Ofsted Report Was "Harsh" Says Chiswick School Head
Tony Ryan expresses disappointment over inspection report
The head teacher at Chiswick School has defended the school's performance and said the recent Ofsted judgement published this week was "harsh at best".
"I don’t think there is a school in the country that can sit back and state that all the boxes are ticked and it no longer requires any improvement, we certainly have areas where we know we have work to do, but to be labeled as a school judged not good enough to maintain its previous Ofsted assessment somehow feels harsh at best," said Tony Ryan.
In a letter to parents, he said the headline judgement that the school ‘requires improvement’ was where much of the attention would be focused and this was "a disappointing outcome" for a school that had made so much progress over the last eight years.
"As a school, we have never made Ofsted a major priority; some may say that there is naivety in that statement, given the outcome from this inspection. Our priority has been to create a school where students are proud to be part of an energetic, vibrant community, where they feel safe and supported and where good, well-trained staff members build excellent working relationships with their students.
From this approach, student progress and results have improved year on year and the school has provided for its students and the community that it serves well."
Referring to the fact that the Ofsted team also wanted clearer lines of accountability from the governing body to himself and hisi leadership team and through middle leaders to classroom level, he said that they had already restructured around making improvements in that area.
In the letter, Mr. Ryan pointed out that the inspectors had also found a strong ethos, culture and sense of community at the school, and that they had praised the teaching and the behaviour of students.
"There is so much to be proud of. The areas for improvement are clear from the report. We have always treated each student as an individual and have often been wary of categorizing groups of students within data sets."
He said he accepted that they were required to dig deeper into data of key groups within the school to ensure that every student, including the most disadvantaged makes the maximum progress possible.
"The inspection team accepted that we have closed the attainment gap between what the government now labels as those being ‘disadvantaged’ (free school meals and looked after children) from 27% a couple of years ago, to less than 5% last year. They also accepted that it was hard to identify a pattern of performance (either notably positive or negative) for students with Special Educational Needs or an identified disability, but wanted us to monitor these keygroups in more depth and to better evaluate the effectiveness of any interventions put in place."
Mr. Ryan said these were "fair points". There will now be three months before an Ofsted monitoring visit to check progress and two years before a full inspection.
He added that here would be parent information meetings for existing and potential parents this term to allow parents the opportunity to ask questions and hopefully put their minds at rest.
December 2, 2015