We had Ofsted in today. Always a joy. Obviously it's been a little stressful at work this week. Didn't help on Thursday that the school website went down for a couple of hours and one of the classroom projectors broke. Cue lots of running around trying to get replacements rigged up with teaching staff having minor meltdowns as their lesson plans evaporated. Likewise, the main network printer/photocopier just had to pick this morning as the perfect time to start misfeeding like a bastard. More meltdowns, more stress. (the misfeeds were, of course, caused by someone printing off a ton of double sided colour stuff in a hideous rush - got to show off for the ofsted folks!)
Personally I've always thought Ofsted should just come into a school without any notice. That way everyone would have to just do their thing as normal and the inspection team would get a true image of the school. The majority of staff will have everything pretty much in place anyway and it would certainly save on a lot of the hand-wringing, stressed out, get in hours early and put the extra work in we've seen this week.
And of course, it was all fine. We knew it would be. Didn't stop the meltdowns though.
The best Ofsted story I can tell is about the secondary I used to work at in Birmingham. The really bad school in Smiths Wood. Possibly the worst sink estate in the whole of Birmingham. Ridiculously bad exam results, at least half of year 11 had no interest in being at the school and by Christmas they always shuffled the classes around to have the phantom class - the kids that just never bothered turning up were stuck in one group on the timetable that freed up a member of staff for other things. Anyway, we went into special measures and there was talk of the school closing. Ofsted kept coming in and there was a huge push to tart the place up. Finally everything was done, all the relevant paperwork and assessments completed, a few more kids excluded for the Ofsted visits than were normal. And we sailed out of special measures. Absolutely NOTHING had changed in the school. The lessons were still an exercise in crowd control, kids still verbally and physically threatened the staff, fights were everywhere, kids just walked out of lessons whenever they wanted. But because the illusion of improvement had been created, we were suddenly an improving school. Quite ridiculous.