Back to the chalkface

When last our hero blogged he was attending a teaching conference in darkest East London, in a decidedly non-teaching capacity. Now, read on…

Change comes so rapidly at times that it hardly seems you’ve got used to one situation when things turn completely around and you are once again plunging into “interesting times”. For once though it is an uncertainty of my choosing. Even more unusually, it isn’t a Very Bad Thing but a Very Exciting Thing…

After taking voluntary redundancy from Murder College I found myself without work and a track record of ultimately unsuccessful interviews. Thankfully, on the same day that I returned to the Hell Mouth that is the Hounslow Job Centre to sign on, I received a phone call from my former manager at Murder College. She too had escaped to Better Things, and wanted to know if I was still looking for work, because she was still looking for a Head of Student Services.

A meeting was swiftly arranged for the next day at her new employer, Surrey Hogwarts. I had a half hour chat with the Principal, and in no time agreed to start the next day as their new Head of Student Services. A three-month interim contract swiftly became a one-year contract, and that is what I’ve done since August up until last Friday.

In December I had applied and interviewed for a position as Team Leader for English at the College Julia works at. On the last Wednesday of term before Christmas they called me to tell me I had not been successful. I had the management experience, but not the teaching experience, and the successful candidate had both.

However, they had been very impressed with my interview, so much so that they created a position for me and wanted to know if I would accept it! The position is part teaching (GCSE, A Level & Functional Skills), part pastoral (tutorials) and part safeguarding. I accepted, and handed in my notice to Surrey Hogwarts.

So on Monday I am back at the chalkface, and a little nervous. It has been over a year since I taught regularly, and I have never taught A Level before. But I’m also excited at the opportunity to take on new areas in a subject I love, and by all accounts the students and my managers are excited to have me. I fear I have been very heavily trailed, so have some expectations to live up to!

Friday was a very odd day. Usually when I leave a job it’s because I’m tired of doing it, or tired of the place I do it at. In the case of Murder College, it was soured by my experiences there. But Friday was different. I left Surrey Hogwarts with a mixture of joy and sorrow. Joy because I was leaving the department in a better place than I had come into it. I had done the job I was brought in to do. And sorrow because I will genuinely miss working there. My team and department are great. My manager was more than just a manager but a real mentor to me. The SLT are the nicest and most supportive managers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work for. So although I am moving to a job that I really want to do, it was a bit of a wrench to leave.

I’ve spent the past couple of months reading texts, looking at specifications and gathering up essential supplies (the joy of stationery!). Ready or not, here I go…

A conversation at ResearchED

Last Saturday J and I trailed into the wilds of East London to attend ResearchED2014.

Michael Cladingbowl (National Director, Inspection Reform at Ofsted) was giving a talk to an incredibly packed audience about the future of Ofsted. And I was one of the sardines packed in tightly to listen.

And also ask a question, about Ofsted, FE Colleges, and why Ofsted could do nothing about Murder College. The upshot of which was a private conversation with Michael and his contact details to discuss further. So that’s happening.

Meanwhile Murder College is lauding its recent Ofsted success with a banner advertising it is a “safe and supportive” environment. I’m not sure for whom. Not staff and students. Perhaps it is safe for gang members, supportive for bullies and tyrants, because those doing the most wrong certainly always seemed to have the college on their side.

I found out a couple of weeks ago that one of the first students I taught was convicted of murder, along with others all connected to Murder College. And still there’s “no problem” at the “safe and supportive” College. Good, with Outstanding dangers…

Posts are remaining password protected until I’ve spoken to Michael Cladingbowl, but if anyone wants the password, leave a comment or contact me via Twitter or the contact form on the site and I’ll let you know it.

Quick explanation

As you may have noticed, my last few posts disappeared (briefly) and are now password protected.

On Wednesday I received a phonecall from the child protection team at the local council. Ofsted had passed my complaints on to them and they are investigating. They were due to hand deliver my complaint to the principal of the college at a meeting that day, and wanted to know if I was willing to be identified.

As I no longer work at the College I agreed.

The police were also attending the meeting due to some of the allegations.

Due to the involvement of child protection and the police I have decided to take the posts out of public view to avoid compromising any investigation.

Outcome of Ofsted complaint

Part 1: Good men do nothing
Part 2: Letter sent to Ofsted Inspector – Spring 2014
Part 3: Response from Ofsted Inspectors and Aftermath – Spring 2014
Part 4: An Inspector calls
Part 5: Back to Ofsted
Part 6: The Skills Funding Agency gets involved

In the first week of August I received the outcome of the Ofsted investigation. From the limited area they could look at, I wasn’t hoping for much. My comments on their outcomes follow the letter itself. Please click on each image for a larger size version.
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The Skills Funding Agency gets involved

Part 1: Good men do nothing
Part 2: Letter sent to Ofsted Inspector – Spring 2014
Part 3: Response from Ofsted Inspectors and Aftermath – Spring 2014
Part 4: An Inspector calls
Part 5: Back to Ofsted

True to their word, Ofsted passed on my complaint letter to the Skills Funding Agency. Whilst waiting for Ofsted to complete their investigations, the Skills Funding Agency sent the following correspondence:

Dear Mr Anderson

Your letter of complaint sent to OFSTED regarding [College] has been passed to the Skills Funding Agency’s complaints team as we are responsible for dealing with complaints about [College]. For your reference, you can find a copy of the Agency’s complaints procedure here.

As you will note in the procedure, the Agency will usually only investigate complaints once a training provider’s own complaints procedure has been exhausted.  If you have not done so already, you should make a formal complaint to [College] in the first instance and exhaust its own complaints procedures.  If you remain dissatisfied once [College’s] own procedures, including an appeal, have been exhausted, you can contact the Agency further.
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