Had we been failing, resources would have poured in

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The Independent Online
I teach in the East End in an area of some deprivation. More than a year ago we were thrown into a state of panic by being told we had been chosen for an Ofsted inspection. Always a hard-working and committed staff, we went into overdrive to produce the quantity and quality of paperwork that was asked of us and to keep up our always high standards. Eventually, we endured the inspection and received the good report that I feel we deserved.

Indeed, at the training session after the event, when the inspectors came back to discuss the report, words such as "centre of excellence" were bandied about and we were thoroughly congratulated.

Imagine our feelings now: next year's budget is so severely cut that everything must change. We are a small school of seven classes and such cuts have a disproportionate effect. We are losing one full-time leader and our part-time music and swimming teachers; the reading recovery (singled out for praise) is being cut; primary help time is being slashed (despite particular mention in the report); class sizes will rise.

Teachers who remain will have much worse conditions and less support. Classes will have to be split during illness - one class of 30-plus among only five other classes means horrible crowding - and how will anyone ever go on any in-service training?

But more than this, of course, the cuts affect the children. The Ofsted inspectors noted the need for more resources for our youngest children, who may be entering school from nursery at less than four and a half years old. Our reception classes will contain at least 30; we can't afford to pay for nursery nurses; and the need for an outdoor play area has not yet been met. These children, in spite of the best efforts of the remaining staff, will carry their disadvantage throughout their school lives.

I am leaving. I am experienced, but for experience read expensive. I am desperately sad for the school - mostly, of course, for the way that this will affect the children. I see that if we had been "failing" we would have had resources poured in. What an insult.