And then came the dreaded phone call.
The Ofsted man was coming, (only it was a woman and two men.).
“Bring’m on” said the Headteacher. “We’ve got so much good stuff to show them.”
“Yes” said the teachers.
“I’ll just tidy my room a bit.”
They all just tided their rooms a bit.
For quite a time they tidied their rooms for a bit,
but that was alright.
The Inspectors arrived. (there was no clap of thunder or wicked laughter. It was quite sunny and how those beans had grown.)
“Why is everyone so happy here?” they said. “Why are people being so nice to us” they enquired worryingly.
“We talk to anyone here ,” said a small boy with a Civil War Cannon ball in his hand, “Smiling’s free. My mum said so. This is really heavy. Do you want to hold it?”
“Mmmm ” agreed the Headteacher, “would you like a cup of tea then…I mean if you don’t want the cannon ball that is?” The inspectors frowned. “a biscuit then?”
the inspectors inspected the files
And the inspectors inspected the data
And the inspectors inspected the policies
And the inspectors inspected the great SEF
And the inspectors inspected anything that would be still and inanimate.
This probably explained why they avoided children so much. Tricky unpredictable things children.
They never did get to share the Civil War. I guess they had no Magic Beans.
They went into four classrooms for 20 minutes each. Never noticed the Chicken laying the golden learning eggs. But some can’t see for looking can they?
Eventually all was inspected and all tick boxes were ticked.
So then they called the Headteacher and Chair of Governors before them. The Deputy and Assistant Head too. The Inspectors looked a little befuddled and said,
“Your children love coming to school, all the time!
Your parents overwhelmingly support you!
Your curriculum is good and enriching and practical. The children and teachers and parents love it!
Your children work hard and behave outstandingly well……………”
(maybe the magic beans were getting to them after all……..)
“Your attendance is quite outstanding”
but we are going to call you satisfactory because your test scores last year were not very good”
The Head grinned. “No magic beans there, “ he sighed sheepishly. “So we are ‘satisfactory, ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ all at once!”
“Yes” said the inspector.
” But last year’s year six had lots of special needs so they didn’t do well in tests but look at these lovely paintings they did? And look at this play they wrote, And look at this quality writing from a boy who once refused to hold a pen.”
“Still Satisfactory” said the inspector.
“These children love to read. They all go to clubs after school is over, when they could go home. They have a passion to know.”
“I agree,” said the inspector. “They have a wonderful attitude to learning. Still satisfactory though. You see there are national targets……averages…….that sort of thing. We have to follow the rules”
Then they went away.
The Headteacher and everyone in the school got used to being satisfactory and even worried a little about the children who loved to do their work, and wouldn’t stay away, and wanted to read and write and paint. Who would discuss and reflect. Who would care for each other. Who loved having philosophy lessons.
“If this is satisfactory” said the Chair of Governors “Then its the best satisfactory I’ve ever seen!”
“I told them the scores would be better this year” observed the Head. “Same teachers, same curriculum, same vision, just takes a little time for things to grow through. And anyway children are not all the same!”
Then, a week later, July 1st., in a stroke of giant irony, the SAT test scores came in. They were all over 90% level 4 + and 35-45% level 5 (the highest level).
The Chair of Governors and the Head had been out on a management course that day when the results came in.
When they returned to school, (picking their way carefully through the lush covering of Bean Growth and being careful not to step on Golden Eggs) they sent a letter to Ofsted.