Tuesday, 4 December 2012

They got the call!

"They got the call! They got the call!" she says to me as we meet. I'm feeling vague after a frantic day at work, and a lovely but somewhat chaotic tea with ex-house mates. I have no idea what she is talking about. "OFSTED" she says, as if it were obvious. Finally, after keeping the staff (of which she is a long standing member) on tenterhooks for over 6 months, they arrive tomorrow. Why teachers, of all professions, should be put through such torture escapes me. My kids' own school endured it a month ago, and both local schools, though we're fiercely loyal to them, have had their ups and downs over the years and are more than a little bit desperate to make it to the next notch. 

It got me thinking about schools in Hackney in general. Having a daughter in year 6 means we've recently schlepped round the secondary schools nearby and had the somewhat difficult choice of where to send her next. But not difficult because there's no where to send her. Difficult because there's so many good schools to choose from. 15 or so years ago when R first had her eldest most of her contemporaries moved out as they neared that transition stage. Another friend was on the Governing body of a local primary school, which was all but closed following scandal after scandal. The school we would eventually choose for our children was bottom in all the league tables for everything apart from truancy. Hackney's come such a long way. But not quite far enough it seems. So more teachers, already in some of the most challenging schools in the country, will be pushed right to breaking point, all in the name of 'improving'. My children have always loved their school, no matter where the school was on the league tables, and it's one of the most vibrant, diverse, exciting, fun loving, stimulating, caring enviornments they could wish for. R's school is the same. Isn't that enough?

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