Song of the Ofsted Inspectors
No point in crying, you know why we’re here.
Saw the league tables, smelled blood, descended.
You’re on our list; we can wreck your career.
Don’t try to fool us; we’ve been heads, too.
Educating the underclass? A thankless task.
We got out in time, saw which way the wind blew.
Up all night, checking figures? No matter.
We make facts fit, the one thing we’re good at.
They all add up, to match the agenda.
The rulers are restless. Times change.
Last year’s ‘outstanding’ is this year’s ‘good.’
Last year’s ‘good’, we’re afraid, is a ‘fail.’
Forget paperwork, we’ve all the answers.
We know you’re coasting before we arrive:
it’s the new word in the minds of our masters.
A cheerful staffroom? Think you’re a success?
We’ll take you down a peg or two.
Then splash our findings in the local press.
You know the best thing? No second chances,
no hope of appealing against our verdicts.
We know the truth behind those happy, smling faces.
Sun 19th Mar 2023 09:25
Thanks for this, Greg I remember it from your book but this tragic case made me angry when I read it again, which shows what a good poem it is.
I am sure that inspections are necessary, but in so many walks of life, the 'process' seems to be built on confrontation and box-ticking, leading to public humiliation and horrendous incidents like this.
Sun 19th Mar 2023 08:39
Thanks for your comments, Keith and Uilleam, and for the Likes, Philip, Neil, Manish and Shamala.
Sat 18th Mar 2023 15:13
An interesting and challenging poem. I often wonder how we managed before hospital trusts, ofsteds and the thought police. It is all change for the sake of change. What are the end results of all these upheavals....more chaos and no improvement. I agree with Uilleam when he says that there is no respect for people who have responded to a vocation and in so doing make sacrifices to do a job they believe in.
Good poem Greg.
Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh
Sat 18th Mar 2023 09:59
A tragic case, Greg.
A teacher is following not just a job, but a vocation, acting "in loco parentis"; a truly privileged calling, for which the government appears to hold no respect.
Death by bullying box-tickers.
Sat 18th Mar 2023 09:46
I've re-posted this poem after reading of this appalling case https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/mar/17/headteacher-killed-herself-after-news-of-low-ofsted-rating-family-says?CMP=share_btn_tw
My wife is a former primary school head, and regularly came back with stories about how fellow heads were browbeaten, bullied and left demoralised by Ofsted. I wrote this in response to her stories. It's included in my 'Marples Must Go!' collection.
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