Monday morning 8:20 phone call – Safeguarding inspectors will be with you by 9am.
I had been expecting it ( as most of us do) but the panic hits you like a brick wall. You have 40 mins of waiting as you can’t do anything until they tell you what / who they would like to see. All your policies have already been inspected as they are on the web site, so you twiddle your thumbs. The introduction briefing was fine, selection of staff, fine. But then they select pupils. You cross your fingers, please, please, please pick children who will actually talk. Of course they always manage to find the students who are either timid, will talk all the time and not always make sense or the pupils who you hope are in a good mood. Interesting mix. I play out the interviews in my head. This is how the questions would go.
Inspector: So if you had any worries about something, is there someone that you can talk to?
Child A : yep
Child B: worries, I don’t have any worries, everything is great apart from the time that I lost my sock and then it took me………blah, blah
Inspector: thank you, that’s fine, sorry for interrupting you. I mean if you had worries about bullying or feeling safe.
Child C: everyone is a bully, I hate everyone, the whole world is against me.
As usual though I worry over nothing. The feedback was that pupils like the school, feel safe and are a delight!, (are they talking about the same pupils) . Perhaps my pupils only act like that around me. Its like your own children. My kids never say thank you. Yet I hear when they go round their friends house, they are saying all the time (or so I am told). Either that or pupils know when its important. Most students I know are very loyal to the school and if an inspection is going on, they will want to talk about how great the school is and want to sing its praises. Just like the staff. Thankfully.
Obviously the day isn’t just about what that staff or pupils say, but it is the one part that no matter how much planning, documenting, organising, posters or training you put in place, you can control. For a control freak like me, its something I have had to deal with. I have faith in my staff and have learnt that to show this confidence in them I need to come across calm and not stressed about the problems and this will ripple out to staff. I enjoy reading all the advice on twitter about what makes a great leader. It has taken me some time to be confident and calm in order to help the staff, but it seems to have paid off at this inspection.