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AIBU?

AIBU or is new Ofsted framework?

33 replies

PimmsOfCourse · 28/09/2022 20:17

I know a few schools which were outstanding and have been downgraded to good or lower.
This is from my local rag. One of the top performing schools in the country got downgraded. It seems ridiculous. I don't have (or have had) children at this school but I am wondering why Ofsted who according to this head haven't followed their own criteria are doing this.
Ofsted downgrades Outstanding schools

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

32 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
59%
You are NOT being unreasonable
41%
MolliciousIntent · 28/09/2022 20:20

I think you need to take anything the Headteacher of a downgraded school says about Ofsted with a huge pinch of salt.

SavoirFlair · 28/09/2022 20:21

An “outstanding” grading isn’t like a blue plaque or a citation from Royalty, it’s not meant to be for ever, unquestionable, irrevocable.

They are BU.

PuttingDownRoots · 28/09/2022 20:23

Whats outrageous is a school can go more than 10 years without an inspection.

Justjoinedforthis · 28/09/2022 20:28

Ofsted is a load of bollocks, it should just be a safeguarding body if you ask me (which no one did I know)

People have a planned, rehearsed day for when they come, it’s really not a realistic system.

PimmsOfCourse · 28/09/2022 20:32

Most outstanding schools have monitoring visits in addition to full inspections. Many haven't had full inspections for 10 years, that is true.
However, it is also true that most outstanding schools have been downgraded.
This seems to be a bizarre thing that they are doing. Why are they moving the goalposts so much?

OP posts:
TwitTw00 · 28/09/2022 20:39

The Ofsted framework has changed 5 times in the past decade so it's not surprising that schools aren't necessarily where they need to be with the measures now in place - simply because they keep changing! But lots of Outstanding schools get complacent. I'm afraid I had a chuckle to myself when a secondary in a town near me got downgraded from Outstanding to RI. House prices are insane there, yet the school hadn't been inspected for something like 14 years. I always thought it was ridiculous to buy into such an expensive catchment based on an old inspection and lo and behold...

olddustbag · 28/09/2022 20:56

Mike Gove placed legislation in 2012 to remove outstanding schools from routine inspection
Michael Wilshaw tried to get it re-instated but failed.
There were then failed white/green papers to try and reverse it but is eventually went through in 2020.

I would say that the current framework is formulaic. You can be judged as good with very low attainment as long as your phonics/early reading and curriculum meet certain expectations. Impact is viewed through lessons and work scrutiny rather than national key stage outcomes.

MoanCooker · 28/09/2022 20:59

If the school is still under LA control, Ofsted is often used to find an excuse to turn it into an academy - i.e. sell it off

olddustbag · 28/09/2022 21:06

MoanCooker · 28/09/2022 20:59

If the school is still under LA control, Ofsted is often used to find an excuse to turn it into an academy - i.e. sell it off

Ofsted isnt used as an excuse to turn a school into an academy by an LA.
A school judged as inadequate by Ofsted becomes eligible for intervention by the the DfE which usually means acadamisation.

The DfE was proposing to extend this power but the white paper has been halted due to the policy direction changes (grammar schools):
Currently only schools with Inadequate Ofsted ratings are eligible for this type of intervention, but 900 schools across the country with consecutive Ofsted ratings below Good will now newly be eligible.

The government will initially look to contact around a third of the eligible schools about potential intervention, on the basis they have a recent Requires Improvement rating from 01 May 2021 or later.

jgw1 · 28/09/2022 21:11

MolliciousIntent · 28/09/2022 20:20

I think you need to take anything the Headteacher of a downgraded school says about Ofsted with a huge pinch of salt.

I think you need to take anything Ofsted say about any school with an ocean of salt.

AngelicaElizaAndPeggy · 28/09/2022 21:13

My kids' school hasn't been ofstedded since 2008 😬. It was outstanding then and it still affects house prices in our suburb!

daffodilandtulip · 28/09/2022 21:18

My business is "good". Ofsted said "you won't be getting outstanding today" as she entered the premises. It's so subjective, they all have different areas of interest and it seems virtually impossible to get outstanding now.

MakeItRain · 28/09/2022 21:19

Justjoinedforthis · 28/09/2022 20:28

Ofsted is a load of bollocks, it should just be a safeguarding body if you ask me (which no one did I know)

People have a planned, rehearsed day for when they come, it’s really not a realistic system.

Schools don't have a planned, rehearsed day! Children would soon let you and any visitors know if you were simply repeating lessons they'd done before.

However, I do agree with you that Ofsted is a load of bollocks and should just be a safeguarding body (if they have to exist at all!)

