The Inspector Called

Every six years an inspector calls. The phone call on a Monday morning, whilst often expected, still sends a nervous ripple throughout the school community. For all good schools, that nervousness stems from a concern that the inspector’s report may not reflect accurately the true spirit of a school, it may not capture the ethos of the school, and it may not understand or appreciate the educational philosophy of the school.

No school is perfect. We all have blemishes and imperfections and it is these blemishes, alongside its outstanding features that help shape the school. What you hope for is that the inspector sees past the blemishes and captures the energy, the dynamism, the joy that takes place in the classrooms and the corridors. It sees past the not quite perfect display board and sees the skill, the hard work and the care all staff show, not just the teachers towards the pupils.

What you hope for is the inspector, like an excellent teacher, brings out the best in the school. The inspector by treating the staff, parents and pupils with kindness and respect encourages us to share excitedly what we do well. The inspector in asking intelligent questions draws out the informative answers that help build a picture of the school. An excellent inspector has the skill to get under the skin of the school, to appreciate it for what it is and to capture the essence of this in its report.

This January we had such a team of inspectors. From the moment they walked through the door, they showed warmth and friendliness towards us all, they were genuinely interested in what we were doing, they asked taxing questions and gave us the opportunity to show them all the things of which we were proud. They demanded the best from us and we gave it. It was a privilege to be in such a community and in return, we have a report that captures the magic of BGS.

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