Ofsted – Buy A Goat?

23 Sep

During tea-time my 11 year old provided me with the highlights of her day. Usually this takes an hour or so, whereas with my lad – even if ISIS had turned up in the middle of Indoor PE and created a hostage situation in the hall – I’d be lucky to hear about it. But anyway, the girl started telling me all about the fact that her after-school childminder was reet chipper because she “got a great result in her OXFAM inspection!

I corrected her use of the word ‘OXFAM’, reminding her of the term ‘Ofsted’, it’s aims and objectives, mission statement and long-term strategic plan. (Okay – I exaggerate.) After that, the conversation went something like this:

HER: So Cameron and his lot pay people to come to schools and snoop on us all? That’s well out of order! I didn’t know that that happened!
ME: You do. We’ve had this conversation before. You’ve been at school through at least three different Ofsted inspections. Don’t you remember telling me about the teacher’s ‘different smile’ for the inspector?
HER: Oh yeah! Ha! Mrs [Nameless] had such a different face and smile and voice for visitors from outside to our school, than the ones she used for us.

Snooping kid grows up to become OFSTED child care inspector?

Snooping kid grows up to become Ofsted child care inspector?

ME: Well, to be honest, most grown-ups do that from time to time when faced with the fear of public humiliation, loss of career and the cost of paying for the anti-depressants.
HER: The inspectors – are they horrible then?
ME: No. Most of them are very nice. They were when I’ve dealt with them, anyway.
HER: Oh! So how did that happen? You don’t normally like to come anywhere near school! You tell Dad that it makes you feel ill and that you’d rather stab a knitting needle in your eye!
ME: I never do!
HER: You did! You said it the other week and I remember because you had a fork in your hand and you were doing this (mimics me pretending to stab myself in the eye with a piece of cutlery.)
ME: Well, alright. But that’s not because of your school. I love your school. And that’s why I like to speak to the inspectors. To tell them the specific bits that I really rate.
HER: So … even though everyone else is scared of them – were they nice to you?
ME: Well, they always seem a bit guarded at first. Because if a parent contacts them of their own accord, they assume that they are going to get a nasty old moan and horrible things said about the school.
HER: So they’re shocked that you say lovely things about a school?
ME: Yeah.
HER: Bet they think just that you’re being a right old crawly-crawly bum-lick for the school.

Ofsted. Raising Standards. Improving the profits of the pharmaceutical industry specialising in anti-depressants...

Ofsted. Raising Standards. Improving the profits of the pharmaceutical industry that specialises in anti-depressants…

ME: Don’t be rude. And I feel sorry for them too. The inspectors. They’ve got a ridiculous system of regulation that they have to wield and the criteria for assessment is constantly changing.
HER: Speak normal.
ME: Well… there’s a huge long list of things that a school or a childminder has to do in order to get top marks. And if they miss out on only one or two of them, they won’t get 100%.
HER: Like…?
ME: Right. Let’s google the ones that the teachers have to demonstrate. (I google.) Ruddy Nora! There’s millions of them! No wonder the poor buggers always look so knackered!
HER: Stop swearing. Grandma doesn’t like it
ME: Well… here’s one of the more ‘hard to prove’ ones. It says here that a teacher has to prove that their kids in the classroom feel ‘safe and valued’ by them.

Right! Which of you little swines told the Inspector that I didn't value you you all?!

“Right! Which of you little swines told the Inspector that I didn’t VALUE you?!”

HER: That makes sense. But they have about 30 kids. And what if one of them hated their teacher? Or just felt not-valued. They can’t prove that sort of thing! Like, for example – YOU say that you value me and love me and all that but you’re always….
ME: (interrupts) And look – here’s the list for childminders. In their home-setting, a childminder has to provide an area for ‘outside mark-making.’ That’s just insane. That’s just encouraging the little sods to grow up to become graffiti hoodlums!

HER: So my childminder wouldn’t get top marks if she didn’t let my brother scribble all over the garage door with a biro?
ME: Something like that.

We ended our very adult-conversation by concluding that some form of regulation for those who we palm our kids off to is a necessary evil. But that it’s all gotten very much out of hand these days.
And we decided that the world would be much better place to live in if the folk from OXFAM *did* regulate childcare and educational provision instead of Ofsted, after all. i.e.

Why should our pals in Namibia always be the ones who have the hand-me downs?

Yessir. Why should our street children pals in Namibia always be the ones who have the hand-me downs?

“Greenway Junior School failed to meet ‘OXFAM Outstanding status’ because several children were found to be wearing new school uniforms and NOT hand-me downs! This meant that the resulting money saved and sent to Namibia for the children’s school uniform and clothes in that country was reduced considerably. Shame on you.

AND…

“This childminder is rated as ‘OXFAM Improving’ because she drives a Hummer, which directly goes against our carbon-neutral policy and indirectly harms the indigenous people living in the Amazon basin. ‘Good’ status will be re-instated if she takes the children to school on horseback or via unicycle.”

unicycle

The kind of thing you’re expected to do in order to achieve the coveted ‘Ofsted Outstanding’…

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6 Responses to “Ofsted – Buy A Goat?”

  1. Sarah September 24, 2015 at 6:53 pm #

    The head of ofsted said to headteachers… “”If anyone says to you that ‘staff morale is at an all-time low’ you know you are doing something right.” Says it all really

    • funnylass September 24, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

      Please please tell me that this is an urban myth!! 😦

      • Sarah September 25, 2015 at 1:42 pm #

        No its very true. Was widely reported in the media at the time. There were e-petitions set up to remove him, but he and Michael Gove her best buddies at the time

        • funnylass September 25, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

          Damn….if I had already known that…one for a future blog, maybe..?

  2. juliathorley September 24, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

    How wise your daughter is. The idea that intangibles have to be proven is ludicrous. Can the absence of misery not be taken as an indicator of the presence of happiness?

    • funnylass September 24, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

      Ah – she has her moments! I also think that Ofsted should be checking ‘how happy’ the teachers are a bit more… the thought of some poor unhappy soul trying to beat an education into the minds of our nippers just fills me with dread.

      More massage and chocolate pudding for the teachers, I say!

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