'Championing the rights of children'

Ofsted is the last thing you need when a pupil is having a tantrum

Garry Thu 20 Dec 2012 09:54

A primary headteacher in a deprived area writes about the troubled lives of her pupils.

I'd been living with the expectation of The Phone Call for some months and had been nervously eyeing the clock every day around noon. However, when the call finally came, I was just trying to calm a child in my office who had been having a huge, violent tantrum in the hallway. Still breathless from carrying him, I picked up the phone and heard the fateful words: "Inspector for you".

Under the new Ofsted framework, the call is now from the lead inspector herself. There is no time for gathering oneself together.

That's it. She is on the phone. It requires a level of composure that I don't always have, but somehow, I managed to hold a sensible conversation. This consisted simply of the practical arrangements for the inspection, which would start the next day.

My staff soon adopted a "bring it on" attitude. Outside, so did I.

Inside, I was quaking. I know our strengths, but I also know what we still need to improve.

On the way back to my office, I saw my deputy head struggling up the corridor with the boy, and looking anxious. He had been attacking children in our support group, punching them, kicking and biting, tearing paper off the walls and throwing things at everyone.

Together we managed to get him into my office and were able to let go of him as he was now contained. He started pulling everything off the walls and pushing furniture over. Then he opened my cupboard,

grabbed a pot of yellow glitter, pulled the lid off and started throwing it everywhere, and on us.

How to deal with this when I needed to get so much done for the inspection and I could not even get near my computer? The boy started to swear. He then, quite deliberately, kicked my deputy head in the stomach. He moved so fast that we were not quick enough to stop him.

Read more ... (The Guardian - 17 December)