Have you noticed?;Briefing;Governors

12th February 1999 at 00:00
Reading my local authority's OFSTED report was very like reading my own school's. My immediate response was that inspection is a stressful, time-consuming and expensive way of discovering what everyone already knows. "Special subject the bleedin' obvious," as Basil Fawlty said of Sybil.

The picture of an efficient, caring and supportive LEA was accurate, but the criticisms too were predictable. League tables show many of our upper schools bumping along disappointingly below the national average.

One possible explanation is the move from high-school to upper-school at 14. I have never thought this particularly sensible, and the introduction of KS3 SATs has made matters worse. High schools tend to concentrate on English, maths and science, and children go de-mob happy after their exams in May. My head tells me the same happens at KS2. "We just do sex and drugs education after the tests." The same probably applies to KS3, only less formally.

I have also been complaining for years about the crazy admissions policy where the age children start school varies from village to village. Did they listen? Perhaps for LEAs, like schools, that is rather the point of OFSTED. Governors may be ignored, but now Big Brother is watching, some difficult, unpopular and expensive decisions will have to be made.

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