just don't have enough people to nominate as governors with the skills expected.

Hopefully, the LA School Improvement team is working to strengthen the weaknesses - but the report should have been made available to all parents.

bojorojo Sat 19-Mar-16 18:22:23

The term used by Ofsted is "Effectiveness of Leadership and Management". In most reports this will be SLT and Governors. Teaching is a separate heading. The Leadership and Management section may cover areas that are carried out by Heads of Department and teachers but usually it is commenting on how well the responsibilities of the very senior people at the school are discharging their duties and responsibilities. It may talk about systems that are used by teachers, eg assessment, recording progress and lesson planning. This is because it is seen as a leadership responsibility to ensure effective assessment, methods of recording progress and planning are in place.

I totally agree that when faith schools have so many foundation governors, the pool of possible governors is very small! The rest of us find it difficult to recruit the right people but the Church schools have a very small pool of people because it is the faith of the governors, not their skills, which is a prerequisite. It is all too cosy!

MissTurnstiles Sat 19-Mar-16 21:12:32

I have never heard of a parent requesting, or being issued with, a copy of the SIP.

admission Sat 19-Mar-16 22:27:18

Collaborate, if you want to PM me with the name of the school and the LA, I will look at the Ofsted report and see if it gives any further hints in it about where the real issues are. Ofsted reports do tend to be written a certain way.
If I was the school I would not give out the school improvement plan as it is usually such a detailed document. However to not be giving parents some idea of the issues and what the school is going to do about it, certainly suggests that the school are not giving this the serious consideration that they need to.

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