An inspector calls: the day the head of Ofsted visited one school
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the new head of Ofsted, is criticised by some teachers for his forthright views. So how would they react when he paid a visit to one school?
An Ofsted inspection is always a stressful time for a school. It could be the moment when hard work is finally garlanded with a glowing report, or the occasion when a single teacher having a bad day tarnishes the reputation of all his colleagues. Today, it is the chief inspector himself who is visiting.
On a muggy spring day, Sir Michael Wilshaw sits in a cab whizzing down a dual carriageway flipping through a yellow plastic folder which holds Park View school's most recent Ofsted report. The taxi driver confides: "I used to go to this school."
"Was it a good school?" Wilshaw asks.
The driver's reply is diplomatic. "It wasn't the best school. But it was OK."
The chief inspector laughs. "A satisfactory school …" The word "satisfactory" is uttered with a drawl of disapproval. Fresh from his success at transforming a Hackney secondary into the most lauded school in England, Wilshaw has become the public face of the country's inspection regime.
It's a regime that will bring plenty of change. He is scrapping the "satisfactory" category for under-performing schools. Instead, this grade will become "requires improvement"; a far more brusque verdict. From the autumn, schools will face inspection without notice, so that inspectors see classrooms "as they really are". At present, schools get two days' warning.
Read more ... (The Guardian - 27 March)