I agree with that
Mrs Florist is a primary headteacher who has undergone several Ofsted inspections.
Her view on Ofsted is that the outcome has an unfair impact on the reputation and therefore the future of the school, as the inspection criteria are arbitrary and constantly changing, and the inspection process can be demeaning and inconsistent.
(For example, once her school was inspected in the first week of September, and received criticism that some teachers didn’t have a thorough understanding of the specific needs of individual pupils, including those 4 year olds who had literally been in school for two days.)
Nevertheless, Mrs Florist’s school has been consistently judged to be Good by Ofsted and so is now inspected about every four years (2007, 2010, 2014, 2016, 2019, so one due soon, maybe, or maybe not). The school has one day’s notice of when it is to be inspected. As a result, her next Ofsted inspection is on her mind all the fucking time, which is not great for her own mental health – she is noticeably less stressed during the week after Thursday lunchtimes, because she knows Ofsted won’t be coming that week.
Mrs Florist is excellent at her job, experienced with Ofsted and emotionally resilient. But Ofsted is still a massive weight on her shoulders and a distraction to all the other shit she has to deal with in looking after hundreds of kids and a hundred or so staff.
Ruth Perry’s school had been judged to be Outstanding in 2009 so, under the rules of the time, didn’t need to be inspected again at all unless there were specific concerns about the school. As a result, she will have had no experience of the changing demands of Ofsted over the 13 years between inspections, and will have plummeted from hero to zero overnight.
Lots are thinking about it. Mrs Florist knows several good heads who have had serious mental health burnouts/breakdowns after less catastrophic Ofsted inspections than Ruth Perry’s, and left the profession. It’s broken them.
It's obviously true that going as far as taking her own life makes Ruth Perry an outlier, and that there are any number of reasons why that may be. Ofsted didn’t kill her.
But the majority of teachers don’t join the profession because they dream of going into management. They go because they are committed to the education and wellbeing of the kids in their care. They are not Billy Big Bollocks TUP types. They are collaborative, empathic and caring personalities.
Culturally, treating a primary school like it was a corporation undergoing some kind of McKinsey review to bolster its share price is inappropriate. Ofsted at its worst is exactly like that.
It's more like the pressures of the role that Ofsted applies are not appropriate pressures to support the needs of running a school.
Lots of posters on here with family links to teaching. Mine are that my daughter teaches in a Mansfield primary school, (been ofstedded a couple of times in her career which caused huge stresses) while Mrs Charlie used to teach (or manage) disaffected teenagers in Corby at FE level, where the main challenge was not so much Ofsted but more about keeping the kids out of jail.
My parents were both teachers. Mum taught French but only part time after having my sister and me. I remember her coming home one day and saying 'how do I teach kids to tell the time in French when they can't tell it in English?' - and that wasn't an immigration / kids not speaking English issue, it was a junior school and general parenting failure. The kids she got to teach were just hugely under-educated. Dad was a high school deputy head and maths teacher. And he ran the computer club. And the chess club. And refereed rugby. And umpired cricket. I vaguely remember him having budgetary battles with County Hall, but I'm so glad they both retired in the early 90s and avoided having to deal with what goes on nowadays.
I had to present to the staff at our King's old school recently (Charles, not Cooper). To get them on side, I opened with this.
"My mum was a teacher.
My wife is a teacher.
My eldest son is a teacher.
My daughter is a teacher.
My youngest son is currently studying for a Dance and Musical Theatre degree and has ambitions of performing in the West End and Broadway.
So he's probably going to be a teacher..."
A very well timed joke. Brings the fucking house down among teachers, that one.