Sir Michael Wilshaw, Head of the successful inner-city comprehensive Mossbourne Academy in Hackney is to be named Chief Inspector for Ofsted. Sir Michael is known for turning around Mossbourne Academy from one of the worst schools in Britain into one of the best, with 10 Mossbourne pupils securing offers from Cambridge University this year! He attributes the success on his focus on discipline, high expectations and traditional education.
The appointment underlines the government’s commitment to shaking up the education sector from years of increased spending without any improvement in output. Sir Michael Wilshaw is likely to endorse the education secretary Gove’s agenda on focusing inspections on teaching quality and making the quality of teaching and academic achievement the core of what schools will be judged on.
What this means for you is that it is more and more important to watch state schools in your area as a potential alternative to private school. I can defnitely see in my council of Hammersmith and Fulham that they are working very hard to improve local schools. In this council alone, the new free schools ARK Conway Primary and West London Free School have greatly improved choices for outstanding schools. Add to that the bilingual track of the French Lycee Primary in cooperation with the Holy Cross school and many impressive changes at some other Fulham community primaries, and you can see things are happening. Sir Michael Wilshaw’s success story in Hackney is another example.
What this means is that with effective leadership and high aspirations, a lot of things can change in the next years and schools can make dramatic improvements. If you have a one or two year old child now and are only looking at independent schools, I would urge you to check all the community primaries in your area and just watch where new headmasters or teachers get appointed and try to find out what their plans are for the school.
One series of posts I will start soon is to feature those state primary alternatives in the central London boroughs. Please leave a comment below if you know of any, so I can add them to the list of primaries I am already planning to feature. Thanks!