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Poor marks for this paperwork

I have been helping a friend, who is head of a small village school, with the paperwork she has to submit to inspectors before they visit in three weeks.

This means completing forms and recording the results on a disc, using software provided by the Office for Standards in Education.

One section (S4), the headteacher's statement, has 14 different headings, and has amounted to more than 6,000 words, which have had to be typed in. Presumably, we shall recognise some of this when it is cut-and-pasted into the final OFSTED report - which I shall not be surprised to find has similar section headings. (I do hope that the word "Charactristics" (sic) as it appears on the disc will have been corrected by then.) Another section (S2) involves a finncial summary. Most of the headings are subtly different from those under which the schools budget is managed. Thus head and administration assistant have had to spend many hours realigning their figures to fit with the report.

This is a rural first school with just over 70 pupils at which the head teaches for three-and-a-half days per week and the admin assistant is fully occupied with the day-to-day management of financial and other matters.

Is it any wonder that there are so many vacancies for primary heads? What good has this done to the education or well-being of pupils in the school, who now face a weary teacher who has not had any sort of half-term break for the rest of the term ?

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