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Part 2 – Sean Whetstone, Chair of Governors, shares his Ofsted inspection results

Part 2 – Sean Whetstone, Chair of Governors, shares his Ofsted inspection results

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Sean Whetstone

Part 2 of 2 – Ofsted Inspection and Judgement Day

[Read Part 1 here]

Monday morning came round very fast and I got to school at 7.30am, the Ofsted team were expected at 8am.

The morning went very well with the first lesson observation graded as outstanding. One of the changes in the new framework is that the lead inspector will give you feedback throughout the day so we knew things were going well.

My Chair of Governors interview was scheduled at 2.30pm but I asked one of our teachers and the inspector whether they minded me observing a dance lesson at 2pm with them.

The lesson was outstanding and clearly the inspector was impressed. However, I am convinced they are trained not to show it through their body language.

Now it was my turn to come under scrutiny; everything so far was good – maybe even outstanding – so I didn’t want to let down the side down on safeguarding or governance.

I decided to bring in my Vice Chair as I figured two heads were better than one. I explained that I had been the Chair for 104 days, taking over from Chair who was in that position for 15 years. I communicated that I was passionate, committed, enthusiastic and a fast learner.

I also shared I had only been a School Governor for 470 days but was a lifelong learner. He set my mind at ease saying it’s not how long you have been a Governor or Chair, but what you bring to the role and how you approach it.

The first question the inspector asked was about how the governors effectively monitored the school.

This was my chance to impress; I reeled off the SEF, SIP reports, Head Teacher reports, School Development Plan, safeguarding monitoring, governor visits, governor training and RAISE online data.

I gave examples of the school’s strengths and areas for development without the need to refer to my notes.

The three roles we fulfil as governors are accountability, strategic view and critical friend. I gave examples how we fulfil our obligations in each of each of those areas.

We moved on to safeguarding and we were quizzed about safer recruitment. I had just completed my Online Safer Recruitment course on CWDC so I felt comfortable discussing it.

Finally, we were on the home straight and only Governor Safeguarding monitoring to cover off.

Luckily, I had completed a Governor Safeguarding visit in November based on the Ofsted inspector’s guidance for inspecting schools. This is a public document as I used back in November to monitor our school.

I gave a copy of my report to the inspector which seemed to go down very well. I had survived the Chair of Governors interview with no questions I couldn’t answer! Phew!

Many interviews and lesson observations later the inspector called together the Head Teacher, Senior Teacher, Vice Chair and myself into the Head’s office to deliver his judgement.

Drum roll please……

With a broad smile he said that he had judged our School to be outstanding overall! He explained we scored 23 sections as “Outstanding”, 2 as “Good” and nothing below good.

My Vice Chair and I were personally very pleased that governance and safeguarding were among the 23 sections that were regarded as outstanding!

The only disappointment was that we couldn’t tell anyone for 3 weeks.

Well now we can and here is our report!

The report says more than I could ever say in this blog.

If you are due an Ofsted inspection soon I’d be happy to answer any questions or give advice.

Sean Whetstone
Chair of Governors
Polesden Lacey Infant School

Sean.Whetstone@gmail.com


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2 Comments
  • Helen Billington
    Posted at 19:08h, 09 March Reply

    Sean, Thanks for the insight into the Ofsted process and particularly the role of the school governor and congratulations on your ‘Outstanding’ judgement. We have rated our governing body as ‘Satisfactory’ in our SEF. I take that to mean that we are doing everything that the DSCF/Ofsted/school expect us to do, which in itself is a pretty big ask from a group of volunteers.

  • Sean Whetstone
    Posted at 10:59h, 10 March Reply

    Thanks Helen, I believe Governing Bodies sometimes have a tendency to talk themselves down.
    Like any team it will have strengths & areas for development.

    It is important for both morale and self confidence of the GB to highlight areas of strengths and explain strategies to tackle areas for development.

    Unfortunately the word ‘Satisfactory’ has come to mean the exact opposite in Ofsted terms in recent times.

    I personally believe a governing body should be a minimum of good and aspire to be outstanding.

    That maybe a big ask for a group of volunteers with full time jobs but as a governance trainer once told me, you stopped being a volunteer the moment you put up your hand and made a commitment to the school and the children.

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