So you have worked your socks off for months ready for your inspection. You know your school is good but you still worry and listen to every bit of gossip about what the inspectors ask to see. For example I heard that one inspector asked for a list of all guest speakers. He didn’t want it as a diary (maybe from reception who keep track of everyone who visits and their purpose) and he didn’t want it as separate lists (say one list for PSHE speakers, anther for Politics talks), he wanted one list with their topic and evidence to prove that the school had done a background check on each speaker so they couldn’t radicalise our students. Mmmmmmmm I thought a bit. Not sure I could produce a list straight away. So I spend some time (a couple of hours) looking at how we can do this and still maintain it through out the year. It’s now linked to our school calendar. No one uses this facility as we check all guests’ background including portable DBS and this is done through our calendar. So it kind of feels like a waste of my time, but still it makes me feel prepared for the inspection and therefore calms me.
This is just one example of the inspection gossip. Others have included: randomly stopping members of staff and asking who the safeguarding officer is. Interviewing teachers and asking what the KCSiE says about the Channel programme. Asking for evidence of learning and progress in PSHE. These are all reasonable investigations but you can imagine what DSL are busy doing as soon as they hear this possibility.
So imagine then all this hard work and then after the inspection, the feedback is…………. Your school is compliant. That’s it. You can either fail or be compliant. 7 mins in total it took for the compliant element of the inspection feedback. I felt like jumping up and going, but hang on, we are more than that. We are great. We know our faults but are working hard (really hard) to improve upon these and that has meant that we are stretching ourselves. But of course you are polite and smile and say thank you to the inspectors (chairman of the governors is sitting right next to me). As I leave the room, every is saying well done to me (as the DSL) and to our Health and Safety officer, but I just feel flat. I can totally see why schools put “outstanding” on their banners and websites when they achieve that, because surely that is what we all strive to be. So no wonder I feel as flat as a pancake at the moment.
Oh and no inspector asked to see my list of guest speakers!