Armed and ready for O-Day

21st April 2000 at 01:00
Brenda Roe marshals her defences before the OFSTED invasion

THE headteacher's office has been tastefully redecorated and she has her battle-plan of things to do and deadlines to meet. It's nine weeks to O-Day - and the numeracy co-ordinator is still out of action.

One of the jobs we must complete is filling in S3, the self-evaluation form, which has to be returned before the Office for Standards in Education visitation. The form has a series of questions about the school's policies and strategies, with multiple-choice answers ranging from yes to no, via maybe.

Obviously, we know we are well-nigh perfect, but decide to throw in a few "partly in place" answers just for appearances' sake. I'm confident that we can manipulate the supporting evidence to back up our answers, using techniques learnt many years ago to impress that other scourge of pupils, the examiner.

When faced with an exam question, you take the three pieces of information you know, twist them to fit, throw in a "thus" and a "therefore" or twoand - voila! - the perfect answer. Well, it might work.

Back in the playground, inspection fever has still to strike. Parents now know that Woody's gang is on its way. They were told in the newsletter. There it was, stuck between the swimming gala results and the PE kit reminder.

Strangely, though, there was no mention of the O-word. Apparently, we are expecting "guests", who we should try to make "feel at home". Who knows? Maybe the gang of four will be friendly.

But, as the head points out, if it all went as laid down in the inspection framework, every school in the land would be grateful for receiving thousands of pounds of "consultancy" for free. But somewhere along the line, something, or someone, has turned the whole process into a sparring match.

So with that in mind I'm off to read the new Guide to the Law for School Governors. After all, we volunteers have got to make a fight of it, and it's always better to be well-armed.

The author is chair of governors at an inner-city primary

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