Ofsted inspections: Top things to considerJuly 8th, 2015 Category: Schools
Ofsted inspections can be a challenging and stressful time for many teachers.
Of course, there are some who subscribe to the belief that there is no need for schools to prepare at all, and that every working day should be an example of exemplary performance.
However, this misses one vital point. After all, you would never approach a normal lesson plan or indeed a workshop in that way – you would plan ahead.
Furthermore, Ofsted works to very strict criteria and guidelines, so it is important to remain well prepared.
Ultimately, as a school, you would want to take as much control of the process as possible, and remain engaged with it.
Failure to prepare adequately in advance would invariably lead to mistakes being made or important details being overlooked.
Of course, you should strive to ensure that the school is performing at its best at all times.
However, like all institutions, there will be ups and downs, better days and worse days.
Therefore, it is important to ensure that on the day of the inspections, you are highlighting the very best of your school.
Below, we have given some of our top tips on the things you should be considering in the run-up to an inspection.
Prepare well in advance
No matter how you have previously performed in Ofsted inspections, or how recent your last inspection was, you should begin to prepare for the next inspection straight away.
Taking this approach means that it will be much easier for you to identify your strengths and weaknesses as a school, and put in place improvements.
This should not overshadow the day-to-day aspects of your school activities, but it should be kept in mind and make it easy for you to stay focused on delivering the very best service for your pupils.
The most important part of preparation involves putting together a strategy to highlight your strengths and boost your Ofsted rating.
You need to be well aware of the criteria needed to improve your overall position and have a vision of where you want your school to be in the future.
What are the long-term plans for your school? What data do you have on the different aspects of your school management and how can you utilise this in a positive and effective way?
All of these are things you will need to consider.
Your success will largely depend upon your ability to evaluate your performance as a school and analyse your weak points in detail.
Your school website, pupil premium, engagement between pupils and parents, SEN provision and data dashboard will all be scrutinised as part of an inspection.
You will need to ensure that health and safety, cleanliness, and internal and external reports are reviewed regularly in order to further highlight room for improvement and flag up challenging areas.
The self-evaluation will provide you with the opportunity to promote and boost the profile of your school and provide you with the data you need to back up any statements made.
Health and safety
No matter how well your school is performing in terms of academic studies, failing to take care of the basics will not reflect well on your institution.
Health and safety includes things such as risk management, the hygiene and cleanliness of the school building and the safeguarding of pupils.
In order to garner an accurate idea of where you are as a school, a health and safety evaluation should be conducted and risks identified.
Your school should be presentable and provide a safe and hygienic place to work in.
Ensure pupils and parents are prepared for inspections
Steps should also be taken to ensure that both teachers and pupils are prepared for inspections.
This should not come in the form of excess pressure, but simply putting in place lesson observations, encouraging pupils to come forward with their concerns or difficulties, will help you to prepare for inspections. In addition, allowing staff and pupils to develop their skills and attributes will further help to raise the profile of your school.