"The Ofsted team who came to our school were professional and courteous throughout. Yes, it was stressful, but at the end we came out with a positive report. It gave us all a boost for an outside agency to say we were doing well; in some areas better than we thought. There are key issues, none that we had not identified ourselves, to follow up. So we thought our self-evaluation was pretty good.
"Did we put on a show? Yes we did, but we did not try to hide anything.
There is no point arguing the merits of the Ofsted regime; it is what it is and will be what it will be. We have to work with it. Personally, I would rather have them than LEA inspectors with a local political agenda and the back-stabbing that goes on at county hall."
"We lost three staff to illness the week after our Ofsted. I got sick too and am still recovering - or trying to. My immune system, weak at best, was shot to pieces. There's not been the relaxation we had hoped for, mainly because we now have to prove that our pupils really are as good as we think they are. So my kids, at least, are working their little socks off to get those level 4s and 5s. I'll be happy with over 60 per cent in maths, hoping for 100 per cent in science, although it looks like about 94 per cent (again, much better than in previous years), and English is a big worry. We all feel that although we didn't get placed back into special measures or serious weaknesses (the first time the school has made it through an inspection without being categorised in nearly 10 years), our English department was unfairly slated.
"We have a post-Ofsted action planning session coming up. The head's been great about easing up on the pressure, but we really now have to swing into gear on it. This is my last year in the UK. I cannot abide the paperwork and the 'find something wrong even if it's OK' mentality. If I was unsure, this past inspection helped me realise that the grass will be greener back home, where non-contact time is a right and is actually given.
"We were inspected only last week, so we don't know much yet, although the oral feedback has been generally good. However, some of the inspection team did pop in this week with an Easter egg for the teaching staff to thank us for the welcome they were given (one egg between 100 teachers, but it's the thought that counts!)." eurgain
"We had a huge party. And, as is normal, I understand, the quality of teaching went down, with videos suddenly becoming very popular, and little marking done.
"What was my conclusion? That it's nice to be told you're doing a good job, but that there's an awful lot of grief and unnecessary stress along the way. My head of department's opinion means more to me than Ofsted's.
"The more savvy children must have been quite amused that their teachers were having to experience something akin to the examination and test stress that they are subjected to rather more often." coyote
"At the end of our inspection, the Regi told me he had changed his opinion that we would fall into a category. We were satisfactory! It was an anticlimax for everyone after that. The staff were disappointed, thinking we should have been judged good. It was very hard to pick them up and make them realise just how close we had come to being judged unsatisfactory.
"A year on and we have our post-Ofsted action plan and everyone is working hard to implement the changes. The school is not the same place it was last year; it is better. But I can't help thinking that the stress everyone was put through was not worth it. I lost a good teacher through stress afterwards and now have another one off sick, and think the inspection had a lot to do with her illness." slinky1
"As an NQT I found the inspection a valuable experience and came out with good feedback. We did work hard, but apart from being a little more organised (and tidy!) I think they got a true reflection of me and my class. I am a bit stubborn and won't change what I do just because I think it is what someone else wants to see. My children have progressed since September and they want to come to school, so I must be doing something right. LKF
"It's two weeks since our inspection and half the department are off ill.
Still, the school got a good report so that made it all worthwhile, didn't it?" cat69 "Sanctions are less severe than before the inspection. I asked for a senior teacher to take away three pupils who had been disruptive; inspection had lulled me into the idea that nothing was impossible to improve the learning in the classroom. Since I don't use that sanction very often, I was unaware that it had been just for show.
"A few months later, a child shoved an LSA. It took more than 15 minutes to get someone to come and get him. Other teachers say they haven't marked books for ages. Since they aren't allowed to take them home and no one seems to do checking interdepartmentally anymore, who is going to know?
"After all that progress and hard work, people are slacking. Kids are slipping back to bad habits that I didn't know they had. The photos put up all those months ago are still there. The displays that were praised by the inspectors for not being graffittied or ripped are now.
"Maybe it would be good for us to think that the inspectorate might drop in and visit. And maybe they should anyway, not to do an inspection but to put their ear to the ground, watching lessons without clipboards, checking books, eating school meals, using pupil toilets." seasonticket "Stress-related illnesses started after the inspection. Three teachers were off in the first week; two of them stayed off long-term. Those of us left felt flat and, even though teaching was good or very good, we all felt demoralised. The plants in the corridor died as no one watered them post-Ofsted. I managed to keep one Ofsted display up in the corridor for a whole year, as a bet to see if the SMT would actually notice whether it had been changed (they didn't).
"One teacher who had a few unsatisfactory lessons was not supported. She started a cycle of repeated long-term sicknesses and continual observations on her return. Eventually she walked out. I long for the no-notice inspections, but realise that the downside may well be continual pressure from the SMT to have all documentation perfect and marking up to date. Not a bad thing, I know, but maybe unrealistic given the demands on our time."
"The Friday of inspection week came and we all went to stay in a hotel for the night, had a swim, a meal together, generally relaxed, spent the next morning wandering round Bournemouth and walking on the beach. Absolutely great!
"Ofsted didn't tell us anything we didn't already know - and, more to the point, we would probably have got it all up and running much quicker if they hadn't come. The reason? We were rushing around trying to make sure that anything they might want to look at was completely up to date, which is well-nigh impossible in the real world if you are going to have a homework balance!" lizcable
"The whole Ofsted set-up is so intrinsically insulting to teachers that not even the most intelligent, compassionate, gifted inspector in the world could change that. But I have an alternative.
"Why can't practising teachers either be seconded for one year to an inspectorship and then return to teaching, or have days off to carry out inspections? Obviously these would not be within their own local authorities, but apart from this caveat I think this would work. I certainly would accept criticism more readily from someone in the same situation as me." happyNQT
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