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Is an outstanding school genuinely outstanding?

Discussion in 'Ofsted inspections' started by bettyhen, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. I just wondered what people thought - have such schools just ticked all the boxes or are they genuinely good schools (even if they are not quite as outstanding as they manage to be for the period of the inspection)?
     
  2. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    We believe our recent outstanding was justified, we don't think we are perfect but have no big flaws, only minor tweaks, but compared to many schools we think we offer a great all round educational experience for pupils during their time with us.

    Our SIP also agrees we are outstanding, as do all the LA people, so it's not just put on for a 1 day OFSTED show.
     
  3. yes I agree trinity- we just got one too and I have worked in about 8 schools- this one is the only one I know IS outstanding.
     
  4. As someone who works in a school that has achieved its first 'outstanding' I can tell you that the answer is uneqivocally 'NO!'

    Yes, the SLT have done an outstanding job of jumping through all the hoops and ensuring that the relevant documentation is in place, but in twenty years I can tell you that the school is probably less effective in looking after all its students and , in spite of a dedicated and talented staff, students are less well served for the SLT's obsession with grovelling to OFSTED.

    Get over yourselves.

    How have you worked in eight schools by the way? You must be ancient!
     
  5. littlerussell

    littlerussell New commenter

    The grade "outstanding" tends to originate from the progress made by pupils during their time there. It would be very difficult to be "outstanding" for the inspection period only.

    An outstanding pre-inspection hypothesis would originate from certain statistics in the school's results, whether APS or the number making greater than expected progress. The inspectors would then want to see outstanding teaching and no weaknesses in other areas to confirm that judgement.

    In reality, a number of factors may contribute to an outstanding performance in terms of results. If your feeder schools are underperforming, you may have greater potential to make an impact through catch up programmes. Parents who hire tutors contribute to the schools results. A school with outstanding results *might* manage to pull the wool over inspectors eyes regarding weaknesses in other areas of the curriculum.

     
  6. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    My Leader of dept doesn't think we're outstanding, so I challenged him to spend a day in a typical secondary school so that he could see how we are so different to all that! He hasn't been brave enough so far to take me up on this suggestion! ;o)
     
  7. My daughter attends an 'outstanding' school but so far I have not been impressed myself by her education.
     
  8. In my experience, in the school I'm in at the moment - an outstanding ofsted grade can be achieved by a headteacher who talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk. I joined this school in September thinking that it was an 'outsanding' school. The only thing it has been outstanding in, is demoralising me and many of the other staff.
     
  9. I'm wondering if you teach at the same school as me!
     
  10. And me! ...

    The school I am currently in achieved a "Good" and an "outstanding" for Leadership in its last OFSTED (before my arrival)

    The Head is now determined to achieve an OUTSTANDING on both and we are are in the full swing of the Heads's OFSTED preparation as it is perceived to be any time from Sept... who knows, could be another year?

    Point is, we are all being divided and conquered and are on our knees already. I do not personally think our school is outstanding, just ticks all the right boxes and provides an evidence trail. Dedicated staff are hugely demoralised and put under immense pressure. Head does not have the well being of the children at the heart of this, or their learning experiences - all Head can see is the goal of OUTSTANDING. People are leaving ... or are looking to get out... so the cycle continues as when I arrived a spate of talented staff had just left or left the first term I was there (just after the last OFSTED) ... this time good people are being hounded already and want out before the real mayhem begins...

    Question is ... an outstanding school? What is it?

    OFSTED needs to delve beneath the layers if they want to award an outstanding ... as the price to staff and pupils may be totally against what the award stands for. Teaching in a "striving to be" OUTSTANDING "all round" school at the moment is a very draining experience. It is not about what I am teaching the children anymore, it is about providing evidence, ticking boxes and whispering in corners about the general discontent- it is all about providing the "talk and paperwork".

    I can't remember the last time I planned and taught a well planned lesson these last few weeks as we have just been bombarded with stuff that needs to be done that ticks boxes for the Head's OUTSTANDING ... Excuse me OFSTED, what is outstanding about that?

    I question what OFSTED standards are looking at generally as OUTSTANDING should only be awarded if staff and pupils are happy too. AND NOT JUST FOR 1 DAY as a showcase, terrified of saying what hell they have been through for this SPECIAL day!
     
  11. MrMedia

    MrMedia Lead commenter

    OFSTED came in to my dept. We didn't change the teaching - just put ordinary lessons on. Chap saw a bit of Q&A with me. A bit of Q&A with another and a bit of Q&A with a third!
    Asked me a few predictable questions: what are you doing about boys/G&T? Looked at no paperwork whatsoever.
    Report came out: said we were 'inspirational' (Higher than outstanding?)

    How did this happen? Well, according to the FFT in Raiseonline we are in the second percentile. Simple as that. If you want outstanding you have to show the CVA. Are we outstanding? Hmmmmmmmmm.....
     
