Joan Sallis answers your questions

4th June 2004 at 01:00
We are shortly to be inspected. This has always been a successful school and we would be so upset if we went into special measures. Our head has been off sick with stress for some time. Before that there were a lot of problems with staff and several key members left. Behaviour has deteriorated, several staff are very overworked, and I think some of the teaching will be judged less than satisfactory. Will the inspectors take account of all the problems we have and hold back damning conclusions?

I am sure the inspectors will accurately assess your situation.

Understandably you would like to be assured that they will make allowances for these (hopefully temporary) factors and modify their published judgments. Unfortunately I do not think that is very likely. The inspection is a record of what exists when they visit and a pointer to action which might be required.

Cruel though these situations may be,it is the right course for the children. It would be unfair to them to make allowances: "temporary" might mean a child's whole life at that school. A judgment of special measures status would bring the school great help to overcome its problems.

A vast amount of help is available for schools which go into special measures, and from what you say you might not be able to manage the recovery without this support. You will also find it makes everyone pull together amazingly. I wish you all the best.

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