Secret @TeacherToolkit: A leadership experience of Ofsted #SecretOfsted

@TeacherToolkitIn 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account through which he rapidly became the ‘most followed teacher on social media in the UK’. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the ‘500 Most Influential People in Britain’ by The Sunday… Read more about @TeacherToolkitThis is a Secret @TeacherToolkit article: A leadership experience of Ofsted in England.Earlier this week, I received an email from a senior teacher in South England. After a few email exchanges, we decided it would be best to share this experience – anonymously – via my blog. You can read the original email below, in 99% of its truest form.A leadership experience of Ofsted:“We are very anxious about this whole process at the moment. Recently our school had invited an Ofsted inspector in as a consultant to de-construct our SEF. (School Evaluation Form) Unfortunately, this had rather a deflating effect and left many experienced SLT members feeling very nervous about giving the ‘wrong’ answers and we became very unsure about where we now stand as a school.“Recently, we invited an OFSTED inspector to our school…”Photo Credit: The_Warfield via Compfight ccI believe that the SEF is a non-compulsory document. However, so much agonising and painful introspection was on display; in what amounted to an exercise in completing Ofsted’s work for them! It was hard to see why there should be such a strong focus and concern over this document …Advice:Principally, our consultant stated that there will be several big areas of focus for any Ofsted visit: Pupil Premium, More Able, Best 8, Catch Up and Gifted and Talented (although this would mainly be through lesson provision). The consultant also urged the school not to fall into the trap of using FFT or APS; but measure everything from the RAISE online data. The most important reason for this is that ‘the inspection team’ will see through the cherry-picking of some data, to try to prove the school is better than it might actually be.Schools must also be crystal clear on what the current position is on Best 8 and what the future holds. Evidence for the expected improvements in Best 8 is would also be sought.Pupil Premium appeared to be very high focus. The transparency of how this money is spent – demonstrating this to parents – was highlighted. As much data and analysis of the impact of this money spent is required and freely available.There was a warning that if Behaviour is graded higher than Teaching and Learning, that this may be a cause for concern. If Behaviour is so good, then why is the teaching not better? Also, if these are the {typical} circumstances, then why aren’t results better?Another recommendation was that schools should update SEFs regularly with the latest data drop. Probably termly, as this will give Ofsted a better idea of the progress groups are making. Fairly common sense, except that once more it appears as though we are doing all of their work for them!Curiosity:I am curious what other teachers feel about the reporting of lesson observations too. This appears to be an expectation – that the school will be open and transparent. However, it also seems to have the potential to undermine a school and its judgements, should the inspection team not find a direct correlation in their sample of lesson visits.It was suggested that the inspection team would get the go-ahead to visit a school, then they would have an hour or so to look at the RAISE online; look at the SEF and then start their investigations. Whilst it was made clear that no judgements would be made until clarity is sought from the leadership team and from trawling data and visiting lessons, I couldn’t help feeling that perhaps ‘the team’ do not go into a visit, without already having some strongly held views of the school.“… they would have an hour or so to look at the RAISE online …”Photo Credit: kenteegardin via Compfight ccThoughts:I would be interested to find out if any schools do not complete the ‘non-compulsory’ SEF document. I am not sure how any school can avoid doing so, without looking like there is a lack of self-evaluation in its leadership team.What do others feel has worked for their school and impacted on their inspection visit, whether positively or negatively? How much should a school actually ‘tell’ Ofsted, without helping them to pre-judge us too much?I am new to SLT, but it is evident that this SEF is the bane of everyone’s life; especially if we are distilling self-evaluation and evidence – down to around four pages – and then it becoming a tool to beat the school and leadership team with.I would like to add: It was clear that the consultant ‘knew {their} stuff’ and was giving well-intentioned advice; but, the overall feeling was that many aspects that we thought were positive about our school, were now not so bright and shiny. It was pretty sobering.Any advice?(End).Comments are free:If you would like to leave a comment for this school/senior teacher; please do so by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post.I will also respond to you, on behalf of the secret-teacher, after sharing your comments.Photo Credit: seq via Compfight cc Secret @TeacherToolkit?If you have an Ofsted experience you would like to share; please contact me below in good faith..51.7659080.667367Related

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