Day 1 OFSTED

I had a fitful night’s sleep and woke up frequently, adrenalin rushing through me. Soon it was early morning and I could hear the faint honking of the Canadian geese along the canal. Their raucous noise usually wakes me up but today I beat them to it before they could build up to a crescendo!!

I sped along the motorway to work in a state of half anxiety, half hopeful expectation; I arrived in tandem with my head and a colleague…..it was not much past 7am and Mr Inspector was due at 8 am. We grinned at each other and entered the building with a resigned demeanor ; a long two days beckoned.

My head has had no sleep for a variety of reasons yet remains cheerful. On the dot Mr Inspector arrives. He seems very pleasant and later on addresses the staff with an air of positivity. I have provided choccy biccies and ginger ones..soon only ginger biccies  are left!! I normally drink tea but today strong coffee entices me! Caffeine hit!

The children arrive and enter their classes with mixed results; our staff are brilliant and deflect/encourage/support to ensure a calm start to the day.

Our kids react badly to change but today they did us proud and rose brilliantly to the challenge of showing us their best side; some, sadly struggled but we did our utmost and
all went on to do their best in their own way.

It has been a long day and we are all exhausted. The children have done well and we are hopeful of good things. After staff go home, Mr Inspector reports his findings which are supportive in the main; we need to accept that situations can change quickly. Our children do well but we need to look at the bigger picture .We have a discussion about the progressive continuum which OFSTED are fond of ; do our children make enough steps, relative to their starting points , that ‘ordinary’ children make? I argue that the kids come to us with a range of undiagnosed needs which we have to unpick first! Mr I accepts this but we need to demonstrate small steps of progress ; special schools do it. But, I argue, special schools have these issues sorted before statements/EHC Plans are issued….we do not!

The arguments range back and forth and I feel my control slipping; it has been a VERY long day! Each hour feels like two……I try not to snap …..not helpful….we still have tomorrow to get through….

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Ofsted is now here so deal with it

We got The Call at lunchtime…..the Head actually ran to her room saying It’s The Call….complete with capital letters!! I was on dinner duty and kept anxiously nipping to her room, seeing her in animated conversation and waving a pencil about to punctuate her points! Her chair was swivelled towards the window so I couldn’t see her expression….

I started to tell a few staff, knowing that some would want to change their evening arrangements….some had to sort out child care. It actually felt unreal…almost like an out of body experience….I actually felt dizzy at one point and had to sit down! Some staff felt the same….one has been unwell and still hasn’t regained her voice! Something that had been talked about for so long and often with foreboding had now arrived!

For our head this is her first OFSTED as the lady in charge and her mettle is about to be tested! Her last experience was as a deputy the day before her interview for our headship! She shone and I know she will rise to the occasion!!

And so it begins….the school is clean and tidy as a new pin….health and safety has been checked and rechecked….safeguarding has been safeguarded. Plans have been made, panic attacks have been quelled….one by one we trudged home exhausted and we will arise early in varying degrees of trepidation. I should be in bed not blogging but adrenalin has kicked in! Adversity gives me energy ( hence the job I am in!) and I spent the afternoon with colleagues sorting out planning and finding resources and printing out materials….I do not have a teaching commitment but the weight of expectation and a mix of hope and dread hangs heavy on my shoulders. A quick burst of ‘We are Team xxxx’ and a little jig did the trick in some quarters, raising a smile!

Later when staff had gone , the head and I and vice chair of governors ironed out a few difficulties, dotting ‘i’s and crossing ‘t’s…..stifling a yawn or three….and I headed for home…it has been a long 14 hour day!! I left the head preparing to put in at least another hour!… that’s OFSTED for you….never unknowingly increasing the pressure of an already difficult job!

And so tomorrow…up with the lark and into work as the sun rises…hey ho. …just another day in the life of..

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