'Not outstanding yet' - the school with a novel approach to Ofsted banners

29th December 2017 at 11:18
Norfolk primary makes humorous contribution to debate about inspectorate's top grade

It is the Ofsted banner outside the school gates with a difference.

While many schools celebrate an “outstanding’ rating by printing huge banners proclaiming their grade to the world outside, one primary school has taken a more humorous approach after its “good” judgement was confirmed by the inspectors.

When parents and staff at Brundall Primary in Norfolk came to school one morning, they were greeted by a banner that proudly proclaimed that it was “Not Outstanding yet”.

For headteacher Rick Stuart-Sheppard, it reflected the school’s long belief in the growth mindset approach, as well as making a cheeky contribution to the growing debate about the merits of the “outstanding” grade itself.

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman this term told MPs she was uncertain whether the grade should stay or go, while Dame Alison Peacock, chief executive of the Chartered College of Teaching, has branded it “hugely divisive and very problematic”.

Mr Stuart-Sheppard told Tes: “When we got the ‘good’ again there was a conversation with a parent who wondered when we were going to tick off all the boxes to get to ‘outstanding’, and I tried to have the conversation with them that Ofsted was only part of the picture, and only measured part of what a school is about.

“For us, rather than try to chase something that is intangible, which is a professional inspector’s judgement on the day, if we pursue our mission then hopefully at some point we will get the recognition.”

He added: “One parent said they thought it was very humorous and aspirational at the same time. That’s where I hoped it would come out.”

He said staff had been “amazed and appreciative” of the banner, and when they first saw it some “came in with great big smiles on their faces”.

“On the first day there were smiles and appreciative remarks, because it puts us on a journey,” he added.

In a letter to Mr Stuart-Sheppard following the short inspection in September, inspector Maria Curry wrote: “Brundall Primary is a school where pupils are encouraged to be the very best that they can be, academically and as citizens, and to fulfil the school’s motto ‘Be extraordinary’.”

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