livegreen wrote:Had dinner last night with a senior Ofsted official and this report came up as did the changing criteria Ofsted use to judge schools.
A couple of points is that Ofsted use data, and in particular progress of children, a lot more now and often have a grade in their head before they arrive at the school, they then find evidence to back up the grade. The data provided will indicate if a school has relaxed too much or is not keeping data correctly - this would lead to a requires improvement in most cases.
The new Ofsted criteria is much tougher and most schools will drop at least a grade with new criteria compared to old (unless of course they have improved).
The inspectors have been told only to give an outstanding where everything is outstanding and there is a lot of data(again) to back up progress over every year group over a couple of years - so really difficult for schools which have improved quickly, have new head teacher, or are new schools to get an outstanding grade.
Her advice was the same that many people have given here, visit the school, talk to the parents, read the Ofsted report (bearing in mind when inspection took place), talk to the teachers and read Parent View.
Her feeling on schools similar to Ravenestone was that this could be the wake up call they need and that they can quickly return to good/outstanding with correct leadership.
I wrote this last year during the debate on Ravenstone's OFSTED and from other discussions I had over the Christmas holidays, and from what has been in the press recently I would confirm that OFSTED should only be one part of the evidence that parents look at.
Having said that I have just read the OFSTED report from the Bolingbroke and it is clearly an excellent school with the foundations in place to be outstanding soon, if not already as the pointers given by OFSTED are easily implemented. The good rating also means OFSTED will be back in 3 years which for a new school is actually rather a positive thing.
I would advise anyone judging a school to visit it, talk to the staff, the current parents as well as reading the OFSTED report.
My own discussions with parents with children at the Bolingbroke Academy support and echo what the parents like Anna Maria say on this thread.