Best Before: The Hypocrisy Of Ofsted Banners

There is a school I visit that displays Ofsted banners and signs. Nothing unusual in that you might think.

It isn’t, lots of schools display them as a badge of honour to let the whole world know that they are ‘Outstanding’.

The thing is, the school I am talking about displays it’s ‘Outstanding’ signs from the academic year 2013/2014. Talk about out of date.

The school want to convince passers-by and parents that everything is tickety-boo, fine and dandy, awesome and exactly the sort of place you should send your children. It isn’t.

As we all know, Ofsted judgements date rapidly. As soon as the inspection team have left the judgements made are already worthless because they are mere snapshots.

The school might very well have been outstanding at that very moment in time (really?!) and have all the data to back it up. But what about in the weeks after the inspection? What about in the last 5-6 years?!

With a change of Senior Leadership Team (x2) and a high staff turnover since, things will have changed at the school I am talking about and they have. You could challenge everything in the last report and say the school is now a sinking ship. Yet no one has taken down the Ofsted signage and if you are driving by the school then the word ‘Outstanding’ jumps out at you.

Ofsted banners and badges have always been ‘fake news’ and don’t represent what the school is like, especially years later.

If you must display an Ofsted banner then at least have the honesty to show something that isn’t from a different period of history. In fact, look at what the The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has to say in its ‘101 ideas to help you manage inspection’. Number 91 reads:

Reconsider your banner: whilst you may be proud of your inspection result, remember Ofsted is not the only mark of success. Perhaps the views of your pupils and parents would be a refreshing and welcome alternative!

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