All schools and colleges will be asked to supply to inspectors details of their curriculum so it is important to ensure that this is in order and available. It can be a good idea for teachers, heads of department and head teachers to consistently run ‘spot checks’ to ensure that all relevant paperwork is in place.
Ofsted inspectors are not only looking at the grades your students attain but will also be evaluating the effectiveness of teaching and learning plus the progress being made to achieve aspirational outcomes.
Review lesson planning
Schools and colleges will each have their own style when it comes to lesson plans, which is fine. Ensure that your lesson plans are formatted from the point of view of the subject and the teacher as well as being easy to follow and understand from an outsider’s perspective.
We aren’t going to tell you how to write a good lesson plan, you just need to ensure that your formatted lesson plans and evaluations are in place and can be made available to an inspector in a clear and easy to follow way.
This can be a difficult area so needs to be carefully thought through. If in doubt you can read Ofsted’s Assessment for Learning which highlights the importance of learners setting personal targets continuously throughout the school year.
Ensuring progress for the entire spectrum of learners is of the upmost importance. Ofsted have stated “how the school uses assessment information to identify pupils who are falling behind in their learning or who need additional support to reach their full potential – including the most able”. To enable students’ progress you could create a skill development log to assist you in highlighting how a pupil or student develops as a learner. A skills development log can also demonstrate to the pupil or student the progress they have made.
Ofsted will be looking for:
- A brief, evaluative SEF (Self Evaluation Form).
- A head who knows his or her job, who is confident and organises the inspection well.
- Highlight to the inspectors that you understand the schools strengths and weaknesses. Ensure, when it comes to the weaknesses you have a plan of how to improve things. If you know a teacher in your school is weak be open but inform the inspectors how you and the school are supporting this individual.
- Safeguarding procedures are in place and are being used. You could inform the inspectors of a case to show them that it works and how it works.
- Inspectors now do observations and ‘learning walks’ with the head and senior leaders. Be ready for this and make sure all staff know this is happening so they can prepare.
- Ensure governors are informed of the inspection and have examples ready of instances when the governors have challenged the head or senior leaders about results.
- Examples of the schools involvement in the community such as understanding a multi ethnic community, or SEN (Special Educational Needs) within the school. This can be demonstrated through learning materials, posters and displays and in the curriculum.
- Displays only being put up for the inspection is poor practice. Make sure teachers are changing posters and displays on a regular basis.
- Identify any vulnerable pupils or students. Highlight their needs, the intervention your staff have taken and any other agencies you have involved. It is likely that an inspector will want to observe your plans in action so ensure this is arranged. This will show that you are in control of your school and are confident with your staff.
- To review leadership and management. Inspectors will want to know about staff development and how the SMT (Senior Management Team) support staff.
- Know your school and be proud of it.
- Ensure you have CRB/DBS checks in place for all staff which are readily available.
- Ensure you have a first aider on duty at all times.
- If you have outdoor activities planned make sure risk assessments are available and up to date.General Hints
- As the school lead you can ensure that the inspectors have a room where they can work in peace.
- Provide refreshments.
- Make sure the pupils or students know that visitors are coming.
- Check with staff that they know the levels the children are at across the school.
- It is important that each teacher is given the Ofsted evaluation for attainment and quality of Teaching and Learning.
- Make sure the inspectors are asked for their CRB numbers as this will be acknowledged as safeguarding.
- An area that can be overlooked quite easily is behaviour at playtimes, assembly, lunchtimes and coming and going in and out of school
Having the correct procedures and paperwork in place can make an Ofsted inspection a considerably less stressful situation and more importantly it can aid the development of your school or college.
At Parent Apps we help schools embrace 21st century technology through the use of mobile applications. Our impressive software has a number of features that can impress inspectors. Features such as allowing parents to quickly access policies and newsletters, keeping informed of extra-curricular activities, information on school meals and reducing your carbon footprint are just a handful of the many invaluable features.
Effective communication is a fundamental requirement of Ofsted. The team at Parent Apps can offer your school a customised mobile application that will allow you to communicate with ease. We have built apps for a number of schools in the Liverpool and surrounding areas; we are able to create apps for schools and colleges nationwide. Please get in touch for a free, no obligation quote.