Oh honestly, will yet more Ofsted inspections really make the difference to failing schools? From an outsider's perspective, the utter uselessness and irrelevance of Ofsted reports seems starkly obvious. For example, our local secondary school receives good to glowing reports, and yet whenever I speak to anyone about what goes on in that place, frankly if you had any sense you would run as hard as you possibly could in the opposite direction.
The latest news on this front: a neighbouring mum recently went to look round the place with a view to sending her 11 year old there next year. As soon as she walked in through the school gates, she was confronted by a huge fight between a large number of 15 year old boys and girls. She described it as a serious fight, proper punches being thrown - horrifyingly violent. She sought out the nearest teacher and asked her about what was happening. The teacher seemed unperturbed, and simply said "Well, boys will be boys".
Once inside the headmaster's office, this by now rather concerned parent looked up from the conversation about the good Ofsted report to see a boy being helped past the window, holding an ice-pack to his head with blood streaming out from under it down the side of his face.
Only a couple of minutes later, her conversation with the headmaster was drowned out by a huge ruckus emanating from the corridor. An adult appeared to be screaming at the top of his lungs at a child.
"That doesn't sound like a good way to deal with the situation" said very concerned parent.
"Well, the teacher will have taken the child out of the classroom in order to speak to him" replied the headmaster.
"But we can still hear it through a closed door, so I suppose the class will also be able to hear it" braved very, very concerned parent, whilst not daring to say "and anyhow, I don't want anyone speaking to anyone anywhere like that. This is not how I want to raise my child."
That family is going to fork out for a small private school, which will probably be a sensible outcome for that particular child, but you pity all the others who have to put up with this horror.
From an outsider's perspective, you wonder at how schools get away with it. We've heard it said that when heads realise that Ofsted are coming, they phone for taxis to come and take the most troublesome pupils away, but even if this is true, the disconnect between the reality and the reports still seems to this outsider to be gobsmackingly huge! If Ofsted are either oblivious to, or refuse to acknowledge the reality of the situation, there is little hope that their inspections will make the slightest bit of difference to troubled schools.
UPDATE: John Bald, an ex-school inspector, sheds some light on this subject.