OPINION: If Sue Gray's report was an Ofsted inspection we'd be horrified
- Credit: PA
Failures of leadership and judgement are the points which have been made by Sue Gray in her findings to the Downing Street inquiry.
Sixteen events which took place between May 2020 and April 2021 fell within her remit to investigate, including three which had previously not made public.
Although the lockdown rules changed within that period no large gatherings, such as the ones attended by those scrutinised, were allowed. Yet here we are, at a point where our own prime minister is able to simply say, “I’ve been a bit of a bad boy but don’t worry, I’ll make it up to you.” He said “I get it!” Does he? And “I will fix it!” I’m intrigued how
While he attended drinks in his own garden (without realising it was drinks yet has been reportedly photographed holding one) people were dying alone.
As he enjoyed celebrating his birthday with work friends in a cabinet room, others were isolated, unable to socialise because they were following rules.
At worst I can’t help but think of two friends who lost their mothers to Covid within that time frame. At best I feel sorry for another close pal who lives alone, now works alone and upon some easing of the rules told me “I can’t go to work, my office is closed forever, so while easing of rules is great celebration for some, for me it’s just more of the same. All day, every day.”
It's incredibly easy to focus on the big repercussions of the pandemic, to think of the many who lost lives, loved ones or livelihoods but, within the greater detriments there is so very much more which dips under the radar.
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I think you’d have to have an extremely strong disposition to have suffered even slightly with your own mental during the lockdowns.
Children especially are victims of this crisis.
My eldest son Jimmy, though on the face of things is fine, has been deeply troubled by being isolated. It didn’t suit his personality to be away from school and looking back now we made the wrong decisions keeping him at home when he could have been there.
We were trying to do the right thing, trying to keep him safe from the virus and lessen the load for the teachers in his school. He was entitled to a place because my husband is a key-worker but it seemed incredibly important to be playing the game how we were asked, helping where we could.
So we kept him home and he was miserable, lonely and in need of social contact. It has affected his mental health in an ongoing way and he’s not in the minority. Thankfully his school, assisted by a truly insightful deputy head, have been incredible. A senior management team doing a superb job, quite unlike those who are running our country.
I read a meme likening Sue Gray’s findings to an Ofsted report and I fail to see how anyone would accept the running of their children’s school in the way we are having to accept the lies and deception of our own prime minister.
Rather like a team of Ofsted inspectors going through schools with fine toothed combs, Sue Gray and her deputies interviewed over 70 individuals, some more than once.
They examined the social media of those supposedly in attendance at one, or some, of the suggested parties, scrutinising their emails, WhatsApp threads and text messages.
Photography and entry and exit logs were looked into for those entering Downing Street, the Cabinet Office or The Department for Education (where the events took place). The end report has been so damning it’s not even been made public in its entirety for because of it, the police who had previously stated there was no evidence to invite investigation, now need to investigate further.
Imagine if this was your child’s school Ofsted report. Imagine if it read a little something like this:
'Failures of leadership and judgement amongst staff, with behaviour difficult to justify, have been noted with a serious failure to observe. At times there was too little thought given to decisions made by staff posing a risk to pupil health. Some events within the faculty were not permitted to take place and developed significantly with a drinking culture within the school. An excessive amount of alcohol consumption has taken place by teachers requiring a clear and robust policy within school covering the consumption of alcohol, while, for others who did not partake, there needs to be easier ways for staff to raise concerns informally, outside of management chains. The full report cannot be published as this is now a matter being investigated by police.'
And then imagine the head of your school responded to the Ofsted report a little like this:
“I get it and I will fix it, by shuffling teachers about a bit and getting rid of others. Was it my job to make sure the school was run well? Yes, but I’ll be better now, promise!”
Thank goodness schools are not run, hard as their job has been made by our government chopping funding and expecting them to run on empty during global pandemic, in such a way.
Perhaps there’s hope for future generations being educated by great schools regardless, to run our country.
But not if we don’t make some drastic changes and make people at the top now, accountable for their failings.
Otherwise this culture will perpetuates and thrive. It doesn’t matter, in this instance, which party you support fundamentally. Our prime minister, along with everyone in attendance at the investigated parties, has let us down.
We pay their wages, we deserve to be treated with respect.
Instead we have been lied to and dismissed.
We cannot allow that any more than we would allow our children to attend a school with such failings.
Ruth Davies has a parenting blog at www.rocknrollerbaby.co.uk