QA. Ask an inspector

12th January 2007 at 00:00
Q Inspection put us into special measures overnight. The head resigned, five teachers left, two quit teaching altogether, and three are off on long-term sick leave due to stress. Ours is a lovely school and parents support us wholeheartedly. Even if we came out of special measures tomorrow, the damage has been done. Nothing can justify the way our teachers have been treated. How can you sleep at night?

A Inspectors do not put schools into special measures for sport. For a school to be categorised as requiring special measures under the current inspection framework, inspectors will have found that it is failing to provide an acceptable standard of education for its pupils and that school leaders, managers or governors have not demonstrated they have the capacity to make the necessary improvements.

Such judgments are carefully moderated by Her Majesty's Inspectorate and approved personally by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector.

It is encouraging that your school has maintained the support of parents but if it was failing its pupils, it is right that action should be taken to intervene.

Schools made subject to special measures can usually expect more intensive support from their local authority and regular visits from an inspector, who will work with the school and monitor progress as it tries to improve over the year or two ahead.

Though I cannot deny a decision to put a school into special measures may have negative effects in the short-term, the objective is to improve the standard of education pupils receive.

There are exceptions but, in most cases, that is indeed the result. Some of the schools previously placed in special measures have shown spectacular improvements. And it's the pupils who are the beneficiaries.

I would not be able to sleep at night if I sat idly by as a school continued to fail its pupils and allowed them to miss out on what may be their only shot at an education

Selwyn Ward draws on years of inspection experience. The views expressed here are his own. To ask him a question, contact him at regularly answers your Ofsted questions on our forums at

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