I am so relieved that it is the holidays. The last three weeks at work have been horrible, due to the head inviting Ofsted in, and giving us all two weeks notice and a long list of 'non-negotiables' to complete. On top of that we had parents evenings which are really tiring. So, the whole school spent two weeks rushing around trying to be ready for the inspection, and, consequently being physically and emotionally exhausted by the time they came. This is just as Ofsted used to be, whereas now, they ring up on a day from Monday to Wednesday, and are then in for the next two days, so if you are not doing something then it is too late to change it. I think this is a good thing, whereas what we just went through is definitely not. So, on the Friday, Friday 13th by the way, in they came. I was observed at about 9.30 doing my carpet session. We had been telling the Christmas story all week, using my little peg doll nativity, and on Friday I had planned to have the children telling the story through movement-flying like the Angel, trotting like the donkey etc. We were doing that part as she walked in, and I was behaving like Joyce Grenfell on speed, or at least that is how it felt. I can only describe my emotional state as one of fear and panic. It is ridiculous when you actually analyse what is happening-one adult observing another doing their job, hopefully all with the best interests of the children at heart. The trouble is that is not how Ofsted feels, it feels as if you yourself are being judged as a person, not just at how you do your job. At least that is how it feels to me. I heard the inspector talk to three children before running off outside with those who wanted to go. She said the same thing to each child-" Hello, what's your name? How old are you? Can you show me that on your fingers?'' Presumably just an ice breaker as they are all pretty much capable of that! Anyway, the result of the inspection is that we failed and if it had been a real one we would now be in special measures. Foundation Stage failed on safeguarding-because one of our playground gates was open as the kids were coming out. This gate is always being left open and you can check it one minute and the next someone has used it and left it open again. It is ironic anyway because the gate is attached to the wall that surrounds our playground. It is a low wall and the grass area is over the other side. Children can easily climb up onto the grass area. If you follow the grass up-the wall continues around it and is low on the grass side, then you reach not only the other side of the gate, but a four foot, drop at first, increasing to about a six or seven foot drop where the stairs go down to the bottom playground. I have pointed this out to the head and others concerned with health and safety but we have not as yet got a fence where we want one (along the grass side of the wall). So, any child could not only escape, but could fall off a high wall. In fact it would be safer for them to use the gate as then at least they could use the stairs! We do not let them up on that area yet because of the danger, but it could happen. The other safeguarding issue was the fact that some children were putting on wet coats because we keep our coats outside-they are under a shelter but do not dry off easily as they are all crammed onto a coat rack, and in my class a dressing up storage unit. This is because we do not have coat pegs in the class. Where to put them has been endlessly discussed but we still do not have them one term in. All the other classrooms have built in coat storage, but for some reason nursery does not. I could go on, and this sounds like a massive moan, but I am only just now recovering from the whole thing. It basically spoilt the last three weeks of term when it should have been a lovely time. I had to change my two days off this month as it clashed with the inspection, so have had Thursday and Friday this week off. Although I have been busy I have been so relieved not to have to go into work. We had the class party on Wednesday and the children really enjoyed it so that was a good end to my term at least. I am trying not to think about after Christmas when we will be dealing with the aftermath of Ofsted ,whilst still waiting for the real one, which we are due. I think if they had just turned up in that week, without everyone having the time to get in such a state, then we would have done much better. I suppose a gate still may have been left open though! I have not had my individual feedback yet, and I don't particularly want it as I am fairly certain it won't be good. Anyway, all of the above explains why I have not been blogging. No time and I did not feel remotely like it! Below are a few pictures from the last couple of weeks, in no particular order and not really related. Just ones I thought of sharing and then never did.
Indoor lights reflected in the dark green of the garden.
Crochet lights from a pattern LInda Sue sent me. They are really quite cute, and now on the tree.
A semi-successful attempt at crocheting a plug for the lights.
Amazing frost patterns on my car on the 12th December. It looks like the surface of the moon.
This girl started with the red dots-brusho mixed with pva. The star is a salt dough one we made at school.
Christmas table. The little Santa candles were 20p at the boot fair.
Beady tree from this seventies looking Christmas wall hanging.
A very tired little cat after lots of chasing the feather on a string.