Preparing for Ofsted
If you are part of middle leadership, then you will most likely have had your fair share of Ofsted inspections. But, if you are new to the role, then it is important to note, that most likely, Ofsted inspectors will organise a meeting with you while they are in school.
Although this may at first seem rather daunting, there is a broad range of things you can do to prepare yourself effectively before any questions are asked. What’s more, you should treat this as an opportunity to showcase the amazing things that you and your department have achieved, and therefore the impact you have made as a leader.
With the new Ofsted Inspection Framework underway, it is crucial that you consider the 3 I’s – Intent, Implementation and Impact. Especially, if your subject is chosen for a deep dive. Remember to provide evidence examples of how and where the improvements are being made, too. This is vital if you are going to communicate how teaching and learning and their impact on progress have improved, for example. Here, you would need evidence that substantiates your claims and clearly enables the inspector to visualise the growth journey you and your team have been on.
What do the 3 I’s look like?
Although the 3 I’s are the basis of three independent areas of curriculum development, it is important to note that Ofsted inspectors will not assess them as separate entities. When performing a deep dive on your department area, they will triangulate in one measurement. So, with this in mind, it is important to remember that the embedding of successful curriculum content requires all three to work symbiotically. Let’s take a look at each of the 3 I’s and what they actually look like departmentally.
Ofsted state that curriculum intent is essentially the framework for setting out the aims of a programme of education. This, therefore, includes the knowledge and skills that children will acquire at each stage of the curriculum. Working backwards from the desired outcome is effective when planning learning content, as you can then create clear targets and aims for all children while constructing a pathway that enables them to get there.
Ofsted will look at:
When assessing the implementation of the curriculum, Ofsted inspectors will be interested in how your plans for success have been rolled out to the wider team and what this looks like within the realms of the classroom. In other words, they will want to explore the teaching activities that have been chosen and how these are delivered.
Ofsted will look at:
Finally, Ofsted inspectors will want to see the fruits of your hard work and will assess whether your learners have developed the key knowledge and skills intended through the implementation of the curriculum.
Ofsted will look at:
What are they going to ask me?
The Ofsted deep dive on a subject area translates to an in-depth examination of your subject through the aforementioned 3 I’s. Many middle leaders will now have experienced this approach to inspection by now, but if you are new to the role, then you should know that this will involve a range of lesson observations within your subject area, book looks, and discussions with you, the subject lead. With this in mind, there is a range of questions that you could be asked about your department, and it is important that we prepare effectively to respond accurately and with evidence.
Schemes of Work
As mentioned previously, Ofsted inspectors will be interested to triangulate the intent, implementation and impact of the curriculum and the schemes of work you have created in response to it.
As you will already know, no two students learn in the same way, and when it comes to progress, they will want to know what interventions have been put in place to make sure that everyone is able to achieve.
Progress is no doubt a key focus of Ofsted Inspections, and you can expect lots of questions and discussions about how students are making progress and how this progression aligns itself with the national curriculum standards.
Questions to ask yourself before the Ofsted Inspection takes place
Although you will undoubtedly be asked a broad range of questions as part of your subject deep dive, it is always important that we are self-reflective, too. Don’t forget to emphasise the amazing achievements that you and your team have made, and celebrate the journey you have been on together.
Here is a list of questions that you should ask yourself to prepare even more effectively:
So, whether you have had ‘the call’ or are looking to get prepared ahead of time, make sure that you are organised and prepared to showcase the amazing things that you and your team are doing on a daily basis.