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Dear James: OFSTED in first few weeks

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by PrincessVix, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. Hi!

    I've been into school today in order to try to sort my room out and catch up on any changes since July. Apparently our GCSE results were not great and as a result an OFSTED has been triggered focusing on our department.


    When I was on placement I experienced a mini-ofsted which involved everyone running round like mad and me sitting there wondering exactly what was going on - just wondered what to expect from this OFSTED. WIll they only be looking at established teachers? Will I get told/get to pick a lesson for them to observe or will they just drop in randomly? Is there anything else I should know?


    Thanks
     
  2. Welcome to teaching. As a member of the teaching staff you will be as likely as anyone else to get alesson visit. Clearly, you are not accountable for last year's results, so my advice is to plan your lessons for the OFSTEd week (once you know they are 'in') top the highest level anbd make sure that you are fully aware of the background of your pupils, make sure you understahd the data on their priuor attainment and ensure that your lessons have clear objectives, linked to levels, and that your plenary assesses their attainment for that lesson. Ask the HOD for any advice or information you may need and, when they are in try to be the best teacxher you can on each day.
    The chances of a visit - if your department is singled out will be higehrv than normasl, but if you are a core subject (eng, maths, sci) then there is some safety in numbers.
    James
     
  3. Ssn77

    Ssn77 New commenter

    Your first term is much the best time to be 'Ofstedded'. Everyone is very sympathetic that it has happened, and there is less pressure because you are new. Although you are likely to get a visit, the inspectors know that you are an NQT. Remember also that a big focus is on producing good lesson plans looking at the needs of everyone in the class (equality and diversity is a focus), and visits tend to be 20 min rather than a whole lesson. It is good to plan some mini plenaries during a lesson so you can show student progression.
     
  4. They will look at a range of teachers from newly qualified to experienced an ASTs. Often their lesson obs are focused on groups of students they want to look at eg, if the school has identified white working class boys as underachieving then classes with these groups may be more likely to be visited, similarly SEN or G+T (especially if your school tends to not do well on A/A* for these students). The Head will be given a few bullet points before they arrive which will help them understand where they might be looking.
    They will call in randomly and for a random length of time. Our school was mad on telling us that they only did snapshots of lessons but when I was observed this year the inspector was there for 50 mins and only missed the 1st 10 mins of the lesson.
    Go through SIMs and print out your classlists and annotate your seating plans with codes so you know who your important groups are, FSM, EAL, LAC (Looked after child), G+T. This is more for your own peace of mind than anything else. Also put the kids target grade and working at grade on the seating plan so you've got it all on one sheet. Keep this with your lesson plan.
    Above all don't panic, Ofsted inspectors are human too you know. On our last one we were really panicking and I knew I would be seen as a lead practitioner for my subject. I was seen with Y13 and I hadn't planned anything super-duper all singing and all dancing, we were just mixing stuff together in test tubes and observing what happened and discussing it in pairs, as a group etc. We were sat round one table, not even looking at the board, very much as equals. The ofsted inspector sat down for about 15 mins to digest my lesson plan and info have a look what was going on then got up and started chatting to the kids and getting involved in the lesson. He was a really nice bloke who genuinely wanted to know how the kids felt about what they were being taugt, how I felt the lesson was in comparison to other lessons I taught. At the end he stayed 20 mins to give me good feedback including suggesting what I could teach them next, he was really friendly.
    Hope this puts your mind at ease a bit.
     
  5. Hi,
    Your post caught my eye and I felt I should give tell you my experience. I completed my NQT year this July and OFSTED came to our school in the third week of September 2010. Like yourself, I was an NQT and was terrified of having someone coming to observe me. I had the chief inspector come in and watch 20 mins of my lesson and stayed after to give feedback. He didn't know I was an NQT until after the observation. Apparently, the observations were at random, but out of four people in my MFL department, I was the only one to be seen.
    My advice would be:
    - make sure you have a lesson plan ready for when someone comes in, and if this does happen, pause the lesson and make sure you recap your objectives/ do a mini plenary to recap.
    - circulate and make it clear that you know your pupils well and have established good relationships with them (hard, I know, but as long as you know a few names, use them!)
    - just make everything blatantly obvious! as having completed my NQT year in a special measures school, they want everything to be clear and as subtle as a sledgehammer. Perhaps have clear powerpoint slides where you can have mini plenaries and AfL . Differentiate effectively, make sure this is REALLY detailed in your lesson plan, refer to seating plan and also to certain pupils if necessary. Highlight the bits you want the inspector to see/notice first.
    And finally, dont be afraid to have a polite argument with the inspector that comes to see you, when they give you feedback. My inspector was undecided whether to give me a satisfactory or good based on the lack of differentiation in the lesson. As long as you can put your case forward with good evidence from the lesson (such as pupils worksheets or books), you might just be able to change their mind.
    Remember, the GCSE problem is not your fault, you are coming to the school at a time of change, and its important to think of your classes first, focus on getting the core routines right and leave the worrying to your more experienced colleagues. You already have enough to deal with!
    good luck!
     

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