Probably unbeknownst to most of you, the recent ISI inspection has been in the back of the minds of most of the staff (especially the SMT) since the beginning of the year. Ever since they received ‘the call’ last Monday morning, evidence of late nights and nerves could be spotted a mile off.
For those of you who don’t know, this is a triennial report called a Regulatory Compliance Inspection. The inspectors report on the school’s compliance with the Independent School Standards Regulations (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/3283/contents/made?dm_t=0,0,0,0,0), and, since we are a boarding school, the National Minimum Standards for Boarding Schools (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/416186/20150319_nms_bs_standards.pdf).
In my role as Head Girl I was fortunate enough to receive some advance feedback from the inspectors (and if you believe that, you’ll believe anything)…
6 Things That The Inspectors Raised
- Exeats – it is understood that there is much frustration that these periods of well-needed rest are not the same length of time for the seniors as the juniors, with senior exeats only differing from normal weekends by lacking Sunday Chapel. It is also noted that the trialled Friday afternoon to Monday evening exeat is considered by many seniors to have been a satirical response to the request for time off equal to the junior years.
- Hair policy – given the recent change in rules regarding hair for the sixth form girls (something which had been ‘unlikely to change’ this time last year), it seems unfair for the same privilege to not be extended to the boys, even if it’s only for sixth form. The argument that it is tradition for boys to keep it short appears to be unsatisfactory for many male members of the student body considering the number of recent leniencies towards the girls.
- Civvies in Sunday Chapel – with no clear reason as to why uniform should be worn on a Sunday when it has been made quite clear that the students are able to dress smartly in civilian clothes in previous ‘Civvies Chapel’, it’s been suggested the uniform rule be revised!
- Whole school social space – increasingly few members of the school will remember the infamous RHS ‘Café’; a place where juniors would run to after prep finished; a meet up point for friends otherwise separated by timetables and House arrangements; a source of laughs over shared food and a relaxed space to interact with other years, all under the watchful eye of the duty prefect. Although perhaps not as used as it could’ve been towards the end of its existence (before being replaced with our still relatively new gym), a social space for the whole school to use would likely be incredibly popular if there are any suggestions as to where it could be.
- Supper – the complaints about the serveries not opening until 18:00, fifteen minutes later than they have been opening for at least the last few years, have extended past sixth form all the way down to Year 7. This must be addressed, whether it be a reminder to the school that technically, according to the rota, mess does not in fact start until 18:00, or perhaps a change back to 17:45.
- Devices – a controversial issue which has raised many tensions between teachers and students, especially with the newly enforced rule about all except sixth form handing in their phones during the day with all but Year 13 handing them in at night. Bearing in mind that the majority of the students are legally defined as children, this is seen as a perfectly logical step being taken by the school to ensure that students get enough sleep and are not constantly stuck to their screens.
5 Things the Inspection Gave Us
- New signs – reinforcing the rules we all know so well we don’t even think about them (e.g.’Ladies make sure to take the weekend nail polish off! Gents don’t forget to shave!’)
- Reinstated lessons – sixth formers know the pain of having a lesson cancelled, planning what to do with that time and then having an email from your teacher saying that the lesson is back on (not for the inspection, of course!).
- Pep talks – just to make sure that we know who we can talk to about our issues, a reminder about how polite it is to smile and hold open doors for strangers, to please not walk on the grass
- The fear of the teaching staff – “Hahaha, imagine if an inspector walked in now!” – I’m sure we’ve all experienced this awkward joke from a teacher whose eyes keep flicking to the door every five seconds to make sure that they are not in fact being watched.
- The plague??? – it seems rather suspicious that there has been a quickly decreasing number of free beds in our wonderful Health Centre ever since the inspection took place…
8 things we hope they didn’t notice
- The new fire prevention tactic of the bins being moved into…wooden…enclosures…
- Small juniors being blown away by the wild winds of RHS.
- Dan Patten’s phone.
- Year 7 disgracing tradition by not singing in Chapel.
- Any form of fun – inspections are, of course, a strict business.
- The number of girls violating the school dress code and jewellery rules.
- The sign showing a map of the sports fields recently drilled into the side of the ship which caused the inside of it to flood and damage all the rifles.
- Drake lining up in the most inconvenient way for inspection on Thursday mornings.
Until next time!
(For those of you who are interested in what the real report may look like, here is the link to ISI’s last report on RHS in 2015: http://isischools.devprocess.com/DownloadReport.aspx?t=c&r=GRT6856_20150120.pdf&s=6856)