Friday, 18 June 2010

An Inspector calls

Well, we had Ofsted in at one of 'my' schools this week.
Our lead Inspector was a 'fully signed up' HMI with considerable experience of Special Schools and it really made a difference - we didn't have to explain the challenges of running a special school catering for, inter alia, medically dependant PMLD pupils!
We have been advised that 'our self-assessment was accurate' - code for "Good with some Outstanding features" - so BIG congratulations to everyone involved and a relaxing weekend while we wait for the written report.
The current framework is more rigorous in examination of how well Governors understand our statutory responsibilities, especially regarding safeguarding and community cohesion. In our case they were also very interested to explore our approaches to parental engagement, especially for hard-to-reach parents.
We thought the school was Outstanding for Safeguarding, but they downgraded us to Good - then when we asked for specifics on what needed to be in place to achieve Outstanding we didn't really get much help, the Inspector found it hard to articulate the gap! Being told that 'we rarely award Oustanding for safeguarding' was something of a consolation although the cynic in me wonders if this is a rear-orifice covering stance just in case anything goes wrong subsequently (vide Haringey!)

Anyway, a good week and one that has thrown up some positive and welcome suggestions for improvement - the relentless drive for improvment continues.

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