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Have you noticed?

IT is now five years since we had an Office for Standards in Education inspection and the tension is mounting. It is rather like being 10 months pregnant - it is difficult to think about anything else and we would really like to get it over with.

Our new head has been in place a year and during that time the phrase, "when the inspectors come", has been the opening gambit in many discussions. She has been acutely aware of each Ofsted notice period, regularly reassuring everyone "it can't be before the summer holidays now... it can't be before half-term... before Christmas". But it must be soon.

We have reviewed and polished all our policies, analysed our performance data, and set ourselves challenging targets. We have second-guessed Ofsted's every possible grumble and our action plan is not only written but under implementation. We feel there is nothing the inspectors could tell us about the school that we do not already know; no improvement they could suggest that we are not already undertaking. They really do not need to come - but they will.

All we want now, like the overdue mum with her bag packed, plants watered, freezer stocked and ironing up-to-date, is a swift and safe delivery.

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