This week started much like any other, preparing lessons and resources for the week, getting classrooms set up, and introducing the children to new concepts; that was until Tuesday lunchtime when we got the dreaded call. As staff gathered together, everyone was nervously discussing their plans for the next two days when our Core Leadership Team came in to brief us. I must say, despite the fact none of us were exactly excited about the days ahead, we were made to feel inspired and encouraged by management which really helped ease us into the inspection.
Image source: https://www.nurseryworld.co.uk
On day one, observations were rife. No one was safe, and although this was intimidating, we just did what we always do, teach to our best standard. It’s often suggested that for Ofsted we should be delivering lessons with bells and whistles, ones where year one children are reciting War and Peace from memory. This time around I knew this was so far from what was needed. Yes, we made extra sure that every member of staff had resources ready and prepped in the morning (we’ve all had days where Mrs Lloyd is running to photocopier to grab the Theme plans), and yes, we talked through our lessons with our colleagues beforehand, but ultimately we were our everyday selves.
The inspectors took books to measure progress, spoke to children, observed transitions throughout the day, met with teachers, the Senior Leadership Team and of course, our Core Leadership Team. A team made up of an Executive Principal, Principal, Deputy Principal and two Assistant Principals, all of whom were not only ready for their role in the day, but ensured every single member of staff felt supported and ready in theirs. We were all asked about progress (of course), assessments, provision for target children, safeguarding and also wellbeing. We were encouraged to be honest and concise in our feedback and we were. We all sang our school’s praises, and we really meant it, because what it really boils down to is the fact that we love our school and we are passionate about every aspect of it. The children here are loved, supported and challenged in equal measure, the staff are developed and listened to, and we know that every single person here wants the absolute best for the children we work with.
So, if you are awaiting the call yourselves, I won’t tell you not to panic, but I will say that if you can go in and fight for your school, show them your determination to be better and your commitment to the progress and attainment of the children in it, despite any grading, you’ve succeeded. We made it out alive… somehow!