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Does a school going into Special Measures actually mean anything for a child at the school?

(18 Posts)
VagueButlmportant Sat 09-Apr-16 13:58:15

DD is in Y9. She's doing well and I'm happy with the school. Excellent pastoral care, a nice atmosphere, not overly pushy.

They had OFSTED in back in February. The report is still not published. The previous report was Requires Improvement. Am I right in thinking this probably means they will now be in SM?

Is this likely to have any consequences for the kids currently at the school?

MissTurnstiles Sat 09-Apr-16 17:15:59

The delay implies that the school may be disputing elements of the report, which indicates that it probably wasn't positive.

If it's going into SM then a longstanding HT may well resign. Other measures will depend on the type of school - an LA school may be forced to become an academy, or an existing academy may have support parachuted in from elsewhere in a federation. A reasonably new senior team may be given time to improve but otherwise you should be prepared for the senior leadership of the school to change, quickly.

Incidentally, you like the school and you're happy with the pastoral care and atmosphere - but is the teaching actually any good?

raininginspringtime Sat 09-Apr-16 17:23:25

It's likely to be chaotic IME.

Expect mistakes like controlled assessments not being submitted, teachers coming and going, incorrect examination syllabus being taught, supply after supply after supply, lots of different colours in books, lots of random schemes.

It's your call - SM tend to be 'chaos' though.

SingToMeInFrench Sat 09-Apr-16 17:33:49

I work at a school that went into SM two years ago.
IME it has been great- weeded out the crap teachers, which did mean a high tune over but now we have excellent teachers. We now have an excellent CPD programme, I feel that I am the best teacher I have ever been (qualified 8 years ago now).

I feel that the pupils are doing much better and they are gaining so much from all of the changes.

SingToMeInFrench Sat 09-Apr-16 17:35:49

We went into SM because our data was inaccurate and results being below the government figures- nothing to do with coursework not bring submitted etc.

raininginspringtime Sat 09-Apr-16 17:37:28

I can't comment as I don't work there but j do have fairly extensive experience with SM and the one shared factor tends to be 'chaos.'

admission Sat 09-Apr-16 18:44:55

It rather depends on what the reasons are and what the report says. The one thing you can guarantee is that the school will become an academy. How that happens and the timeline for it to happen will to an extent depend on what is wrong at the school. Every school going into special measures will be slightly different in how things happen.
The likely first changes are in who is running the school and that could be the head teacher leaving and /or the governing body disbanding and being replaced by an Interim Executive Board (IEB). It is now more common for an IEB to be formed that will be 4 or 5 people who will come in and attempt to make things happen. The first question is invariably is the head teacher up to the job of turning the school around. The IEB have the power to remove the head teacher if necessary but what they will certainly be doing is starting to review what is necessary to improve. It is also true to say that Ofsted will not have discovered all the ills of the school, so things will get better before they get worse.
The perceived wisdom is that the IEB ensure that the processes in the school are in order first, including finance and also ensure that whole school behaviour is up to scratch. So the first thing that the kids may notice is changes to behaviour policies in the school. Only when the IEB feel that they have a handle on the school will they start to consider teaching and learning improvements in the school.
There will be a visit from Ofsted every term as a monitoring visit and at the first one they will expect to see a detailed plan of how to improve the school. At some stage in the process (now sooner rather than later) the school will be taken over by a Multi-academy trust at which point the IEB will finish and the MAT become responsible for getting the school out of special measures.

VagueButlmportant Sun 10-Apr-16 00:32:39

It doesn't sound good. I really feel for the staff. The head isn't that new. I think he's been there around 5 years. He's done loads since he's been there, most notably securing £20 million for a new build which is currently under way I know he had to fight to get this without becoming an academy. Currently the school is split over 3 separate sites with 3 separate admin / catering / support teams so they really do struggle for money.

In the last report, every area scored RI other than management which got Good. I don't know if that will help. I have a lot of time for the new head, although I have heard he was very unpopular with staff when he first arrived.

In answer to the question about teaching - I would say it's a mixed bag. DD has never had a decent science teacher. And she hasn't kept one for more than two terms. She starts with a new one on Monday. She had a terrible maths teacher in Y7 (in that he couldn't control the class) but she still made two full levels of progress (L5-L7) in one year so it can't have been that bad!

I have no intention of moving her. There aren't really any better options locally. She's bright but does the bare minimum, and I am sure a more ambitious school would come down on her and get more work out of her, but she would hate it and be miserable. I would rather she came out with slightly lower grades but good mental health. I might not be saying that if she was at the C/D boundary (or the new equivalent) but I'm pretty confident she'll do well enough to get onto any A levels she wants to do. Sixth form will be a different matter!

bojorojo Sun 10-Apr-16 23:21:22

RI is not Inadequate. It is grade 3 not grade 4. That is one grade below good so could be worse!

