This is a blog about what would motivate headteachers to take on the leadership of a Requires Improvement or Special Measures school.
Forget the Queen’s Speech!
On 27th May 2015, Ofsted’s National Director for Schools, Sean Harford tweeted this; you can click the image to open/reply.
The responses have been flooding in all day! I have read through all of the tweets to Sean’s question – over 100 replies – and have amalgamated the headlines. I take no credit for the comments. You can see who said what in the thread here; I have also hyper-linked my favourite comments.
What would incentivise you?
- Give new headteachers 18 months; and wait until Raise Online is out before inspection; select Lead Inspectors very carefully.
- Give new headteachers 3 years to settle. It takes that long to really embed changes.
- Have yearly school improvement inspection with no overall grade for first 3 years to act as support for new headteachers.
- Inspect in tandem with e.g LA/ Challenge Partners / and other headteachers in order to contextualise data.
- Some form of mentoring system from a headteacher who has experience in RI & SM schools.
- RI/SM: Headteachers soften; get good support from HMI they appreciate – less monitoring and more support in early period would be helpful.
- Give 18 months-2 years before formal inspection. During this time assign one HMI who visits regularly but acts like a SIP.
- If failure means the end of a career, no incentives will motivate. That’s a political pressure that needs removing.
- I have just become HT at a SM sch. HMI very helpful in the process. The thing I need most is time and extra resources.
- Provide new headteachers with the cash to (at least second) a strong SLT to support what needs to be done.
- I feel that the inspector who puts the school into SM or RI should stay on and work with the head. They move forward together.
- Internal one day inspection offer to aid action planning for new HT. Deletion of historic data. You shouldn’t punish headteachers with old data.
- Gag ministers so they can’t spread fear through the profession that will stop good heads from risking their careers?
- After becoming an AI, I stopped considering schools in difficulty because I then couldn’t inspect.
- Move to two judgements: Good or RI. Put an end to SM & Outstanding. Limit use of this language.
- Suspend historical data. 24-36 month window for improvement. Establish early and develop consistent relationship with school.
- Use monitoring visits to support and develop work of school, linked to framework.
- Must be an inclusive and supportive package and not waiting to see what happens upon returning for inspection.
- I’m new HT this yr. Loving challenge and scope to inspire / change. However expected Ofsted was a sword of Damocles. 1 result = freedom to grow as a professional learning community & take long-term view. 2nd result = more external pressure & short-term narrow demands. I have a family to support so whilst I want challenge I can only take a certain amount of risk.
And general comments about Ofsted (and not the original question);
- Start using progress from starting points only. Recognise the difference in cohorts from year to year and stop analysing small groups.
- Confirm that forced structural changes actually harm the school improvement journey would be a start.
- Have less aggressive inspectors. Recognise the career ending impact that you have.
- Make no changes to the framework for five years. No updates or amendments. The instant compliance is crazy!
- Stop limiting judgements to a data grade and publish a tool showing statistical likelihood of being in each category based on 3yrs of data.
- It could be a really helpful role for OFSTED to support brokering or signposting.
- Abolish Ofsted and then we’d be free to do the right things in the school!
- Force all schools to be open all the time to all visitors. And give parents real choice! You must come visit us!
- Accept that genuine lasting improvements may not be ‘quick fixes’.
- All inspectors spending one term every two years teaching in a school to retain Ofsted role.
- The bottom line is to get confidence back in a system that is meant to support school improvement at all levels not erode it.
- Work with @FutureLeadersCT or National College to link new HTs up with Exec Head mentor.
And the tweets are still rolling in …
Two blogs of the day, stand out more than others, they are written by;
- Primary headeteacher @Joga5 here; Dear Sean
- and a blog from secondary headteacher @Kalinski1970 here; What I think OFSTED should look like…
What do you think? What would make you take on a headship?
What would incentivise you to take on a Requires Improvement school or a school in Special Measures?