Can you self reflect to get ahead of the Ofsted curve?
Current trends identified in 25 Ofsted reports since sept 2015.
- disclaimer – Ofsted review every school on its merit. It’s purely coincidence that certain things pop up in inspection reports up and down the country.
This post explores similar areas for improvement identified in Ofsted reports from schools across the country at various levels of grading.
- AFL – feedback with impact to be precise. Ofsted highlight a number of time in inspection reports that schools are not ‘good or outstanding’ yet because… feedback in learners books does not enable good progress.
- Policy and practice – Consistency of policy and practice across departments. It’s one thing to have a marking & feedback policy (btw make sure it’s a marking AND feedback policy, not just marking) and it’s one thing to have some amazing examples of staff following said policy…but if that’s not consistent you’re going to struggle to get ‘Good’ I spotted this in numerous reports and each one Teaching and Learning came out with requiring improvement.
- Low level disruption – learners distracting others, learners not focused on an individual outcome.
- High Attainers not appropriately challenged – this featured in every report I’ve read since sept 2015. Higher attainers who are not being appropriately challenged featured as comments in all the reports and held schools back from moving from either good to outstanding or from achieving good (depending on other factors).
So, key areas to make sure your school is doing right?
- Feedback for learners – this doesn’t mean masses and masses of text, and it doesn’t mean students filling out pointless reflection slips. This means the teachers feedback related to improving work and an improvement was evident. Simple as that! (further tips)
- Stretch and challenge (for all) good, simple and effective differentiation for all learners to challenge them at any ability level.
- Consistent adherence to marking and feedback policies – if you want to ensure a policy is consistently followed then take you’re time to make sure it’s a sensible, realistic and easy to adhere to policy. Don’t write a policy you think will impress inspectors but creates a workload that’s unrealistic and unattainable for your teachers.
- Behaviour for learning, set clear standards, procedures for handling low level disruption and follow them to the letter. Support staff in a realistic way.
Those are all fundamental areas of our jobs aren’t they?
And they’re not the kind of thing you should be implementing just to please an inspector! They’re things any really GOOD school will be doing anyway and will enjoy showcasing to inspectors.
Highlight these areas to review in the next 1/2 term is my advice.
Don’t be heavy handed but reflect on your school under these headings to test your readiness for an Ofsted inspection.
Would welcome comments on this post from teachers and leaders…and even Ofsted inspectors 👍