  12. I don't think you can have a clear yes or no answer for this. It depends on the school itself, surely. Some schools will be providing the best possible education for the pupils, others won't and will have just "got away with it".

     
  13. Food for thought.

    A local infant school named Outstanding, excellent good CVA has been found guilty of maladaministration by the Local Authority post administration of the KS1 sats in Year 2. There is currently a discplicary process being undertaken on two members of the SMT.

    Ofsted have been into the school very recently and restated that the leadership is outstanding and inspirational. The school has been given Beacon Status and therefore extra public funding in the past.

    The fraud was uncovered by the Junior feeder school for this school and brought to the dor of the LA primary standards team who had been warned by the Head teacher of the Juniors for a number of years previously. Only some of the scripts for the children remained intact from 1 of 3 KS1 teachers and most were found to have been uplevelled post test. The teachers have no disciplinary charges against them.

    Interestingly the LA are now saying they uncovered the fraud and when pressed at a recent (webcast) council meeting reasserted that claim. Council members questioned the LA officer who said that it was through routine monitoring that this fraud was uncovered. However, due to its outstanding status this officers colleague had already admitted that no monitoring had been done for 2006-07. Additionally had it been the 'light touch' approach adopted by local authorities nationally only looks at the test process before handing up to SMT for ratification so they still would not have uncovered the fraud.

    Early on in the investigation the LA in conjunction with the national assessment agency set the timeframe of the investigation to one year only on the basis of no evidence existing for previous years. This was clearly an attempt to cover the inability of the monitoring process to cover all possibilities and to reduce the risk of criticism by the public as to their own incompetence in this matter.

    These events are of course rare and I don't want to take away from the excellent work being done elsewhere but this shows that 'systems' run by some individuals not trained in a rigorous understanding of purpose and process doesn't work and that includes OFTSED.

     
  14. Leapyearbaby64

    Leapyearbaby64 New commenter

    So if CVA is the main measure, then it will be impossible for some junior schools ever to be outstanding, won't it? The feeder infants to my kids' school is "outstanding" with well over half of them getting level 3s in their KS1 assessments. If these kids go out at level 5, they have only made "average" progress ... there is nowhere else for them to go.
     
  15. Hi in comparison - is it true that when a school is put in special measures is it really that bad? My children's school was put in this category after an ofsted report one year ago. It has now been taken out of special measures and is deemed good with some outstanding teaching. The ofsted upset a lot of parents who were otherwise very pleased with the school. My children have flourished there. The label of special measures seemed to cause more trouble and upset than would otherwise not have happened.
     
  16. Here we go again. Ofsted do in my opinion, fairly judge schools based on standards and achievement which all boil down to grades which reflects progress made by students.....where it is blinkered is that backgrounds of students is not necessary taken into account, and if it is, they they may still say that progress is well below the national average...and the type of support schools should get...its blatently (sorry cannot spell) obvious that apparaent 'failing school's' generally have very very challenging students (iin all sorts of ways) and that outstanding schools dont.(or very few) and yet they still do this mad comparision when quite obviously schools are very different! It would be very sad after all if we were all the same....

    I just wish that ofsted didnt put themselves up them being some kind of over riding judge and actually there was a much better system in place to try to make schools similar....anyway off my soap box now
     
  17. housesparrow

    housesparrow New commenter

    No! Nowhere is perfect. There are a number of teachers in my children's "outstanding" school that my children have had the misfortune to have had as their subject teachers who are quite evidently less than outstanding for the most part of the year. That said, I would still rather my children went there than anywhere else and I, like many other parents, help our children with their studies where we can and pay for private tuition where we cannot.
     
  18. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    Being outstanding doesn't mean that all the teaching is outstanding.

    We found that because all our teaching was good or better, i.e. some outstanding some good, then that qualified us (amongst other things) for a verdict of outstanding.
     
  19. Our last inspection was deemed as satisfactory which was a good result considering we could have been put in special measures alone due to our poor results. Yet all supply teachers that have ever visited the school can't believe how hard everyone works in the school. I worked in the foundation stage at the time-along with 2 other teachers-all lesson observations were good or outstanding yet when the report came out we were given satisfactory for teaching and learning. I appreciate our results are low but I can safely say we are improving considerably with the new head and it is not a fault of the teachers. The teaching is not the problem and we have a very strong hard working head. Just seems unfair that outstanding teachers working in more deprived schools with a larger percentage of children with special needs, are never given any credit for the hard work they do. This seems more unfair reading your comments that there are some so called outstanding schools that don't seem to deserve it.
     
  20. I have been teaching at an oustanding school since September and I cannot think of one outstanding feature infact it is a downright awful place to be working at!

    I was pleased to have gained a post in an outstanding school, but not anymore.
     

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