Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

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nvuser66
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Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

Postby nvuser66 » Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:47 pm

The latest Ravenstone Ofstead report (Nov 2013) has been compiled (as of this writing it's not yet been published on the website). The results are not good - it got a 'Needs Improvement' rating. This used to be called 'satisfactory'. The previous report from 2008 was 'Good', and it appears to have gone downhill since then. A number of categories need improvement, especially around pupil progress and school leadership.

We are concerned about this, as we have 3 children attending this school. We have other options for schools (who have recently been rated 'Good'), but don't want to make a knee-jerk reaction.

Does anyone else have concerns? Should we be too worried? We have noticed that at least one of our kids is not being challenged enough, and there appears to be a large emphasis on the parents driving their children's learning. By contrast, the Ofstead report said that not enough is being done in lessons to challenge the pupils. There is a lot of 'play', etc.

Anyone else have any thoughts?
papinian
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Re: Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

Postby papinian » Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:41 pm

I think that we need to go back to having full Ofsted inspections of all schools at least every three years, irrespective of how the school has performed in its most recent Ofsted. This latest Ofsted on Ravenstone comes five years after the previous one.

Posters in a recent thread on this website have made the point that Belleville's last proper Ofsted is now so old (six years or something like that) that it cannot really be relied upon.

This latest Ofsted on Ravenstone does not surprise me in the slightest. I participated earlier this year in a thread on this site where I, and other posters, made the point that, based on KS1 and KS2 results, Fircroft is now a materially better school than Ravenstone and that the preference of SOME parents for Ravenstone is based on unfounded social factors/prejudices which consider that a school with a larger percentage of visible ethnic minorities is less preferable than a school with a higher percentage of visible ethnic minorities.

Schools like Ravenstone which have a largely middle class parent base can often coast along without having good teaching because they benefit from parental support of children's learning (both by the parents themselves and also by paid tutoring etc.). This was the subject of a speech earlier this year by the Education Secretary.

In terms of what you should do, I would consider how happy your children are at Ravenstone and how disruptive it would be for them to move schools - both for the children themselves in terms of friends etc and also for daily drop-off / pick-up arrangements. You mention that you have other options for schools but can you be sure of getting all three into the same school at once? If you move them, the two times to do so are post-Christmas/New Year and over the summer. If your children are not being challenged enough - and you suggest that you have witnessed this yourself with at least one of them - would you have the money available for some tutoring. Tutoring is not just remedial, but can also be used to advance and challenge a bright child.

Also, what are your plans in terms of your children's secondary education? If you are looking at them trying to get into the Sutton grammars or into Graveney on the Wandsworth test or taking an exam for entry into independent schools at 11+ then you need to start thinking now about how to make sure that they get to the right level in time.

The one thing that I would note is that now that the Ofsted is out you are likely not the only parent thinking about possibly moving your children. Unfortunately, if you delay moving your children then you may find that the available places at those other schools that you were thinking of are grabbed by other Ravenstone parents moving theirs.
papinian
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Re: Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

Postby papinian » Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:42 pm

papinian wrote:which consider that a school with a larger percentage of visible ethnic minorities is less preferable than a school with a higher percentage of visible ethnic minorities.
Sorry - that should have read "which consider that a school with a larger percentage of visible ethnic minorities is less preferable than a school with a smaller percentage of visible ethnic minorities."
Cupcakesw12
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Re: Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

Postby Cupcakesw12 » Sat Oct 26, 2013 5:22 pm

Papinian- could not agree with you more!

My sister's two children attend Ravenstone and she has been tearing her hair out over the last week and I can share her thoughts on the matter with you.

The report is not a surprise, for quite a while now there has been a sense of complacency within the school, they knew they were very popular with local parents who would be both more than happy to pay for extra tutoring for their children (and so raise results) and also spending a lot of time raising money for the school.

The situation was "sweet"! and they, the school, have bought this whole mess upon themselves, I really do feel for the unfortunate children and parents who are now caught up in the middle of this.

