I’ve had a meeting to get an update on Special Needs matters – I’m always pretty well in touch, but haven’t had more than a brief chat this term so far, so it was good to have an update. And I’ve arranged to go through our annual development plan with the Head on Friday. I have to trust myself and not panic into a lot of rote-learning of facts and figures. I don’t think I need to know all the details; or rather, I don’t have to remember them. I go to a lot of trouble to find things out, to ask questions and to ensure what should be done is done, and then I forget the detail.
So, this afternoon, I asked him if there was anything I should address and he kindly reassured me – I said that I know where I’m good, it’s where I am not and don’t know it that a weakness may lie. I would rather not be caught out. He asked me an Ofstedish question and I stared horrified for a moment before rallying and answering straightforwardly – actually, the whole role-play sort of thing disconcerts me, but I did sort of ask for it. Actually, I’d quite like some robust and specific criticism, it’s not that I am modest about self-worth but I appreciate a frank appraisal, preferably in time to do something about it. I have various documents to re-read – like, for example, I can’t remember in the least what’s in the Head’s performance management, because I didn’t do it. Well, I wouldn’t remember anyway.
I know how the students did so well last year and that it wasn’t a fluke, and can explain in what ways the pupils are told what the point of a lesson is, what they are supposed to be learning and why, and how to know if they’ve learned it. That would have been jolly useful when I was at school, I can tell you. There were, certainly, teachers who brought that across but there were only too many lessons when I had no idea what, if any the purpose was, and didn’t learn anything. I also know how the teachers look out for difficulties a student, or group of students may have and address it – for example, when one of the governors was in a maths lesson back in the winter, a small group had a session on the use of brackets, because they hadn’t grasped it. I know who was entered early for an exam and who wasn’t and why – not as individuals, but as groups. I know that students should know their target grades and what marks they need to get them.
If I were asked why I’m the Special Needs governor, rather than someone else, I can explain, and say what I do and when I check on things and then leave them to it. I can say what value we place on vocational qualifications and apprenticeships. I can tell you what we do for our gifted students and how we support pupils who feel that they are bullied, and how we know about it. If asked to talk by way through a financial spreadsheet, I’d be fine. I know about partnerships with other schools and how we’re developing them further. If asked about uniform (behaviour, punctuality and appearance are going to be looked at) I can tell them that, a year ago, the School Council asked that staff be robust in enforcing the school uniform rules. Dyed hair and dreadlocks are okay, piercings, apart from a single earring in each ear, are not.
I know a lot. But what if I’m asked something and my mind is blank? I don’t know what they’re going to talk to me about, that’s the thing.
And if I’m this anxious now, what sort of a nervous wreck will I be when the inspectors actually announce their arrival?