The OFSTED Experience

Well, it’s happened.

The phone call came at 12.05 on Tuesday and by 16.30 on Thursday it was all over.


The  single most intense and dramatic event in the life of a modern school had come and gone.

Now before I go any further, I’m not allowed to tell you the inspectors’ verdict before the publication of the final report in a couple of weeks time. Let’s just say that the staff and I are looking forward to reading it.

I must also say that we were overwhelmed by the massive support from parents and carers we received in person and on Parent View. The inspectors were amazed by the positivity of the responses and I hope that this is fairly represented in their judgements. You can find the Parent View findings very easily on the Internet where you’ll read that 96% would recommend Marden to other parents.

So what was it like to be “ Ofstedded”?

Well, it was an unforgettable experience. Very stressful, of course, because you only have half a day to prepare, but it was exciting too because we’re intensely proud of what we do and here was a chance to show the world how far Marden has come in a very short time. However, my overriding memory will be of how the visit brought our school community together. The students were magnificent. They exemplified their great commitment to the school with tremendous  behaviour and a strong desire to show their learning to the inspectors whenever they walked into a classroom.

And as for the staff…

As you probably know, I ‘m not usually short of things to say, but words failed me on a number of occasions last week when I found out about the heroic efforts being made to win Marden  a high  rating. I strongly suspect that some of us didn’t have a single night’s rest during the process because determination  not to let the school down was so strong.

And I have to say that there has to be a national re-think because the pressure on educators has got out of hand. Reluctantly, I support OFSTED because it has been a key factor in raising standards and all professions should be held accountable for their outcomes. But there has to be something wrong with a system which compels young teachers to stay up all night because they feel that nothing less than outstanding lessons every time is acceptable to the powers that be.

Anyway, let’s wait and see what the inspectors say. But here’s my judgement. The OFSTED experience confirmed for me once again that I am honoured to be head of Marden High School because of the phenomenal people inside it.

And if you don’t believe me, give me a ring to arrange a visit to see them at first hand…and half a day’s notice would be fine.