We were inspected by Ofsted on 16th January 2018. It is the 4th inspection I have experienced as headteacher of Camberwell Park School but my first experience of a Section 8 inspection. A section 8 inspection for us meant one day with two inspectors – 1 an HMI and an additional Ofsted inspector.
There is no doubt that having an inspection, brings pressure to bear on the school and I would be lying if I said I did not feel the immense pressure and burden as headteacher – the weight of responsibility of maintaining our Ofsted badge of success . After all, Ofsted is the common language in an external judgement of the school which is publicly available and used as a measure of how good the school ( and by default the headteacher) is in so very many ways. There were some things we had to do the afternoon , evening before in preparation – most of it logistical around timetabling and organisation of the day so that all aspects of inspection could be included. Whilst the documentation required was all present in school there was some gathering to be done too so that it was readily available when needed.
All this being said, we do what we do because it is the right thing to do not because we were being inspected. One of best things I heard in the days following inspection was from one of my teachers who was talking to some of the governors and said “we were calm because we were prepared – it is what we do all the time anyway.” I felt calm, school was calm and the attitude we took was that it was was an opportunity to share what we do and have professional dialogue in context of challenge and support
As part of our programme of self – evaluation, we are used to having external quality assurance – we welcome it as part of a bank of ways we self -evaluate our work as there is so much to learn from the challenge and support from others outside of the school including peer challenge and support such as cross- moderation of assessments as well as school improvement colleagues who undertake activities such as classroom observations and document scrutiny. Ofsted inspections are part of that bank of internal and external monitoring and checking which helps us to have an ““accurate, reflective and honest view of the school’s strengths and priorities” (Camberwell Park School Ofsted inspection report, January 2018) and ensuring that “There is a strong sense of school improvement never standing still in your school” (Camberwell Park School Ofsted inspection report, January 2018)
Whilst there are core expectations of things every school should have in place (quite a list of them!) e.g. statutory policies , core curriculum , thorough assessment of pupil progress, rigorous self – evaluation and clear school improvement planning to name just a few , we wanted to tell our own story as a school . Through our website, self evaluation processes and self – evaluation form and therefore during the Ofsted inspection we wanted to take the opportunity to give recognition to and to celebrate the things that are important to us. We have worked hard as a school to consider the words of Mary Rayner HMI when I heard her speak about the Ofsted framework early in 2017 when she told us we have the autonomy to tell our own school story about achievements in the widest sense as long as we could provide clear evidence. We considered as a school how we could ‘measure what we value‘ in a credible way and have since produced a series of case studies. For this reason the comment that “You break down barriers to learning, ensuring that pupils feel safe and confident to flourish, both academically and in their personal development” ( Camberwell Park School Ofsted inspection report, January 2018) means alot to us.
The school curriculum is the foundation of what goes on in the classroom and of the children’s experience of learning and our layered approach of core, enriched and personalised curriculum for our learners ensures a ‘motivating and exciting’ ‘rich, imaginative and varied learning experience that significantly contributes to developing pupils’ self -belief, confidence, personal development and life – skills” ( Camberwell Park Oftsted inspection report, January 2018). Dora our school dog even got as mention!
I found our Section 8 inspection a collaborative process . It was rigorous and thorough as it should rightly be but as we are not doing it just for Ofsted it was an opportunity to tell the school story through professional dialogue, interviews with stakeholders, time spent in school and review of range of information and QA sources.
If anyone is interested and would like to read our report here it is:
I am lucky to have a hard working and dedicated staff team and delighted that it was acknowledged in our report that “Staff share your aspirations for pupils” and that “Everyone lives up to your school acronym ‘PROUD‘, by being ‘Passionate’, Respectful’, ‘Organised’, Understanding’ and ‘Dedicated'” ( Camberwell Park School Ofsted inspection report, January 2018)
“This is a school full of smiles and laughter” ( Camberwell Park School Ofsted inspection report, January 2018)
I am PROUD to be the headteacher of Camberwell Park School
Headteacher Camberwell Park School