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OfSTED and COVID19


HT's Blog 7th November 2021

It has been a short while since my last blog. In that time, there have been lots of challenging situations, not least, the school’s first OfSTED inspection for 15 years. Personally, it’s my 7th OfSTED, 4th as a HT and 1st at BHPS. They don’t get any easier, in fact, they get more and more demanding as the inspection frameworks become more and more challenging. The inspection framework (the criteria against which schools are judged) has changed significantly since 2006. In more recent years, there has been a welcome move away from relying too heavily on performance data. The new framework focusses heavily on the curriculum and reading, which I believe is a very positive step, this is what impacts on children. There are numerous other elements that the inspectors gather evidence on and yet the final report is actually quite brief.

The process started on Monday 4th October when we got half a day’s notice of the inspection taking place. I was instantly invited to take part in a 90 minute phone call with the lead inspector which very much set the tone for the inspection. No matter how experienced you are, this is something that gets the pulse active because you want to get the visit off to a good start. Our inspection team was made up of four inspectors which was surprisingly large (there was no reason for this) and I think it is fair to say, they left no stone unturned. All that I ever want from an inspection is a fair reflection of the school and, although it’s impossible to get a comprehensive picture of a school in two days, inspectors are very talented at quickly identifying strengths and areas for improvement. They record copious amounts of evidence that supports their final judgements. I’ve never felt the urge to undertake the training to be an inspector. Although I would be interested in gaining a closer understanding of how OfSTED works, I would prefer to be involved in a more constructive process.

The report will be published shortly.

Following OfSTED, I was looking forward to a relaxing half term break and although I enjoyed this briefly, I then contracted COVID-19 which, although not terrible, left me feeling very washed out. I also had to work on one or two other issues so I’m now hoping that I might just get a bit of a break at Christmas. That said, the second half of the Autumn term is always a lovely time to be in school and I look forward to being able to enjoy this with slightly better health. It will be good to get a bit of normality back with the job I love.

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