Lesson 93 on The subtle art of point-scoring
Ofsted inspections in the early days were such a major event in the life of the school that their successful conclusion had to be ritually marked by the post-Ofsted celebration.
There was a considerable amount of one-up-manship between schools as to what form this took. Visiting heads who came to offer advice and support based on their own recent inspection always finished off their feedback with the same question.
” And where are you going for the party?”.
“Oh we’ve a few options in mind, but we’re not rushing into anything. We’ll see how things go,” Mrs Head would reply airily.
“Oh, but you’ll need to get booked up! All the best places are booked up months ahead. We had ours booked before Christmas!” (This was a two fold barb, demonstrating just how certain they were of a good result and also the exclusiveness of their celebration venue.)
“We went to that new club on the Quayside. Its got a marvellous grill! We couldn’t fault it, but of course it’s not cheap.” (Neatly insinuating that it would therefore be out of our league.)
So the post-Ofsted celebration had to meet two objectives. It had to be something that we could all enjoy and afford, but it also had to demonstrate to the other schools that we could be as classy as anybody else. The honour of the school demanded it.
Every week news would come in of some other school.
“Braetop went to the VIP suite at the stadium. They said the food was wonderful, but the service was a bit of a disappointment.”
“You’ll never believe where Rivermouth went! They had a weekend in Dublin! Flew from Teeside on Friday night!”
The Golfside Country Club was favoured by at least two more.
Each new revelation was followed by analysis and discussion. The stadium was too common, even the VIP suite. Dublin was over the top and ostentatious. The Golfside Country Club was too snobby.
In the end there was consensus. The Country Hotel and Spa hit just the right note. It wasn’t too far, it was expensive, but offered good discount weekend offers for groups. It allowed everyone to get dressed up, so we could all show off the photographs.
Most important of all, it would put Mrs Visiting-Head’s nose well out of joint, because we’d be staying overnight in the Courtyard suites, which everyone knew beat minibuses home from the Quayside into a cocked hat!