Ofsted: less of an ogre and more of an eye-opener
Our school, a large primary in London, went into special measures in November 2007 and I joined as head soon after. We are now "satisfactory" with good capacity to improve.
It might be expected that comments about Ofsted and inspections, from a school in our situation, would be full of negativity. The road from "failing school" to "satisfactory" is long and rocky. However, throughout the journey our termly visit from HMI was always a great help in taking stock of the progress we had made and focusing us on the next stage of improvement.
It was clear from the start that far more important than policies and paperwork was the impact of the changes on children's learning and experiences within the classroom. Chris Woodhead would be pleased to know that our inspectors spent considerable time watching teachers teach and asked the all important question: "Would I want my child to be in this class?".
Kim Beat, Headteacher, Braintcroft Primary School, Brent, London.