Your DD may well get good enough results for the A levels, but is the teaching at the school good enough to teach them? Or is she looking elsewhere?

I think, if the management is good, the SLT may well stay. It is not a brilliant reflection on them if everything else is RI though. I think that is odd. When new heads start, and a new broom sweeps everything that is poor away, lots of people will squeal, feel the heat and move on. However, your school seems to suffer from being unable to secure and keep good teachers so is in a constant state of flux. It would appear that is having an effect on progress. Ofsted will not like that. The school may be ok but the gap between a lower GCSE attainment and A level will not be so easy to bridge, especially if teaching remains iffy.

I don't think a school with an RI judgement needs to descent to chaos. I think the head is rebuilding and that has been noted by Ofsted. If he can secure good teachers who stay, can demonstrate children progress well and the school accurately assess this progress (be careful of over egging the maths assessment - often a feature of an RI school - not assessing accurately) ensures the work of children is monitored and behaviour management improves , then the school will be ok.

Few local authorities can now build schools so your school is unusual, I think, in that the buildings are LA funded. Even if it becomes an academy, the head and the staff can stay. This is perfectly normal in many situations. Why get rid of a good head?

The bigger issue is why they did not know they had a problem and deal with it sooner.

ouryve Sun 10-Apr-16 23:25:14

If anything, it's a reflection that certain things about the school might already have been shit - so the only thing it can mean for a child already at the school is that certain things may get better - unless the things that were shit are SMT and organisation related.

ouryve Sun 10-Apr-16 23:32:23

And no, it's not a given that a school in SM is one in chaos.

MissTurnstiles Sun 10-Apr-16 23:52:09

bojorojo OP says that the last inspection was RI. The result of the February inspection hasn't been published yet, and I think we can infer that if it were 'good' there would be little delay in publicising this.

There are therefore three likely outcomes:

- the school is still RI. Leadership and governance remains in place but will be closely monitored.
- the school is inadequate and has 'serious weaknesses', meaning that the inspectors have confidence in the leadership and governance of the school to improve. Improvement will need to be seriously quick but major personnel changes are unlikely.
- the school is inadequate and requires special measures, meaning that the inspectors have no confidence in the leadership and governance of the school. Personnel changes are almost certain and the school will very likely be taken over by a multi-academy trust.

bojorojo Mon 11-Apr-16 00:06:46

Many, many apologies. I read it that this inspection was RI. A delay is not always doom and gloom.

ReallyTired Mon 11-Apr-16 00:13:29

Special measures is usually absolute carnage. It's is likely that at least half the teachers will be sacked and many others will go in sick leave. The pressure on the children to achieve will be immense.

The positive side is that a school in special measures is given support to improve.

Sistersweet Mon 11-Apr-16 09:13:10

My kids were in a primary which was rated inadequate but not in SM. I agree that chaos is the eat description. We moved our children and 2 years later I believe there are improvements but that they're slow and parents still aren't happy.

Catmuffin Mon 11-Apr-16 09:43:53

Should Ofsted judge a school for not being able to secure some subject teachers though? I thought that was a problem affecting a lot of schools because of shortages of teachers in some subjects. Seems unfair to blame the school for it

ReallyTired Mon 11-Apr-16 10:38:41

Analogy I would use is that having a school in special measures is like a cancer victim having chemotherapy. In many ways it is so awful that you really wonder if the school has been destroyed. However inspectors know that just like chemotherapy that special measures is a necessary evil.

To many children were leaving my daughter's primary unable to read. Too much time was being spent on fun activites like the school play and not enough basic teaching was happening. Year 9s who spent most of their primary education at a failing school are being denied major life opportunities because they are functionally illiterate. The damage of a poor education is difficult to correct.

bojorojo Mon 11-Apr-16 15:33:20

I think that outstanding Headteachers, and well run schools, who support their staff effectivly are able to attract and keep good staff. They are also in a strong position to support and mentor their less good staff because they have expertise in that area. They will recognise when a teacher needs support and have very strong expectations of children and staff.

If a Head is failing to secure teachers and keep them, then it is a significant problem for the children and the quality of learning will suffer. Therefore it must be flagged up as a major concern and parents should be concerned too. It is down to the Head to make changes so the school is an attractive place to work. We all know there are teacher shortages, but schools will be expected to have at least some good staff in the shortge areas, even if they cannot manage everyone being appropriately qualified.

I know a school where, a few years ago, 50% of lessons were taught by supply teachers. This is a disaster for the children because they cannot build an effective working relationship with the teachers, the assessment of progress is often not consistent and there will be problems of continuity in the classroom and application of the behaviour policy, for example. My DN had 5 MFL teachers in one year. She knows she learnt very little.

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