The findings of our recent Ofsted Inspection are published today - Ofsted Report. The Inspectors awarded TPS the following grades:
Leadership & Management Outstanding
Behaviour & Safety Outstanding
Quality of Teaching Good
Overall Effectiveness Good
I am disappointed and a little irritated not to have been awarded Outstanding across the board, particularly when you hear what Inspectors actually said. Here are some soundbites from inspectors that I noted during the two days:
n “This is an amazing school.”
n “This is the only school I’ve ever inspected where I’ve found no evidence of low level disruption.”
n “Behaviour for learning is impeccable.”
n “I haven’t heard one swear word all the time I’ve been here.”
n “This is the best Parent View I’ve ever seen”
n “I’ve just observed the best lesson I’ve ever seen.”
n “Achievement for the More Able and for SEN(D) children is Outstanding.”
n “Would I send my child here? In a heartbeat.”
I am delighted that the children’s Outstanding efforts, conduct and attitudes have been acknowledged, but when you read the full report you will be left wondering just why it’s not 1s all round! It is a terrific report - far better than Ofsted 2010 - the problem is that Ofsted has since moved the goalposts.
In Ofsted terms, we were not awarded the full Outstanding for one key reason: we have yet to fully demonstrate that the achievement gap for disadvantaged children (those in receipt of Pupil Premium funding) is closing.
Put simply, 98% of last year’s Year 11 (including many of our Pupil Premium Year 11s) were on or above target in their GCSEs: we know this because we ‘added value’ overall, but four students on the Pupil Premium list just missed their English and Maths targets by one grade.
Inspectors are told by the ‘powers that be’ that, no matter how brilliant a school might otherwise be, if they’re not closing that gap fast enough, they can’t be designated ‘Outstanding’. On the one hand it does seem very unfair when everything else in school was judged to be Outstanding or very, very Good, but if our own school genuinely aims to leave no child behind, we shouldn’t really complain.
I actually applaud the concept of turning the national educational focus on the progress of the least advantaged kids in our schools: I’m just not convinced that the current political ‘solutions’ and an Ofsted ‘sledgehammer’ will prove to be the most effective method to improve things.
In my initial discussion with Governors I have already signalled to them that the school should go all out to retrieve its Outstanding grade as soon as realistically possible. I know that there’s already little daylight between any group of students in Year 11 and Year 10 and, once we have proven that at GCSE, we should ‘call Ofsted in’ for re-inspection within months.
I’d like to thank all those parents who took the time to fill in Ofsted’s Parent View survey: you gave us the strongest possible approval ratings and (if you’re a little sad like me and want to have a look) an overview that is much stronger than all the other current Outstanding schools in Hampshire, which is very encouraging. I’d particularly like to thank the Year 7 mum who came in personally on the first morning to tell the Lead Inspector just how well TPS was working for her daughter.
In the meantime, you can rest assured that your child continues to attend one of the best schools in the region and we shall not let up in our quest to offer him/her a genuinely world-class education.
N C Poole