Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Schools Ofsted, does it really work?

My eldest came home from school last night with an Ofsted letter.  Her school is going to be reviewed this week and they want the comments from the parents.  She has only been at secondary school for a matter of weeks and has herself already noticed how the teachers have changed in lieu of the inspectors coming.  The French teacher has suspended tests this week so that the inspectors do not witness them and apparently other teachers have been 'prepping' the children on the lessons that may or may be not witnessed.  Before I could make a comment she said 'Does that not defeat the object though Mum?  If we are all changing that its not really what the school is like'.  How are you meant to reply to that?  I totally agree with her but found myself trying to think of reasons to back the school so she did not pick up on any form of conflict.

Ofsted's are meant to be a way of inspecting schools and are a great thing and should not be stopped.  Schools should not feel the need to change ways to suit the inspectors though.  A test in a French class sounds like a great way to show how well year 7's are getting on learning a new language.  Maybe Ofsted should be more of a surprise?  Could they not just show up one day and inspect? The notice period gives the school time to change and adapt when they could be just as good staying as they are.  My daughter is happy at the school and the results are good too.  There are a few issues that have been noted but that could be part and parcel of secondary school.  Time will tell.

We have the paper work to write notes on to the inspectors.  What to write??..... One of her teachers apparently calls all the pupils 'darling' or 'sweetie' because, and in the teachers words 'I cannot be expected to remember all your names'  Not good in my book but my daughter likes her.  My point is, if the teacher is getting good results and the children enjoy being in their class, should we not allow some things to slide?  We trust them to teach and we should allow them to do so.  On the other hand, if they saw no issues, then they would not be 'prepping' the children now would they?

I withhold full judgement until the report is released.