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So how would you describe a "good" school? What pops into your mind, if you hear that inspectors have designated the school to which you are thinking of sending your child as "good, with some outstanding features"? 

Do you imagine quiet, orderly classes where the teacher can be heard? Homework, plentiful and marked?  Bad behaviour dealt with promptly and consistently? At the very least, evidence of high expectations of students, within their ability, and access to challenging exams which mean something in the outside world.

A "good school" would not see disruption in classes so engrained that teachers daily approach their work with pure, cold dread. Or teachers who cannot punish wrongdoing unless they have a second witness to the act; who have to cajole their charges into learning with games and treats, like jesters trying to humour a bored tyrant. Or who are told, come Ofsted time, "We need to see more fun in lessons. Games are always a good idea. We simply cannot have a situation where teachers are teaching and children are listening."

You do not imagine a "good" school setting its pupils such low expectations that one of its best teachers finds herself yelling "Let's go get those Cs!" as her class charges into the examination room, as though she were exhorting them to reach for the moon. Meanwhile, at the private school down the road, parents pay for their children to be given homework and told to behave. At the private school, success is judged by how many students get ten A*s at GCSE, because both school and parents know that GCSE A*s are the first benchmark for Russell Group universities. 

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