How can teachers best prepare for OFSTED visits?


How teachers can best prepare for OFSTED visits

Every teacher will face an OFSTED inspection at some stage in their career, but it shouldn’t be a reason to be fearful. As long as you know what to expect, you can prepare yourself for what is to come and can showcase the best of your school and your skills to the inspectors.

Here we look at how teaching staff can prepare for OFSTED visits and discover why it’s best to always be ready for the call when it comes.

Familiarise yourself with the process

In the same way that you’ll prepare your pupils for an exam, prepare for an OFSTED visit by getting to know what the process looks like. Ensure you have an understanding of what the inspectors will be looking for, and of what will be expected of you as a teacher. Even this basic level of knowledge can go a long way to boosting your confidence when inspectors are in the classroom.

Plan ahead

Most OFSTED inspections follow a pattern, as it’s necessary for a school to be checked after a certain period of time. This can mean it is more or less likely that an inspection might be due in any particular school, so make sure you know when the last one took place.

Then create a preparation plan! Ask yourself what information you would need if an inspection was to happen in the coming days and have an action plan for how you would tackle any issues.

Plan, plan and plan some more

Lesson planning takes on greater importance during an inspection, but inspectors will be more interested in the impacts, rather than how you go about things. However, having a clear process in place can help to cement good techniques and methodology, while it should enable you to plan quickly and effectively. This should mean that you can successfully show that your methods allow pupils to demonstrate their knowledge and grasp of the subject matter during an inspection.

Keep all key information up-to-date

Inspectors will look for certain key information so be sure that everything that is your responsibility is kept up-to-date. That way, you’ll be thankful when OFSTED calls as you won’t need to scramble around to urgently update records and source other data.

Tidy and consider the classroom environment

If you have workbooks on show, keep in mind that an inspector may look at them. You could opt to remove them from sight, but it’s also worth considering what feedback already exists within them. Feedback should be clear and progressive, and any areas where a pupil may have struggled should be covered in follow-up lessons. Think about your classroom layout too, as wall spaces should display a broad range of different work, ideally across a number of topics. This way you can demonstrate the breadth of knowledge that your pupils possess.

Avoid new things

If you’re preparing for a lesson during an inspection period, avoid doing anything that you haven’t done previously. It isn’t the time for new teaching methodology, but is instead the moment for using tried and tested approaches that you know will keep pupils engaged. This means you can dodge any potentially difficult questions from pupils that don’t understand a task, as all will be processes that your class is familiar with. Keep things simple and put an emphasis on delivering clear learning outcomes for all pupils. You’ll want tasks which test pupils’ understanding and promote development, as your lesson should demonstrate that the approaches being used are driving up attainment.

Show you make a difference

It’s very easy for teachers to see an OFSTED inspection as something to fear, but it’s really an opportunity for you to show just how good you and your teaching methods are. By planning ahead and embracing the process, you should find it easier to show just how much of a difference you make. 

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