Outstanding result

It has been the most up-and-down couple of weeks.  Last Monday week, we finally were notified that the school was to receive its Ofsted inspection, having been waiting for notification for over a month (we had been told that we were in the pilot for the new regime, but not when the inspection would happen).  We had spent a few days getting ready and the rest just getting haggard.

Then we had the inspection and were told the result, but were not allowed to tell anyone until the findings had been moderated and verified.  That was on Thursday evening.  On Friday came the news about the illness of our caretaker.  On Monday, we had a post-Ofsted get-together among the staff, and on Tuesday, the caretaker died.  Yesterday brought the sad news about Aaron, our young pupil, but the Year 11s were, with the blessing of his parents, going ahead with their end of year prom tonight.  We were still waiting for confirmation of the inspection, we could not be confident of anything and the waiting was nerve-wracking.

Just before 5 o’clock this evening, the Headteacher emailed me and all the staff with the news that the result is official.  We can go public.

If you have nothing to do with schools, it will not mean much to you, but our rural, comprehensive school with nothing apparently remarkable about it, run-down buildings and a lower than average attainment in its incoming pupils has sailed through its Ofsted and gained an Outstanding, the highest evaluation, gained by 10% of schools overall.  Proud?  Yes indeed.  I’m damn proud.  I have read the report, but it isn’t online yet, so I’ll just quote one sentence – “The school is a striking example of an integrated community with everyone working towards a single vision.”

Oh, and a sentence from the letter to the students – “Your school is extremely well led and the staff work together well to support you and provide you with an excellent experience.”

Twenty-three years, I’ve been a school governor, eighteen years at one school and nearly thirteen years at this one (do the math, darling, there was an overlap).  Both schools have always been good.  For the last six months, I’ve known we were outstanding and now we have corroboration.

And yes, we have lots of plans for improvement.

16 comments on “Outstanding result

  1. Roses

    I’m so sorry to hear of both deaths. Both are heartbreaking and devastating in their own ways.

    But wonderful news on your Ofsted result. Good to see all your(pl) hard work paying off.

    Hugs to you at what must be a topsy turvy, rollercoaster time.

  2. allotmentqueen

    I’m sure there must have been a sentence in there about the support and vision of the governors as well. You must have a very good “value added” score. Excellent news. Well done. You must be proud.

    Sorry that your exciting news is tinged with sadness.

  3. Z

    The governors weren’t mentioned – but we’re awfully good. And all the staff are brilliant (not only the teachers, everyone). The Headteacher is exceptional. Absolutely inspiring.

  4. Compostwoman

    Great news on the outstanding!
    Sad news with the sad losses.

    But..why no mention of the govenors? The school I was involved with, the Eco club I ran as a volunteer got a mention in the Outstanding report…

  5. Z

    Reading it again, yes we are mentioned – “The governing body plays its part extremely well and has strong links with the school
    in a variety of ways. Its members hold the school to account well, use their
    respective skills to good advantage and have a very thorough knowledge of the
    school, its strengths and areas for improvement.

    How could I have missed that?!

  6. Blue Witch

    An outstanding result, well done!

    It is concerning that the new framework (to be used for Academy inspections, presumably) places so little emphasis on the geverning body.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the new frmaework for SEN, given the potential opt-outs for Free Schools and Academies. What with that, and the Green Paper, I do worry about equaility of opportunity in all schools for the future.

  7. Z

    I’m very concerned about Free Schools and their potential for a narrow (ie cheap) curriculum.

    At our last inspection, in March 08, the inspectors were not interested in seeing the governors at all. The chairman was interviewed, with the Head and, as I said a few weeks ago, there was a combative take on the procedure. The interview started with “This is a failing school, admit it!” – since we ended up as ‘good with outstanding features,’ this was evidently meant to provoke an argument, but I don’t think it was professional.

    I wonder what the secretary of state thinks is going to happen to less able pupils, if he’s only interested in the most academically gifted. I share your anxieties. I do what I can.

  8. Tim

    Well done to all of you! My late wife Vivien was an OFSTED inspector and always tried to lean in the direction of the school, and to make sure she gave due credit to the governors (or due blame where merited!) Sadly the new regime didn’t allow so much flexibility, which is why she quit the job in 2005.

  9. Z

    Ah, beneath this flaky exterior is a tough core, HDWK. And over 100 brilliant staff, nearly 1,000 pupils and the rest of the governors did their bit, too!

    There seems to be something they focus on every time now, that isn’t strictly educational, Tim. It’s behaviour this time, including punctuality, absence (lack of) and politeness. On the part of the students, that is…

  10. Z

    To be fair, the school receives several million pounds of public money every year, it has to be used correctly.


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