Janet Lloyd is Chair of Governors at Court Fields. In this interview she explains what happened when Ofsted put the school in special measures and what is happening to pull Court Fields around.
Q. Were you surprised at how bad the Ofsted report was?
A. It was quite devastating. We didn’t think it would be so severe. We were all quite shocked at the comments.
Q. Did you consider taking personal responsibility for the crisis and resigning?
A. I felt that if I resigned it would be like rats leaving the sinking ship. The other governors and I felt we wanted to stay and rebuild and carry the school forward.
Q. Has anyone left the governing body since the Ofted report in January?
A. We have three new governors, soon to be 4.
Q. Are they people who will inspire confidence?
A. I’m reluctant to name them.
Q. Surely it’s a matter of public record. Shouldn’t the governing body be on the school website?
A. Probably. It used to be printed in the prospectus.
Q. Were you surprised by the amount of criticism and disrespect of Court Fields shown by parents writing on Facebook following the Ofsted report?
A. I don’t look at Facebook. I had no letters to myself from parents about the report. Parents Forums have been well-attended and positive.
Q. Given similar catchment areas people have asked why Court Fields GCSE results are significantly lower than Kingsmead?
A. I don’t know why we are so much worse than Kingsmead.
Q. What is happening to make the governing body meet the Ofsted criticisms?
A. Myself or the Deputy Chair attend the weekly Senior Leadership meetings. We have leapt into action and re-written the school development plan.
Q. what is the mood amongst the teachers and pupils?
A. Morale is high amongst the staff. They have every faith in Elaine [headteacher]. The children weren’t affected. They still feel they are getting a good education.
The Ofsted report said: Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector is of the opinion that this school requires special measures because it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school.
This week Ofsted publishes the first report of the HMI inspectors who will visit Court fields regularly until it either comes out of Special Measures or becomes an academy. They report progress in management and maths teaching but say that science teaching remains in need of attention.