As was mentioned on another thread, the parents feedback on the Ofsted site has also been most interesting.

I only live 50m away from the school and on the other thread I mentioned, Ravenstone was only going to be our 2nd choice, now it will not be on there at all.

The school needs a complete overhaul, in my opinion, new leadership and a new culture that will focus on the children far more than they currently are, and this will take time and a lot of effort.

As with most schools that suffer the same fate, parents do move their children out. I can share with you that my sister will be doing so asap once she can arrange a time to meet with the Head.

A sad state of affairs- the school have really let the local community down.
LauraBrown
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Re: Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

Postby LauraBrown » Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:44 pm

Gosh! People have said that Ofsted is getting tougher but still harsh when this happens. My advice is just to say that Wandsworth are really good at supporting schools through difficult times and seem to have loads of resource and expertise on hand which will i guess will be coming in the direction of Ravenstone. The additional scrutiny/support seems, in my limited experience, to lead to staff turnover if people are not willing to up their game. And I have been surprised by the fact that it actually doesn't seem to take too long (although it's clearly a lot of work!!) to change a school quite significantly. So, things may not be as bad as they seem, in fact, this may be the start of a great new phase...

I agree with papinian about the bizarreness of not inspecting all schools regularly as clearly so much can change!

Just a quick question about the parent view stuff on Ravenstone - not sure if if i found the part you were referring to cupcake as everything I read seemed to be all strongly agree or agree in favour of the school although may not have perused everything! What bit was the 'interesting' bit that you noticed? Or am in looking in the wrong place anyway?
mrsbfrombalham
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Re: Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

Postby mrsbfrombalham » Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:13 am

I think that, if anything, this report is a good thing, as it will prompt action for improvements. All of the points mentioned in the report are addressable and as a ravenstone parent I feel like I should be supporting my local school rather than run for the hills and take my kids out. The headmaster and his team have a duty now to make some significant improvements, and I trust that they will. I would agree that currently the quality of teaching at ravenstone does vary across the classes, but this is a good school in a great community. Now is probably the best time to start at ravenstone as I am convinced that there will be some drastic improvements in the next few months.
Pud1
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Re: Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

Postby Pud1 » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:15 am

Absolutely mrsfrombalham. Ravenstone is a great school that has taken a big knock following OFSTED. This must be a really tough time for them and I hope that the school community and the local authority will all rally round to help them through this blip. Onwards and upwards!
livegreen
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Re: Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

Postby livegreen » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:27 am

Papinian - There is absolutely no evidence for your point that people choose Ravenstone, or any school for that matter, based on the ethnic mix. Unless of course you can prove it. I look forward to your evidence.
Ravenstone has always been first choice for many parents in Balham because of its ethos, parent community and excellent results. Other schools in the area have improved in recent years and are catching Ravenstone, however none can demonstrate stronger results over several years.
It is going through a difficult time and needs to raise its game, this will only happen with the support of the parents and teachers. I am not sure if removing a child from a school that the majority of parents support would be in anyone's best interest, in particular the children.
papinian
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Re: Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

Postby papinian » Sun Oct 27, 2013 12:06 pm

livegreen wrote:Papinian - There is absolutely no evidence for your point that people choose Ravenstone, or any school for that matter, based on the ethnic mix. Unless of course you can prove it. I look forward to your evidence.
Ravenstone has always been first choice for many parents in Balham because of its ethos, parent community and excellent results. Other schools in the area have improved in recent years and are catching Ravenstone, however none can demonstrate stronger results over several years.
Understandably, I can't produce scientific evidence of factors parents take into account in choosing a school. However, only yesterday I was speaking with a couple on our road who said they would not apply for Fircroft for their child (starting Sept 2014) because of the high percentage of Asian children. (For what it's worth, the family are ethnic minority also.) Please note that I said that this is something that SOME parents have been taking into account - I never suggested that it is the majority of them.

