Just the Way Ofsted Would Like You to Be

or “Just The Way You Are”

Don’t go changing, no vacillations,
You know that steadiness is key.
You set the culture and expectations –
And do it “unwaveringly”.

You do not falter, flinch or dither
You’re not a mutable GB
Not oscillating nor indecisive –
Your watchword’s always “constancy”.

Don’t fluctuate or be erratic
Don’t change the way you show support
But check you’re not just staying static –
You set what’s in the head’s report.

You don’t want clever conversation
Let’s hear it if there’s owt to tell.
You don’t just want to know the problems
You want to know what’s working well.

We need to know that you will always be
Uncompromising in your goals.
What do you do to let the whole school see
How leaders should fulfil their roles?

To get “Outstanding” from this September
You’ll play Ofsted’s semantic* games.
Be “uncompromising”, and remember,
You mustn’t “waver” in your aims.


(Sing along to the tune of Billy Joel’s “Just The Way You Are”)

* Ofsted semantics:  “Unwaveringly” appears for the first time in the Ofsted School Inspection Handbook, with effect from September 2015. It is within the new grade descriptors for Leadership and management. Uncompromising appeared in previous versions of the Inspection Handbook, along with stringently, rigorously and relentlessly as adverbs for governors’ actions and attitudes. The shift appears to be towards constancy of purpose rather than purely on depth of determination, suggesting perhaps that governing boards need to maintain a proper focus on their priorities, rather than being distracted by matters of secondary importance? “Uncompromising” reiterates that a “no excuses culture” is expected.

  • “The pursuit of excellence in all of the school’s activities is demonstrated by an uncompromising and highly successful drive … ” (2013)
  • Inspectors should look for .. “how relentlessly leaders, managers and the governing body pursue a vision for excellence” (2012)
  • “identify how robustly governors are focused on improvement” (Sept 2010)
  • and judge “how rigorously governors challenge and support” (2009).
  • “Governors .. are vigorous in ensuring that all pupils and staff are safe.” (Outstanding 2009) / “Governors are rigorous in ensuring that pupils and staff are safe” (Good 2009)

Original lyrics:

Don’t go changing, to try and please me
You never let me down before
Don’t imagine you’re too familiar
And I don’t see you anymore
I would not leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times, I’ll take the bad times
I’ll take you just the way you are

Don’t go trying some new fashion
Don’t change the colour of your hair
You always have my unspoken passion
Although I might not seem to care

I don’t want clever conversation
I never want to work that hard
I just want someone that I can talk to
I want you just the way you are.

I need to know that you will always be
The same old someone that I knew
What will it take ’till you believe in me
The way that I believe in you.

I said I love you and that’s forever
And this I promise from my heart
I couldn’t love you any better
I love you just the way you are.

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