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 Post subject: Ofsted reports
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 5:50 pm 
Merry Christmas, everybody!
I have a question. Can you rely on schools' Ofsted reports to make an opinion on them? I have encountered a case of a horrible school with an excellent report. Ofsted inspectors only spend a short time in schools during their visits. How can all areas be assessed accurately in short time?


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 Post subject: Re: Ofsted reports
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:24 pm 
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Location: Gloucestershire
Christmas guest1 wrote:
Merry Christmas, everybody!
I have a question. Can you rely on schools' Ofsted reports to make an opinion on them? I have encountered a case of a horrible school with an excellent report. Ofsted inspectors only spend a short time in schools during their visits. How can all areas be assessed accurately in short time?


Hmm. Personally, no. I look at the OFSTED, SATS results as well. But most of all I look round the school, chat to pupils if possible. Are there bright, shiny, happy pupils in the school? What are the facilities like? Provision for music, arts? Do the staff look happy?

If the Ofsted were true random, snap visits, I'd place more trust in them, but I saw recently DD's school preparing for an Ofsted, and it was almost unrecognisable. Suddenly a board with 'composer of the month' appeared in the hall - it stayed there for exactly 2 months after the exam, changing once. I think their normal composer of the month is 'Charismatic Christian CD Composer' judging by what they normally get in assembly. Special lessons were practiced and repeated. It was just so false.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:26 pm 
I have worked in schools as a T.A this, and being a mum where kids have attended several different schools, is the extent of my knowledge- an ofsted report gives you an "idea" of the type of school and it's results.If you measure this with the way a school "feels" on an informal visit and then listen to parents who have kids there, you should get a good idea of it's it is the right place for your own kids. I was lucky enough to work in a school for 6 months, so I could transfer my daughter with confidence.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:25 pm 
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Some schools are unrecognisable from their reports!! The visit is so short that very few lessons are seen - and none in at least one of my local schools.

The 'no notice' OfSTEDs' might be better ...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:49 am 
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Location: Gloucestershire
proud mum x 2 wrote:
If you measure this with the way a school "feels" on an informal visit and then listen to parents who have kids there, you should get a good idea of it's it is the right place for your own kids.


We did the rounds of local schools this year just to get an idea. There's a secondary close to my office that has a really good reputation, is improving like mad, felt warm and welcoming, nice head, good Ofsted & reasonable SATS...

Yet (if DD doesn't pass 11+) we will not send her there. Why? Well, it's a sports & technology specialist school, but quite poor arts provision and average Maths & English - almost all special needs provision is sent towards the much less able (and has a great reputation for that as well). DD just would not fit in there - her bouncy character would make her stand out like a sore thumb.

There's another school with a worse reputation, worse buildings closer to home. We all go there for Saturday Music and it's a dump. Or so we felt until we looked round during the school week. They have some great new buildings, a warm, welcoming library, and strong IT, Music, Drama & English departments. DD would fit in there. Although she'll fit in even better at the even closer girls grammar.

It really comes down to how it feels as much as anything.

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