A few weeks ago I was in a school about to receive a visit from Ofsted. While sharing a packet of chocolate hobnobs, one teacher said:
“I just hope it’s a nice team.”
If you’ve attended any of my training, you have probably heard me bang on about the difference between hope and expectation. Right then, my heart went out to a teacher feeling her only hope is that the inspectors hadn’t had a rotten time during their own school run that morning!
New Week, New Hairdo?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I get that Ofsted have changed their criteria about the same amount of times than I have changed my hair extensions times over the last few years, but the current definition of outstanding in their own handbook is totally in line with evidence-based research.
Here’s the thing, most teachers I work with find themselves spending so much time in teaching, that they have little space left to reflect on teaching.
Imagine if, rather than waiting for someone to come in and point out our strengths and weaknesses to us, we had a clear grasp of what the research/Ofsted said and was already in the process of embedding it?
In my first Ofsted, I was praised for an excellent lesson. Not being a total idiot, I pulled the same lesson out of the bag for the next Ofsted.
That time I was slated!
By round three, I was armed with knowledge about what works, evidence to back it up and endearing chutzpah. I trained my Y1 children up as Class Ambassadors. When on duty, they had to stay alert and welcome any strangers (with badges!) into the classroom with the following line.
“Hello there and welcome to our class. We are learning about <insert topic here>. Here is a display of the ways that we are nailing teaching and learning in our room. We’re looking forward to hearing what you think.”
Here are 30 quotes, pulled straight from Ofsted for you to reflect on, discuss with your learners and use on display.
Be quick about it though, the recent White Paper mentioned that these statements might be removed altogether, in which case we will be forced to rely solely on actual solid research evidence. Imagine that!