KoalaCape · 28/09/2022 21:21

I take Ofsted grades with a pinch of salt. Of course it's wonderful to send your children to an outstanding school but having been behind the scenes on many, many inspections in a range of schools I just don't think the judgement is a true reflection of the children's (and staff's) daily experience there.

Ofsted should arrive unannounced but with far less pressure. The criteria is so challenging to achieve and once you find evidence towards something, the framework changes and all your planning and preparation has to be adjusted and changed. I'd much rather be spending my time preparing amazing lessons for children.

The fact that every school I've worked in has taught the children and staff what to say and what not to say when Ofsted comes is proof enough that the pressure is ridiculous and the inspection is not "real life"

sunshineandsuddenshowers · 28/09/2022 21:23

I don’t think outstanding is a helpful judgement. Even identifying specific areas of excellence is tricky as things change so fast. I think they should do away with the category and instead there should be awards schools can go for (like Artsmark, or eco schools, or rights respecting) which are reviewed every 3 years or so.

KoalaCape · 28/09/2022 21:27

@MakeItRain every school I have worked in and the schools my friends work in all have practice Ofsted visits. You wouldn't repeat the day exactly when Ofsted comes but the people doing the mock Ofsted ask the same type of questions that Ofsted do, children have practice interviews just like when Ofsted visit, books are taken to be judged for quality of marking etc. This is all then fed back to the senior leadership team, who have also been interviewed for things like safeguarding, teaching and learning policies, attendance information, and so on...

It's a very rehearsed event even though you can't control what will happen when they do visit as you never know for sure what they will ask or want to see.

WonderingWanda · 28/09/2022 21:36

What's outrageous is the headteacher of a selective grammar school saying that their good exam results prove that all teachers are doing a good job. If you select the brightest kids then of course you will get the best results, it doesn't mean you are doing a good job.

From the article it sounds like there are inconsistencies across the school which is exactly what ofsted look for. If the school tell ofsted the every department is amazing and ofsted find that isn't the case then how can they trust any of the schools self assessment. If they went in and the school said here's some great practise but we known we've got work to do in art and maths and ofsted see that this correct then they will be satisfied that there is rigorous self assessment in place.

JanuaryParty · 28/09/2022 21:39

A cynic might say the more schools that are down graded, the more that can be academiesd or swallowed up by MATs.

The government can than say their policies work as the schools will then be seen to improve

SweetsAndChocolates · 28/09/2022 21:40

Dc school has just had an inspection (I believe last one was over 10 years ago -closer to 13).
It was outstanding, but I can imagine it will be downgraded...can see the commotion that will follow!

Another grammar school in the NW has been significantly downgraded- and I believe quite a few parents pulled their children out after the report.

Haggisfish3 · 28/09/2022 21:42

Outstanding schools have not been inspected since their outstanding grade. In some cases that is ten years plus. I’m willing to bet loads of staff are de skilled and resting on their laurels compared to non outstanding schools. I would far rather fresh in and send my child to, a recently graded good school, than any outstanding school.

Haggisfish3 · 28/09/2022 21:42

Teach in, not fresh in. Sigh.

Justjoinedforthis · 29/09/2022 06:41

MakeItRain · 28/09/2022 21:19

Schools don't have a planned, rehearsed day! Children would soon let you and any visitors know if you were simply repeating lessons they'd done before.

However, I do agree with you that Ofsted is a load of bollocks and should just be a safeguarding body (if they have to exist at all!)

Lots of nurseries do have a planned day! And schools definitely don’t always do things how they would usually…not having a go at schools, I’m a teacher, but it’s certainly not fly on the wall vibes with ofsted.

One awful chain nursery I worked in ages ago brought about ten extra staff in on Ofsted day, when we were usually chronically understaffed.

Sewwhatmrmagpie · 29/09/2022 07:06

Both my local outstanding schools are currently outstanding, neither been inspected for donkeys years. Both heads are very honest with parents that they aren't "outstanding". Both think they are "good" - one definitely is, the other I'm not so sure (was a governor).

Another was inspected because of an incident and was marked needs improvement, it has never recovered its reputation despite actually being very good now.

Unless inspected recently, I would take outstanding with a pinch of salt.

Also read the report to see why it's grading was changed if it lost outstanding in a recent inspection.

VerbenaGirl · 29/09/2022 07:12

They are using a new framework, so it's not really being downgraded - just how they are judged against a new set of criteria. To be graded outstanding now, practice has to be truly exceptional.

Galarunner · 29/09/2022 07:15

The school my children have just finished in is graded outstanding, hasn't been inspected for nearly 10 years. The exam results are amazing, the behaviour is good. The pastoral support my son received was great. It is a very oversubscribed school that people fight tooth and nail to get their kids into. I really don't think an Ofsted downgrade will change any of that.

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