Dan Morrow, headteacher at Oasis Academy Skinner Street, in Gillingham, Kent: said: “I took over this school about a year and a half ago, after it was placed in special measures. Walking in, I had a call from the inspector, and I thought, ‘Oh, dear. I’ve heard what this is like.’
“But she absolutely understood that the role of inspector is to support and encourage – to help children achieve the best they can. To give them the best chance in life.
“It was so different from when I was in special measures in a secondary school in 2009. Then I felt that every time Ofsted came in, staff would be off sick. People were upset and crying. It was just horrendous, to be honest.
“This time, the inspector had a wonderful manner about her. Although she was giving some really tough messages, she was so professional about it that people couldn’t – and didn’t – take it personally. She said that it wasn’t about teaching – it was about the quality of learning taking place, and that wasn’t the same thing.
“The inspector was a significant factor in why our school got out of special measures. Her visit sharpened and focused my leadership, and I have no doubt that I’m a better leader as a result of her work with me. More and more heads will now say this.
“In the past, it was very easy: Ofsted was the bogeyman. If you wanted to frighten teachers, you’d use the O-word. Now, I’ve asked teachers, ‘Did you find the inspector supportive?’ And 100 per cent agreed or strongly agreed.”