Twas The Night Before Ofsted


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.

Life After SATs


Life After SATs

This morning office doors were closed,

Coffee poured and papers shuffled.

Teachers ushered into rooms,

Whispered tones hushed and muffled.

For months we drilled the children

In SPaG and maths and reading

We went over complex sentences

Until our hair lines were receding

So we’re crunching all the numbers

And looking at the stats

To answer the big question:

Have they done well in their SATS?

Did Amar do enough,

To keep Ofsted from the door?

He was Level Two in KS1

So now he must be Four.

Did Andrew check his answers?

Did Kayleigh take her time?

Did Shreya understand

Why the poet wrote in rhyme?

Did they listen in our lessons?

Did they remember all our tricks?

To answer enough questions

To get a Level Six?

We’re proud of them, of course we are

They really did their best

But think of all the things they’ve missed

For this statutory test.

All the playdates that were cancelled

All the trips they didn’t take

All the drama they’ve missed out on

All the things they didn’t make

The children must be overjoyed

For what could matter more?

Than knowing enough answers

To get a Level Four.

If the results were not for Ofsted

And the political fat cats

We could teach them what they really need

For life after The SATs