Now is not a time for pointing fingers, according to the Director of Education, Nick Hynes, who says St Sampson’s High school needs to look forward, not back, after receiving a damning Ofsted report.
St Sampson’s High School is one of three schools in Guernsey that has been inspected by the Office for Standards in Education, Children Services and Skills (Ofsted) following a States’ decision to appoint Ofsted as the island’s external inspector.
The school was rated as inadequate in all but one category (the lowest rating Ofsted provides) and unsurprisingly this has led to public and political concern.
However, Mr Hynes said assigning blame will not help the school or the students.
“What gets lost in the furore is that everybody in the education system… all work there because they care about children. And all the people who work in that system are doing the best they can for young people,” he said.
“Yes, there are things that have gone wrong, but at the moment it’s not a time for pointing fingers. It’s a time for focusing our energy on what we can do now.”
Pictured: “In the future we need to look back and see what went wrong but at the moment it's not the time for that,” said Mr Hynes.
When pushed by Express Mr Hynes said there are some issues that could have led to the current situation, one of which being covid.
“You can point to very specific things either within the school or our education system – there are some really deep underlying and systematic issues, some of which we couldn’t control, that have put St Sampson’s into a position of difficulty.
“[However] we can’t ignore that covid has played a part in this. I have absolute faith that the school wouldn’t be in this position after [Principal Vicky Godley] came in, if we hadn’t had covid.”
Mrs Godley was brought in to lead St Sampson’s two years ago after improving the culture at La Mare de Carteret. She has been championed by both Mr Hynes and the President of the Education, Sport & Culture Committee, Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen.
“I want to take this opportunity to reassure that the report acknowledges that Mrs Godley has a clear understanding of what needs to change,” said Deputy Dudley-Owen after the report was published.
Pictured: All of Guernsey’s schools will be inspected by Ofsted during the next four years, the length of Ofsted’s contract with Guernsey.
It was made clear in the report that Ofsted’s findings were of no great surprise to the school.
“The school had to do a self-evaluation judgement before Ofsted came,” said Mrs Godley, “so we had already made those judgements about the school before Ofsted came.”
“In some respects [it sounds terrible] that we already knew there were problems in the school. But it should hearten people to know that plans are already in place [to address the issues raised in the Ofsted report].”
Whether Guernsey retains Ofsted beyond its four-year contract is a decision for the politicians, but every school in Guernsey will now be inspected within the next three to four years.
The next expected report will be from Les Voies School, which was inspected at the same time as St Sampson’s High.
“We haven’t received the draft report yet,” said Mr Hynes.
“And because we haven’t received it yet, and we’re so close to the end of term, this probably won’t be coming out until the autumn term. This is because they don’t release reports outside term time.”
You can listen to the full interview with Mr Hynes and Mrs Godley below:
Ofsted “will return” after scathing St. Sampson’s High report
St Sampson’s High School rated “inadequate” by Ofsted
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