Ofsted – the good, the bad or the ugly!

How much input do you have in your child’s school?  We are told on a daily basis that the school/home partnership is crucial to a child’s success and being actively interested in your child’s school/education is a vital part of their educational progress, but just how many of us really are able to take this on and just how many parents (in the UK) are actively encouraged to have a voice about such issues.

Today at 9 o’clock we were informed that Ofsted would be inspecting my sons’ school, Carre’s Grammar School, today and tomorrow.  Attached to the texted notification was a letter from Ofsted inviting parents to contribute their opinions through a survey – the cut of time was 11 am (although agreed they would accept forms after the time but that ‘might not’ give inspectors time to consider the contents).  That was 11 am – two hours after the original text was sent – on a weekday when the majority of parents will be at work and unable to reply.  The other option available was to speak to an inspector on (presumably a telephone number) but the contact details had been omitted!

Now my sons’ school is an excellent establishment.  Like everything there are good and there are not so good but on the whole we’ve had three boys go through the system and each has achieved well.  They are not afraid to listen to parent’s view and certainly would not treat parents with the disrespect that the aforementioned Ofsted letter did and in doing so, we have found that over the years the net result has been a positive, happy and enlightened education for the boys each of whom have achieved well above anything we could have ever hoped for!  The question therefore remains exactly what does Ofsted hope to achieve by sending out a survey with such a short response time so as to eliminate most parents from the process?  I will leave you to draw your own conclusions on that.

The fact that remains and starkly stands out from this though is that the government (aka Ofsted) clearly do not value parents opinions!  They may stand in judgement on the parenting standards of the mass (as they see it today) but how, may I ask can anyone stand in judgement if first you have not tried to stand in their shoes!

Parents do have a voice and with that voice comes a responsibility.  To degrade either is to degrade the standards that we have for our young people.  Those standards needs to involve an open dialogue between parents, schools and students in an arena of respect and mutual responsibility.  Yes, parents may make mistakes but so do government and their organisations but nurturing tomorrow’s generation should neither be about pointing the finger or disregarding anyone – it needs a collaboration of intent to work together (truly work together) to foster a fulfilling, wonderful and worthwhile experience for tomorrow’s adults!

So come on Ofsted – step up to the mark!


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