School self-evaluation is a strange beast. There’s no requirement for schools to present it in a particular format and approaches vary up and down the country. How you go about the process is a matter for you and your governors to decide. So long as you know your school, and how it needs to improve, all will be good.
At some point during the last few years I’ve become a system leader. I’m not quite sure how this happened or whether I ever made a conscious decision to become one, but apparently I am. I’m not even entirely sure what I do differently now as a system leader that I didn’t do before.
Earlier this week I wrote a piece for the Guardian with the headline ‘A message to the new chief inspector of schools: on your first day, scrap your job’. You can find the digital version here.
I’ve become a tad obsessed with values lately. This is a good thing, I think, although it does preoccupy my thoughts to the point of probably being unhealthy. I even found myself driving round the block on the way to work last week so that I could listen to the end of Radio Four’s ‘Thought for the Day’. Not good and I had to have a quiet word with myself.
Despite the title of this post, it doesn’t feel like a victory. But in the end, it all came down to this: Either I continue to inspect and work for Ofsted, or I blog. It seems I can’t do both.
When I first had a flick through the latest inspection handbook a particular word caught my eye. It was the word ‘thrive’ and it pleased me considerably to see its inclusion. It appears in the teaching, learning and assessment sections as an outstanding grade descriptor:
School improvement is complex. We all know that. Turning a school round is not easy and it takes time. An awful lot of time. We are only as good as our previous twelve months – a slight dip in attainment, perhaps a difficult cohort or a stubborn long-term staffing issue and, bam – on a bad day we could end up in a category. It can feel like it could happen overnight.
I probably shouldn’t be writing about this as I’m sworn to secrecy. It’s been a strange few days, all rather furtive and under the radar. On Monday evening I attended a pleasant SSAT Reform Dinner in London held under the Chatham House Rules. I must admit, I had to Google what it meant but now that I know I’m not meant to write about it, I won’t.
Being a headteacher of an academy only a few miles from the Trojan horse schools in Birmingham means that I have taken more than a passing interest in the recent developments. It has made me re-visit our own Articles of Association to ensure that we do not find ourselves in a similar situation, especially now that we are a multi academy trust.
I have always liked to think that I have my finger firmly on the pulse of all things educational. However, these past few weeks I have found it rather difficult keeping tabs on the numerous blog posts on Ofsted’s latest proposals to improve the inspection process.
Those of us who remember the 1970s (and I’m not suggesting that I do) will possibly recall the publication of the influential Bullock Report. Called ‘A Language for Life’, it boldly states that ‘this report deserves to be widely read.’