It has been the most up-and-down couple of weeks. Last Monday week, we finally were notified that the school was to receive its Ofsted inspection, having been waiting for notification for over a month (we had been told that we were in the pilot for the new regime, but not when the inspection would happen). We had spent a few days getting ready and the rest just getting haggard.
Then we had the inspection and were told the result, but were not allowed to tell anyone until the findings had been moderated and verified. That was on Thursday evening. On Friday came the news about the illness of our caretaker. On Monday, we had a post-Ofsted get-together among the staff, and on Tuesday, the caretaker died. Yesterday brought the sad news about Aaron, our young pupil, but the Year 11s were, with the blessing of his parents, going ahead with their end of year prom tonight. We were still waiting for confirmation of the inspection, we could not be confident of anything and the waiting was nerve-wracking.
Just before 5 o'clock this evening, the Headteacher emailed me and all the staff with the news that the result is official. We can go public.
If you have nothing to do with schools, it will not mean much to you, but our rural, comprehensive school with nothing apparently remarkable about it, run-down buildings and a lower than average attainment in its incoming pupils has sailed through its Ofsted and gained an Outstanding, the highest evaluation, gained by 10% of schools overall. Proud? Yes indeed. I'm damn proud. I have read the report, but it isn't online yet, so I'll just quote one sentence - "The school is a striking example of an integrated community with everyone working towards a single vision."
Oh, and a sentence from the letter to the students - "Your school is extremely well led and the staff work together well to support you and provide you with an excellent experience."
Twenty-three years, I've been a school governor, eighteen years at one school and nearly thirteen years at this one (do the math, darling, there was an overlap). Both schools have always been good. For the last six months, I've known we were outstanding and now we have corroboration.
And yes, we have lots of plans for improvement.