The Ofsted visit is a terribly stressful time for schools. They put a huge effort into doing everything they can to show the school in its best light - and them some badly-behaved young lout ruins it all by streaking across the playground swearing at the teachers.
There's nothing the schools can do about this - unless they sink particularly low and resort to bribes.
The claimsA report in the Daily Mail is claiming that teachers have been spilling the beans to the Times Educational Supplement about underhand tactics employed to get rid of disruptive pupils for the day of the Ofsted visit.
It said that these includes bribes of up to £100 to stay away from school while the inspectors are visiting. Alternatively, a school trip is dreamed up and it just so happens that the worst-behaved children in the school are selected to take part.
It also says some school are borrowing teachers from good schools in the local area to take lessons, while their own terrible staff wait at home pretending to be unwell. And to put the icing on the cake, they take in outstanding artwork from home or other schools to decorate the art room.
ResponseOfsted spoke out against the practices and said that any school caught cheating would immediately be put on special measures. They added that they were increasingly conducting inspections with no notice to catch schools unawares, and that stand-in teachers would soon be exposed under questioning.
RevealingHowever, such widespread cheating on the part of schools raises some key questions.
Chief among them has to be the question of who is instilling a sense of right and wrong in our children if their teachers are so ready to break rules in order to triumph? And who is teaching our children about the value of money and the rewards of hard work if those who break the rules are rewarded with £100 payments?
There are plenty of people convinced that this country is going to the dogs, and it's not going to inspire any confidence in them to learn that teachers are playing their part in leading children down the wrong path in life.
More is neededThe other vital question is what is going to be done about this? Ofsted isn't going far enough in its response. Those caught cheating ought not just to be put on special measures, but stripped of their posts, so that someone with a moral compass can lead our children. It should be carrying out dawn raids and clamping down on anything short of exemplary behaviour by the teachers.
What goes on in schools forms the basis of what will be going on in wider society in the next decade. And judging by this report, we have every reason to be very concerned indeed.