In the penultimate week of the Autumn term 2014 we received The Call. You know, from Ofsted. As I’m sure you can imagine/know first hand – the 24 hours between getting the call and Ofsted arriving are the most intense, hysterical and exhausting you’ll ever experience when working in a school. Moods swing unpredictably between anxious and stressed to hysterical and giddy; before my first Ofsted inspection in 2011 I had a light-saber battle with the head teacher (using rolls of backing paper because light-sabers aren’t allowed in schools.)
I digress. The first thing a school has to decide is how and when to tell the staff. Ideally this is done as soon as possible to give everyone maximum time to prepare. This normally involves putting all the children into the hall for a “surprise assembly” and calling everyone to the staffroom ASAP. Phone calls are made to loved ones, childcare arrangements are made and various takeaways are ordered. Perhaps the only enjoyable aspect of those 24 hours is the “Blitz spirit” that takes hold. Parents, partners and friends turn up to help tidy book corners, prepare resources and make coffee; all differences and niggles are put aside as everyone pulls together for the sake of the school.
As you can imagine I had a lot to do in the 24 hours between “The Call” and “The Inspection” but for some reason ( I blame the aforementioned “giddiness”) before planning my lessons or preparing for my interview I decided to write this poem which I shared with the staff over fish and chips that night.
I would like to dedicate this post to all the lovely staff at that school who were, and continue to be, outstanding in every way.
‘Twas The Night Before Ofsted
‘Twas the night before Ofsted, and in every room,
Was a feeling that they’d be arriving quite soon.
The SEF is submitted, the lessons are planned,
The result undecided as we prepare our hand.
The Tracker is ready, the Raise is all green,
The Learning Environments are a sight to be seen.
Fish and chips are consumed as we hash out our days,
That’ll show we’re outstanding, in so many ways!
Paper on everything; tables, desk, floor,
Don’t worry about pens we’ve ordered some more.
Next-steps and targets are ready to go,
But secretly I’m praying for quite heavy snow.
Will the inspectors be kind, good natured and human?
Will they be warm in the interview with myself and Miss Newman?
Will they recognise all of the good we do here?
And will they be sweetened by our Christmas cheer?
They can’t fail to see how brilliant we are,
The children will wow them; they’re all superstars,
Our school is outstanding we all know it’s true.
If you can’t see that Ofsted, then no presents for you.