What you say about Ravenstone's results simply isn't true. Apart from St Anselm's, the results of which have been consistently better than Ravenstone's over many years, Fircroft's results in each of the past three years have been better than Ravenstone's.

It's interesting for me to see people talk about Ravenstone going through a difficult time now that the Ofsted is out. The Ofsted is only a reflection of where things have been going at Ravenstone for the past few years. The original poster indicated that perhaps there is a bit too much play and not enough learning and stretching of children.
Cronut
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Re: Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

Postby Cronut » Sun Oct 27, 2013 12:37 pm

Papinian, you are spot on (again!)

Unfortunately, what we will witness now is a lot of excuses (very reactive) and nothing about why standards were allowed to fall in such a way- let us be clear you do not slide from Good to Needing Improvement unless there are major failings, so why were the school and the leadership not more proactive, especially as parents were feeding back their concerns (so I am told)?

I don't think we will get the answers that I seek but probably more of what an excellent school this is etc- Ofsted seems to think otherwise.

Anyone at the school going to put their hands up and take responsibility here? Or will it be a case of closing ranks and saving jobs...
LauraBrown
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Re: Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

Postby LauraBrown » Sun Oct 27, 2013 1:52 pm

It's very interesting that the last Ofsted report rated the leadership as outstanding. I don't completely agree that sliding from good to needs improvement means something is seriously wrong depending on how you define seriously I guess. If you read the last Ofsted, the signs are there of issues such as not tracking pupil's progress enough and not differnentiating teaching for different levels as much as they should. As I understand it, the framework has tightened up in certain areas since then and it is possible that actually not that much has changed rather than things have got dramatically worse. So perhaps the new report is reflective of the fact that schools are expected to drive ever harder these days and address any weaknesses. Which is obviously a good thing but not necessarily a cause for panic about the quality of education on offer there now. Onwards and upwards!
Ofsteadbollocks
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Re: Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

Postby Ofsteadbollocks » Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:11 pm

I am shocked and saddened by the recent Ravenstone Ofstead rating and to the reaction to it on this site - so frustrated that I am posting for my first time (on any social media).

I have 3 children at Ravenstone and am as thrilled with it now as I was 6 years ago (I remember well the anxiety that they might not get in and might instead be going to our second closest school, rated Ofstead good with outstanding features, but surprisingly undersubscribed - fancy that). The head and the teachers continue to create a school which my kids love, and which has made them happy and confident, and has given them an enthusiasm for learning and an above average attainment (an average level in their classes).

The teachers are talented, enthusiastic and care deeply about their pupils. I am not blinded by any sense of loyalty, the report itself says, "pupils behave well in school. They are happy, feel safe and have good opportunities to participate in a range of sporting, musical and cultural development. Attainment at the end of KS1 and KS2 is above average." Who is providing for this, if not the head and his staff?

Furthermore, the staff routinely go above and beyond their call of duty. No going through the motions here - an athletics team which is routinely borough (and beyond) champion, a successful swim team, before and after school and weekend running clubs, music clubs and choir, fantasticly creative and quality summer and Christmas shows, access to Wimbledon Junior tennis squad, Crystal Palace diving and performing at the Royal Opera House, school trips to the seaside where teachers will stand in the freezing sea to allow the kids to swim - I hope this report doesn't stifle their enthusiasm, I am not alone in being grateful to them for all their efforts and all the opportunities they provide for my children.

To say that the Ofstead report reflects major failings is misguided and in danger of panic mongering and creating undue anxiety - I'm not sure that any of us are privy to enough information from Ofstead to comment in the whole. My understanding is that a school can lose Ofstead "points" for fairly administrative issues - eg a support assistant not using a piece of equipment in the prescribed way (a bit like not passing the steering wheel through your hands in a driving test - but who continues to drive like that and is actually a bad driver?), or for keeping their admin records in a way which Ofstead this year deem to be unsuitable but which 3 years ago didn't have an opinion on. These are things which can easily be put right and I am in no doubt will be, such is the commitment from the head to pull out all the stops and to turn the report around.

