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 Post subject: Inspection reports
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:28 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:41 pm
Posts: 686
Location: South Wilts
Could anyone shed any light on how reliable inpection reports are in the Independent sector?
I'm familiar with both the new and old OFSTED reports (and their weaknesses :lol: ) but I have no idea how much to trust the judgements made in Independent school reports.
Many thanks in advance.
Sycamore


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:19 pm 
Oh dear you may have just got me started!

As you are all well aware my sons have been to quite a few schools and the inspection reports are not to be trusted! I now only look at an inspection report to look at pupil intake both socially and academically.

My sons have been to two schools where the inspection reports were outstanding and I can tell you that they were virtually the exact opposite. I also went to see a school with and outstanding report and there was NO way my son was going there. The school that DS1 is now at had a mediocre report but the reality is very much different and the pastoral care is exceptional. It was satisfactory academically but yet I know that academically it is fantastic for all abilities.

Its also worth researching who the inspectors are because I noticed with X schools that other X school heads or teachers inspect them so I start to wonder if its an "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine"!

Reports are worth reading as sometimes it gives you more info that you didn't get from a report or visit, but gut instinct also helps. Don't be fooled by great facilities too.

P.S. X means a specific type of school but it would be libellous to mention them more specifically! :shock:


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:53 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 6:38 pm
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I am not sure about the reliability, but my daughter's school have had two years notice of the inspection, which seems far too long. They are also putting things in place for the inspection, much to our annoyance. Currently there is no setting at all in maths and they will do this for the inspection.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:47 am
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Location: Warwickshire.
TWO YEARS notice????
Good grief! You could build a new school within that time! They don't do THAT in the state sector...


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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Tipsy you are correct - there's no independent people involved unless it's run by Ofsted and few schools are brave enough for that!!

I have a friend who has been through both and says that the Private ones are 'not very demanding' and judgements on quality of teaching over-inflated.

Yes they do have massess of notice when state schools currently get a few days and Ofsted are trialling 'no notice' inspections!!


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:18 pm
Posts: 490
Location: kent
Another problem with independent school inspection reports is that it is difficult to compare them. Usually with OFSTED reports from a similar period in time (apart from the earlydays of OFSTED reports) the descriptions for each grade (for the school as a whole, for quality of teaching etc) are consistent across most reports. The independent reports do not seem to be done in this way, and they have a habit of reading a bit like a visit by a nice friend.

I had difficulties working out whether the report for the school that my step-daughter goes to was good, bad, indifferent. It helped me to read it alongside a school that I know well. I agree with Tipsy that good school can get poor report and vice versa. And this is also possible under the more rigorous and independent appearing OFSTED inspection system, particularly now that the amount of classroom observation has been cut significantly.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:28 pm 
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The new OfSTED that is being trialled (ie no notice) will have MORE lesson observations which I am pleased about. The current ones are far too bland!


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:41 pm
Posts: 686
Location: South Wilts
Thanks for the comments. I guess I was wondering about the kind of situation Tipsy was talking about, where you wonder how impartial the inspectors are. Have just re-read the ISI report and have had a quick look at the website.How is the ISI funded? Does anyone know?

Cynical old me was reminded of OH being invited to join a tade association (very trusted name). No assessment, no references, just an annual fee! :shock:

And on top of this I am considering this school as an insurance against DD not getting accepted for a free education at a GS which got 49/50 outstandings from OFSTED.

I'm still not convinced that this school offers real value for money, even against our local comp. :?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:12 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:51 pm
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I'm glad it isn't just me and my well known inverted snobbery. I've read a few of these reports and the only words that come to mind are "bland", "uninformative" and "unhelpful", they have all read suspiciously like the products of some sort of mutual admiration society. That said, the current Ofsted format is no better; hopefully a revised one will be more like the previous one.

Mike


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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Remember the current OfSTED was an attempt by the Government to save money .... fewer inspectors, fewer days .... focus on checking the school's self evaluation. This has led to a situation where some schools get unwarranted glowing reports because the teams don't 'dig' - they don't have time to!

:lol:

In Private schools the system is funded and run by the schools themselves - so they are certainly not 'independent' reports.


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