A HEADTEACHER has been left ‘wounded’ after Ofsted inspectors congratulated his school on good teaching and pupil progress – and then landed him with the second worst ranking.
Roger Matthews, of Portchester Community School, is angry at what he calls the incongruity of Ofsted inspections that in his case rated 24 out of 28 categories good or outstanding but condemned it to an overall ‘satisfactory’ grade because of exam results.
His school, which was previously rated ‘good’, achieved a 40 per cent good GCSE pass rate last year – 13 percentage points below the national average – which inspectors acknowledged represented ‘good progress’ considering ‘particularly low’ starting points of that year group.
The report also praised good teaching ‘which engages and motives’, good learning, good pupil behaviour and students who are proud of their school, outstanding provision for disabled students and excellent links with the community.
Mr Matthews said: ‘This report shows you could be making outstanding progress but if the exam results are not at some arbitrary level then your school is branded poorly. It’s a perverse system.
‘I am so proud of this school. My staff work so hard to make good progress with our youngsters, to build up their self-esteem and give them a real sense of achievement. But they were stunned at the incongruity of it all. I do question Ofsted’s numeracy skills if they are looking at 18 good and six outstanding categories and come up with “satisfactory”.
‘I’ve been in teaching for quite a while, but I can honestly say I have felt professionally wounded by this report, and it has been quite demeaning to my staff.’
Mr Matthews worries Ofsted’s restricted set of criteria could create a two-tier and segregated system where schools making good progress in more challenging circumstances would be stigmatised, and lose their ability to attract children from a range of backgrounds and abilities.
He said: ‘I don’t think what Ofsted is doing is healthy. Our government talks about the Big Society but damaging and irresponsible brandings like ours will tear societies apart.
‘We thrive from our diversity and we are aspirational for all our students.’