Scrutiny beyond the call of duty?

18th March 2005 at 00:00
The inspection team, according to its letter, wanted the experience to be rewarding and stimulating. But the last thing my staff feel, after a full inspection under Estyn's new framework, is refreshed and rejuvenated.

My team has been physically and mentally challenged and drained, because it gave everything for the benefit of the school. We experienced a thorough and professional going over - a gruelling week of scrutiny under the constant gaze of a team of inspectors. No stone was left unturned, no pupil, teacher or member of support staff left out.

Every subject, curriculum area and aspect of management was put under the inspection microscope. Friends in other professions say they are also inspected, but does any other profession have to endure such an intense examination of everything it does when dealing with the most unpredictable beings on this planet, and then have the findings published for anyone to see?

I am proud of my school, the staff and pupils. We have worked hard to ensure that the children in our care get every opportunity to reach their potential. We are accountable to the children, their parents, to the community, the local education authority and the Welsh Assembly.

Our output is checked and compared with those of other schools. We check on the value-added factors. Reports are provided to every individual and their families. School governors receive comprehensive reports on everything that happens at school.

Preparing a comprehensive self-evaluation report is a team effort. This report is scrutinised by staff and governors before it is checked by support advisers linked to the LEA. They analyse statistics and results.

The method, criteria and model used in the self-evaluation process are evaluated, and then, just for good measure, we have an inspection.

Thankfully we survived and have received a very positive and favourable report. Now we have to pick ourselves up, focus on taking the school forward, and motivate ourselves to turn in a daily, weekly, termly and annual performance that is at least satisfactory.

The inspection team has taken its snapshot and provided a comprehensive report. We are left to prepare a post-inspection action plan, building on existing good practice. And so the process continues. Roll on the next one.

Terry Williams is headteacher of Litchard junior school, Bridgend

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