Future Voices: Forget Ofsted. What really makes a good school?

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 October 2016

Attleborough Academy principal, Neil McShane, with some of the students celebrating their good Ofsted. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Attleborough Academy principal, Neil McShane, with some of the students celebrating their good Ofsted. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2016

Results in Norfolk are rising each year, which adds increasing pressure on schools to be, as Ofsted would say, ‘outstanding’. But what really makes a school ‘outstanding’?

I interviewed two people involved in our education system.

A drama teacher from Attleborough Academy said: “In my opinion, a good school is one where students are challenged, inspired and encouraged to develop their own opinions about things. Kindness will undercut everything and staff and students will all feel that they are part of a community.

“Ofsted has a rating of ‘good’, but this has come to feel not good enough to many schools.

“A good school views its students as people, not data, and will support and encourage them to make progress for themselves, not just to look good for the school.”

Dave Jones, chair of governors of the federated schools of Great Ellingham and Rocklands, agreed, saying: “Ofsted has its own criteria for what makes a school ‘good’ as opposed to unsatisfactory. In my personal view, a good school meets the needs of all the children / young people in its catchment and enables them to make maximum progress academically, socially and in developing self-confidence. The school environment should be safe, happy and caring”.

Personally, I believe that a school will achieve top academic results only when its students are cared for emotionally as well as academically.

It is very difficult to measure growth in self-confidence but a good school will value their students as individual people not just a set of academic results.

In a competitive market, there is a pressure to get results, but a truly outstanding school will produce well rounded people who are caring, thoughtful and stand out from a crowd.

Do you think well-being is as important as academic results? Tell us your thoughts by tweeting us @FutureVoicesNfk

Chloe Diggines, 16, Brundall

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