Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Under Inspection

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Under Inspection

Article excerpt

respected authority

I learned that I was to face my first inspection as a headteacher by text message.

"RING THE SCHOOL RIGHT NOW. THEY'VE CALLED," said the message from Lynda, my PA. It caused hilarity for those around me as I had just started a four-day inspection skills course.

I raced back to school to take the call from the lead inspector. Unusual as it may sound, I warmed to him. He was a very experienced special school headteacher and clearly knew his stuff.

"I'll want to see your self-evaluation form (SEF) tomorrow, please," he said.

At 8am the next morning my team and I sat with him as he looked at the front page of our SEF. "You understand the implication of these numbers, don't you?" he said.

He was looking at the 3s in the boxes entitled "behaviour and safety", "leadership and management" and "overall effectiveness". We knew that behaviour was not good enough so, by definition, leadership must also require improvement and the implications for the overall judgement were obvious.

We watched a science lesson first and went back to my office for the "Does the headteacher know what he's talking about?" conversation. I told the inspector all the reasons why I thought the lesson was below par. …

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