The head is wonderful - friendly, accessible, an inspirational teacher and someone who cares deeply for his staff, pupils and the parents. He is an asset to the state education - I cannot see how he can improve and I hope he doesn't change his ways just to appease Ofstead.

Whilst I am grateful that our schools are inspected and accept the value of constructive criticism, I am deeply concerned about the disproportionate damage this rating will do to a wonderfully balanced school - short sighted and predictable, superficial and knee-jerk comments like those posted above. If you are considering Ravenstone, visit it, speak to parents, the headmaster (his honesty will be apparent), the teachers and the pupils, look at the results and then you will get to the heart of the school, and the Ofstead report may seem less important to you. If you have a choice, you may choose against it, but when the next report comes out and the rating is reversed, you won't kick yourself so hard.

If you are already at Ravenstone and you haven't yet understood the depth of quality it has to offer, or how lucky we are to have it as our local state primary school, then you should make your child's place available to someone who will. Farewell - I doubt you could fare any better.
JustSW17
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Re: Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

Postby JustSW17 » Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:48 pm

Ofstead reports will come and go, ill-informed and reactionary parents will continue to fret and create unease, but under Mr M's leadership, Ravenstone will continue to churn out supremely happy, confident and able children.

Good news that it's only a poor Ofstead rating - I personally fear the day that Mr M leaves and pray that it won't be while my kids are there.

And to whoever wrote that the leadership team has been coasting and complacent: that's nonsense and offensive to the committed and passionate teachers who go all out for the kids at the school.
papinian
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Re: Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

Postby papinian » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:02 pm

Ofsteadbollocks wrote:Furthermore, the staff routinely go above and beyond their call of duty. No going through the motions here - an athletics team which is routinely borough (and beyond) champion, a successful swim team, before and after school and weekend running clubs, music clubs and choir, fantasticly creative and quality summer and Christmas shows, access to Wimbledon Junior tennis squad, Crystal Palace diving and performing at the Royal Opera House, school trips to the seaside where teachers will stand in the freezing sea to allow the kids to swim - I hope this report doesn't stifle their enthusiasm, I am not alone in being grateful to them for all their efforts and all the opportunities they provide for my children.
As I said earlier, perhaps the issue is that there is too much focus on all of the above and insufficient focus on English, maths and science. At the end of the day, very very few children will make a living at athletics, swimming, running or music. However, better English or maths skills coming out of primary school will always assist a child at secondary and beyond.

There has been some interesting commentary over the past year or so about this very issue, with the point being made that schools with more disadvantaged intake often focus more on the core curriculum and less on peripherals and that their pupils do better as a result.

It's interesting to compare Ravenstone with other similar schools. Two figures that stood out for me are:

(i) a high level of students with a statement of special educational needs (over 16%) - significantly higher than other schools (Does anyone have any idea why this is the case?)

(ii) a higher percentage of expenditure on teaching assistants (22%) (which may or may not be related to (i) above).

The use of teaching assistants has been found to be less than helpful in terms of children's progress:
http://fullfact.org/factchecks/teaching ... ants-28975

The widespread use of teaching assistants is something that is a relatively recent phenomenon in the English school system. Other European countries don't have such use of teaching assistants. For what it's worth, I would much prefer more fully-qualified teachers and a lot fewer teaching assistants. (As an aside, I find it more than a little ironic that the Labour Party wants all teachers in free schools to be qualified but is opposed to any reduction in the number of teaching assistants who lack such teaching qualifications.)

Of course, many parents, understandably, see widespread use of teaching assistants as a positive thing, even though it is not.
Cronut
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Re: Latest Ravenestone Ofstead Report

Postby Cronut » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:28 am

Maybe I am being mischievous as I am on a day off, but are the two posters above Papinian staff at Ravenstone, just wondering!!