guest post #55 – neil smith – @Neil_Smith78

Things have got fairly tough since our last Ofsted visit where we got RI. Getting that grade can trigger a host of emotions. Worse still when the actual report comes out. Statements that judge elements of your school that are not accurate as you live and breathe the life of the school with your colleagues and students. As our head puts it: “They are visitors and when they have left us, we will still be here, the students will still be there and we will still be here working for our young people”


Lots of work on the ofsted action plan was identified, initially with the SLT. A number of new policies were introduced and implemented to address the action points from the previous inspection. One such bone of contention amongst the staff was the evolution of a new behaviour policy. Put simply, it is more robust and will address some of the shortcomings reported on our last report. Since the subsequent increase in workload, I have felt empowered to try and continue to work even harder to ensure we develop our students academically and morally. I thought every teacher felt this way. It’s why I went into teaching in the first place; to improve the lives of young people.

To my surprise, I was mistaken.

Terms like ‘work to rule’ and ‘union guidelines’ have served to shield some staff of the necessary work and commitment required to pull out of RI and into good.

It seems to me that these terms are being used to protect staff from working harder. I’m all for staff well being and work life balance but to what cost to those people, the students, we are employed to help in the first place? Teaching is not like any other job. There is no routine, no predictability, apart from predicting the unpredictable. In order to make improvements to what we do, it’s necessary to work harder, smarter, to ensure we maximise the students potential.

That’s why were in it isn’t it?

You sometimes have to act as an educator, a counsellor, motivator all in one lesson sometimes. This is what makes the job so rewarding. It’s not a career in it’s entirety, it’s a calling, often an altruistic one. Last week, a student stayed behind because I needed to give them some feedback regarding an issue away from their education, that I needed to help them with in my pastoral role. At the end of the conversation, something that seemed routine to me, the student simply said “Thanks again sir, your sound” and off they went. It doesn’t seem like much but for me, that one comment gratifies my reasons for doing this role, a calling some might say. For me, that one comment justifies me going that extra mile, above and beyond, as a matter of course


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