Ofsted chief’s ‘call to action’ shows her lack of understanding | Letters
Headteacher Rachel Hornsey says poor ratings are another cause of the deep divisions in our society. Saville Kushner thinks inspectors fail to understand the structural effects of poverty
In your report (Ofsted chief: white working-class children hindered by low aspirations, 22 June), Amanda Spielman claims to admire teachers in such areas and says a requiring improvement (RI) rating is merely a “call to action”. This shows a complete lack of understanding of the huge impact it has. I am the headteacher of a school whose population is predominantly low income, white working class. Last November, after a gruelling two-day ordeal, we received an RI grade. As an ex-local authority consultant and leader in three outstanding schools, I am fully confident that teaching in my school is at least as good as in schools with higher ratings, and is often inspirational. My staff work amid the huge pressures of leading social care cases and battling special educational needs and disability (Send) bureaucracy. During the inspection, my teachers were accused of not challenging children sufficiently in a kafkaesque charade as inspectors justified a grade based on data. We were told we lacked ambition, and were sneered at for the energies we invest in keeping Send children in our school while they await specialist provision.
Behaviour, safeguarding and early years were all recognised as good, but we still wear the badge of shame that is our RI grade, and are compelled to advertise it on our website to ward off more motivated parents who could be infected by our apparent “lack of drive”. A poor Ofsted grade is much more than a “call to action”. It is another cause of the deep divisions in our society.
Rachel Hornsey Headteacher, Lisa Knight, Louise Potter Assistant headteachers, Sutton Courtenay C of E primary school, Oxford
Published on 22 Jun 2018 at 03:42PM