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Failing schools/Requiring Improvement

(33 Posts)
thatdearoctopus Fri 10-Mar-17 18:18:44

Would welcome views from fellow teachers on the subject of schools which have either failed an Ofsted inspection, or been deemed as Requiring Improvement.

We have anecdotal evidence of a worrying number of local schools who were perceived to be doing well, and then have ended up in the above categories due, according to them, technicalities. These technicalities usually involve Safeguarding issues. So, for instance, if anyone on the staff does not have 2 references to their name on file, then that's an instant down-grading.

Are these urban myths? Or is there some truth to it all? And if so, do you believe there's any political agenda underlying it? My colleagues and I are all feeling even more angsty and unsettled now.

Dreamanddream Fri 10-Mar-17 19:19:25

Are you a journalist?

Definitely political.

Fail the school, turn it into an academy, get rid of teachers' pay and conditions (academy) and then 'capability' expensive teachers (usually older) out of their job.

Then you have cheap staff, (usually younger) inexperienced who will do your bidding without the pay and conditions that protect them under a non academy school.


MrsGuyOfGisbo Fri 10-Mar-17 19:33:47

If they are 'technicalities' then it is sloppy - should be easy to get it right - have a system in place to get two refs etc.

thatdearoctopus Fri 10-Mar-17 19:51:26

No of course I'm not a journalist! (Although I can see that my post could read like that).
Advance Search me if you like. Been here ten years, with a fairly recent name-change.

Dreamanddream Fri 10-Mar-17 19:56:35


thatdearoctopus Fri 10-Mar-17 20:32:24

Well, schools are learning pretty damn quickly that they need to sharpen up their admin, and we currently have numerous long-standing staff members who are scrabbling around trying to contact previous employers from decades back.

Maidupmum Fri 10-Mar-17 21:36:45

I was the leader of a school that was considered good and then got inadequate out of the blue. It was completely unreasonable and there's a HUGE backstory but suffice to say that OFSTED never admit that they're wrong and school leaders lose their jobs over fuck ups like this. There was definitely a political agenda, it was (and still is) devastating sad

ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged Fri 10-Mar-17 22:20:42

Several schools here have recently got 4s for safeguarding as the sites themselves are not deemed secure. It definitely seems to be an agenda.

BackforGood Fri 10-Mar-17 22:35:21

Definitely political agendas at work.
Definitely don't come in with an open mind about finding out if the school is good or not.

thatdearoctopus Sat 11-Mar-17 10:20:04

Well, as there is a dearth of prospective Head Teachers (let's face it, who would want the job?), it appears on the face of it a bit short-sighted to force an otherwise capable Head into gardening leave. So, presumably the plan is to appoint super-heads to rule several schools at once, with (cheaper) deputies filling the gaps?

I'm so glad I'm nearer the end of my career than the start. I don't want any part of all this.

2017willbeawesome Sat 11-Mar-17 10:36:39

Not a teacher, but a former School "governor". Yes it happens, we got downgraded to needs improvement for no real reason at all, the report was short & the only negative on it was "a lack of inspirational motivation"!!!!!confused long story short - the inspection was vile, inspector aggressive & only actually inspected for 45 minutes (spent rest of time locked in a class room on the phone!), complained to Ofsted, picked staff off the floor, parents were extremely supportive thankfully. I had months of battles with Ofsted, I actually felt hounded by them in the end. They won't admit they are wrong at all, re inspected at 6 months, and what a surprise back to good. Once things had settled a bit, I stepped down, quit, after over a decade at the school. I've been through the rings of numerous inspections - but being hounded at work by Ofsted calling me, as they pick over ever single thing (they investigate you when you complain) - just finished me off. They definitely have a political agenda angry

TheFallenMadonna Sat 11-Mar-17 10:39:54

My old school got a 4 as a result of safeguarding issues only. Teaching good. Progress and outcomes RI but improving.

thatdearoctopus Sat 11-Mar-17 11:23:02

Please don't misunderstand me if I ask what the current obsession is with Safeguarding? Clearly I know the importance of serious issues. But what I'm hearing about references (and I'm talking about one instead of two for staff who've been at the school for over 20 years) is beyond ridiculous. There's currently a minor panic over established teachers who "only" have the "old" clearance, not the new one. In an otherwise great school with good results and happy children, HOW can this be grounds for being instantly down-graded to a 4?

ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged Sat 11-Mar-17 15:19:22

The two near me have been about the building - lots of fences being built here (in rural cumbria, crime rate virtually zero)

ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged Sat 11-Mar-17 15:22:12

Is the staff safeguarding thing because of that peadophile who was allowed to teach for years before being identified?

CandODad Sat 11-Mar-17 15:22:32

Fences aren't just to keep people out but also vulnerable children in.

ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged Sat 11-Mar-17 15:23:47

Yes, fair point. Weird that they've never been required before though...

TheFallenMadonna Sat 11-Mar-17 15:54:21

Secondary schools don't need to be fenced. My last school (not the one in special measures, was completely open, and had no problems with that from Ofsted. It wasn't mentioned. Primary might be different.

Maidupmum Sat 11-Mar-17 17:00:48

My inspector did have an obsession about the fences- even though it was already 8ft high hmm and just like previous posters have said he was completely unreasonable and would accept he was wrong. They don't come and re-inspect grace 4 schools now or offer support. It's straight to academisation.
I left a job I loved because of what they did to me and how terrified the LA were of rocking the OFSTED boat. They agreed with me but wouldn't dare voice dissent to OFSTED. This sort of attitude is why they are the way they are!

Wetoopere Sat 11-Mar-17 17:08:14

I was going to ask if you're in Cumbria as there's a spate of them again , there was about 6-7 years ago too. Similar issues

ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged Sat 11-Mar-17 18:14:45

@TheFallenMadonna - both schools I'm referencing are secondaries. Both ofsted reports specifically mention the need for a fence. It's farcical.

toomuchicecream Sat 11-Mar-17 18:57:09

Wonder what will happen to my previous school then? Listed building in a conservation area in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Took nearly 2 years to get permission to put fence round the EYFS outside area to separate it from the main playground. Much of the site is enclosed by a hedge - we all know where the gaps in it are....

thatdearoctopus Sat 11-Mar-17 19:03:08

What makes me even more sad is that parents take Ofsted's word as the be-all-and-end-all of a school's worth.

There's a thread on here at the moment with a poster who ws all excited about sending her DCs to a school she had a great vibe with, but it's just gone from a 2 to a 3 or 4 and she's gutted. It might not matter!!

TheFallenMadonna Sat 11-Mar-17 19:22:41

That is crazy then.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 11-Mar-17 19:23:59

This inspection was a year ago, so pretty recent. Certainly since safeguarding became such a priority.

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