Ajid Ali is a pupil at Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate Secondary School in Tower Hamlets, London. Last month, Ajid completed a week’s work experience at The Key. He aspires to become a hotel manager and is currently part of the school orchestra (he plays the violin). In this post, Ajid tells us why school leaders don’t need to stress about Ofsted.
Ofsted sometimes seems to me, a 15-year-old pupil, to create stress and anxiety for school leaders and teachers. I’ve also noticed that headteachers sometimes over-exaggerate Ofsted’s importance, and worry too much about their school’s reputation at the expense of other things which may be more important. Here’s some advice from a student to headteachers:
Don’t worry about Ofsted inspections – worry about your pupils, your staff and yourselves.
It might sound selfish, but you don’t need to worry so much about your school; instead, you should focus on pupils and what’s important in your life (family and friends).
I’ve discovered some disturbing stories about school leaders not being able to surround themselves with the people they love. I spoke to a few local headteachers to find out the extent of the problem.
One said: “I’m really stressed about my school, and have not spent proper time with my family in four years.” I feel bad for headteachers like this.
Also: your first priority should be your pupils’ education and safety. Tell me how you’re meant to teach pupils when you’re constantly thinking about something else? Your stress is corrupting our future!
I wish headteachers would have more confidence in themselves and their schools. The purpose of inspections is to check that Ofsted’s rules and regulations are being applied within the school. You may think your job is hanging on a thread when the inspectors arrive, but maybe all you need to do is stay calm and indicate that you are confident in your school. Isn’t this ironic – a student giving advice to headteachers?!
I’m sure you’re aware of all the negative aspects of your job, so I thought I’d leave you with a reminder of some of the positives:
- You get to develop and guide the next generation’s leaders
- You learn something new every day
- You can see the world from a new perspective – that of your students
- “It’s a passion, and no two days are the same” (Christine Bernard – assistant headteacher at St Mary’s Lewisham Church of England Primary School)
- “I love working with children – they make me smile every day” (Naseem Badar – deputy headteacher at Rushey Green Primary School in Lewisham)
If you’re doubting yourself or feeling stressed, I hope this helps. Stay calm and teach on!