I was feeling a bit bored this evening* and decided to have a look at my old school website. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had been updated recently, and what’s more, it had some inspectorate reports online. Before the website was created I’m not convinced that it would’ve been easy to get hold of them.

It’s quite amusing reading, the report. Ever since I started at Birkenhead School I’ve been less than impressed with its IT facilities and the head computer teacher had to endure regular ribbings from me about the inferiority of Acorn computers compared to PCs. Anyway, when I was about 16 or 17 the school finally bit the bullet and set up a proper IT centre full of respectably specced PCs. However, I don’t think they really were used properly, apart from the time when I set up a 32 player network game of Quake for some activity day (ah, good days).

But I knew that the report wouldn’t like the school’s IT facilities – the teachers are just too old fashioned, which is not entirely a bad thing, of course, but it doesn’t do computers much good. Some choice quotations from the report:

“Some very competent, if not often very exciting, written work was seen and good practical skills were in evidence in science, DT and art.”

“When appropriate, the system of computer generated reports should continue to be extended to cover other year groups in the school.”

That one is particularly funny. While I was at school there was a rumour circulating about the head computer teacher, who was said to compose all of his reports from a set database of good, average or bad sentences, so all he’d have to do is to look at their mark and press a few buttons to write an ‘original’ report. I can only conclude that this practice has been adopted by all teachers now, perhaps by integrating the marks database…

I have to add that there was no real evidence for this rumour, but then that wouldn’t make it much fun any more.

“One Year 13 work file was quite outstanding, containing a wall poster on bacteria morphology, a Gold Crest award, various Cambridge entrance tests and Olympiad past papers, and a Daily Telegraph Science Writer Finalist certificate for good measure.”

Good to see that someone is carrying on the flame for wringing money out of the Science Writer competition (although I hope they’re not talking about my old workfile there).

“Recruiting a large number of pupils, CCF [Combined Cadet Force] is purposeful and well supported by school staff and military personnel.”

I guess they didn’t see all the afternoons which involved us waiting around outside in the rain for hours then.

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