Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

English - the Home Front: Resources

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

English - the Home Front: Resources

Article excerpt

Blood, sweat, tears and toil ensure victory when Ofsted calls.

The enemy was fast approaching. The wail of an air raid siren sent us scurrying for cover. Clutching gas masks, we crouched in the darkness and waited as the drone of approaching bombers grew louder. "OK, children, I want you to climb out from under your tables and talk to your partner for one minute about how it felt to be caught up in a Second World War bombing raid."

Two days earlier, at a hushed emergency staff meeting, we had received the news that in 48 hours an Ofsted inspection team would be invading (I mean visiting) us. The spectre had been hanging over us all year. But it's not until you see the grey-suited convoy proceeding down the corridor that the reality hits.

Nothing galvanises teachers like the prospect of everything they have worked for over several years being laid to waste. A new fighting spirit was born, courage and comradeship flourishing like poppies along with a daring resolve to overcome adversity.

It requires a leap of faith to take risks when you work in a socially disadvantaged school where learning is not always at the top of every child's list of needs. And when Ofsted calls, it's all too easy to feel overwhelmed and to opt to do something safe and predictable. But with "satisfactory" no longer satisfactory, raw courage is what's required.

Or possibly luck, I thought, finding myself being observed teaching the Year 4 class studying the Second World War. Part of my remit in school is to deliver literacy through drama. …

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