For teachers and SLT alike, Ofsted inspections are stressful. It’s hard to keep up with ever-changing guidelines and regulations whilst working one of the most demanding jobs in the country. With so many different opinions and interpretations, nailing down school policy that will align with current Ofsted regulations can be extremely time-consuming, especially when the information you are using is incorrect.
By using updated methods and dispelling myths about Ofsted, schools can improve their efficiency and reduce teacher workload.
Myth 1. Ofsted requires lesson-by-lesson plans
Ofsted does not require individual lesson plans. They also do not require schools to show plans from previous lessons as evidence of planning. Whilst planning is recommended, how these plans are set out, how long they take to create and the level of detail within them are not specified.
Providing they are efficient and effective, teachers are free to plan as they see fit. This gives them more freedom to adopt a planning technique that works for them without adding to their already busy schedules.
Myth 2. Ofsted requires teachers to set a certain amount of homework
There are no requirements for a set amount of work that students should have completed. Ofsted knows that different subjects, and even different teachers, will set varying amounts of homework to complement the nature of the subject. They do not expect any school to have a certain amount of homework that they require all subject teachers to set.
Ofsted simply wants to ensure that the amount of work set is in line with school policy and observe how well teachers work at adhering to policy, as well as how students progress with learning as a result.
Myth 3. Ofsted requires data to be set out in a certain way
Student data does not need to be presented in any particular way. Ofsted inspectors will view data the same way as the school in question does. Inspectors also do not expect students’ work to be presented in any kind of way, inspectors will ask students individually for examples of their work and to judge their understanding.
So, if you’re following Ofsted’s guidelines, there’s no need to lay out students’ books in any particular way, nor restructure any databases or file structures that you use in a bid to appease an inspector. Inspectors are aware that all schools manage data differently and will bear this in mind.
Hopefully this calms your Ofsted anxiety and gives you some key areas of change to think about.
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Remember, there’s no quick fix to improving your Ofsted rating. Improving your school culture, creating progressive and well managed school policy and ensuring consistency and a good work-life balance for your staff can all create a better environment for teachers and students and, in turn, a better Ofsted rating for the school.
Looking for the low down on Ofsted's new regulations? Next term we're delving into all the changes we've seen this academic year and what it means for your teachers, students and the school as a whole.