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Have you ever had to cancel weekend plans for Ofsted?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by impulce, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. Weve been awaiting Ofsted all term, and as such I've really struggled to not book anything in advance etc in case I need to be in school/need the time to do all my preparation. They've not been yet and its starting to really wind me up that Im having to put my personal life on hold for it.
    My best friend gets married in April and fortunately it falls just after the holiday I can enjoy that with no panic of Ofsted, but we've had to book her Hen Do (a night away in Manchester) one Saturday in february and there's still a chance Ofsted could call. It stops me from being able to get excited about my future weekend plans - Part of me would want to stick two fingers up and still go, but the other half of me would feel like I was letting the rest of the staff down.
    It would be my first Ofsted so i've no idea what its like. Has anyone ever had to cancel future plans when they got the call?
     
  2. Cervinia

    Cervinia Occasional commenter

    We were under the sword of damocles for 18 months.
    Is it really worth putting your life on hold for? Go out - plan things, live life as normal and if Ofsted call, so be it.
    You are entitled to a life outside of school.
     
  3. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Ofsted won't necessarily come on a Monday... there's every chance they could turn up on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, which would mean you only had weekday evenings to do any 'preparation'. We had the call from Ofsted on Monday to say they were coming on Tuesday, and the head kept the school open until 8pm that evening, during which time we tidied our classrooms, made sure all the display boards were filled and up to date, etc. You obviously want everything to be right for Ofsted but you shouldn't have so much to prepare that you'd need to cancel your weekend plans for a Monday visit.
     
  4. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    Why would ofsted stop you going out at the weekend?
     
  5. I was asked not to go ice hockey training at the weekend. We had been called on the Thursday and told they were in on Monday. Fair enough, injuring a teacher assessed to be outstanding before the big day it's never a good thing.

    Hard as it is, ignore the threat and enjoy your weekends.
     
  6. It wouldn't stop me from going out for a meal or something similar (though I would be too nervous to enjoy it!), but I mean more like booking hotels for weekends away. Our head asks us to use a specific lesson planning format that is quite in depth so purely putting each lesson into that format would take a while - im also new to the role of KS1 coord so would want to spend time making sure I had that side of it fresh in my mind.
    I just hate that I may not actually be able to go to my best friends hen weekend because of work - theres no way Id get everything done.
     
  7. This is frankly ridiculous. Your school will either be satisfactory or good or outstanding or unsatisfactory and two days of frantic preparation is not going to make any difference at all to that judgement. Just what is it that you have to 'get done' and can't you do some of it beforehand?
    If you're a subject leader, get your evidence file in order, get some monitoring, pupil feedback, work evidence. If you're a teacher without responsibility just make sure your planning is pretty decent each week. Having done a lot of monitoring myself I can truthfully say that I've seen outstanding planning being taught really badly and vice versa so don't even spend hours on your planning.
    You are NOT going to make the difference between one grade and another simply by being in school frantically photocopying on the days before OfSTED. Largely it will be the results of the pupils coming out the other end and that's your job every day so keep doing your job and for goodness sake stop cancelling plans. I know of a headteacher who was on a residential in France when OfSTED called. She didn't come back, and quite right too.
     
  8. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Lead commenter

    If you use that planning format all the time when do you normally get things done? I might be wrong but my understanding is that Ofsted actually state that they don't expect to see complicated lesson planning formats. If your HT is insisting you plan in such a way that your work/life balalance is compromised (and other staff are similarly affected) that's an issue that needs to be raised regardless of Ofsted.

    Ofsted is much more of a big deal for the HT than for you. I'm a bit worried that you wouldn't even be able to enjoy a meal the weekend before.
     
  9. We dont use that planning format normally - we normally plan on a weekly grid, but we have an observation lesson planning format that our head would want in place for every lesson during the ofsted inspection - its not something we use regularly, and is very in depth, so it would take me a while to put all my 'briefer' planning from my normal grid into that format. I dont agree with it and know ofsted dont request it, but it is what my head is asking me to do.
    I coordinate ICT and do have that side of it in order, but am also new to the role of KS1 coord and it has taken me some time to get my head around the data side of things - I would want to sit down and go over some things to make sure I knew the cohort really well before a potential interview with an ofsted inspector.
    I am a worrier and with it being my first Ofsted, I will be nervous...that said, I am going to try and stop work interfering with my personal life quite so much. I just wondered whether it was quite common for people to not make plans/cancel plans etc when they are expecting an ofsted phonecall, or not.
     
  10. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I always had the impression that OFSTED had worked out their grading in advance from the school's data and were simply visiting to find 'field' evidence that supported their grading. I doubt if one person being away for the weekend would make much difference to that.

    As others have said, the phone call doesn't automatically come on a Friday anyway.
     
  11. Pageant

    Pageant Occasional commenter

    Our head still carried on with the summer fayre even though we knew OFSTED was coming on the Monday. We spent all day Saturday sorting out the Fayre and manning stalls by Sunday we were knackered :-(
     
  12. All this shows what a stupid rigmarole inspection has become. Yes, you might want to tidy up and locate a few bits of information to have it to hand but inspection should be about what you do on a daily basis not putting on a special show after intensive preparation. Grr!
     
  13. The other issue is that you have to have a head that supports that ethos though airy :) I do agree with you.
     
  14. Heads would support it if they knew it was what inspectors expected. Any head who actually wants to subject staff to ridiculous pressure to produce a performance which bears little resemblance to reality should be sacked.
     
  15. lardylady

    lardylady Star commenter

    That sucks! My HT has now told us that because Ofsted don't look at lesson plans, we don't have to do them anymore for observations by him or the deputy.
     
  16. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    ... and on the spot with no pay off.
     
  17. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Good to know that there are HTs with common sense.
     
  18. Look as if I go against the trend here but when we got our notice of an Ofsted visit in September 2011, it came on a Thursday with the inspection on the following Tuesday. I did cancel all my plans for the weekend, nothing special though, as I wanted to make sure my lessons plans were the best I could do as well as check some SENCO data as we were not sure at that stage what the focus of the inspection was going to be. I felt some professional need to be as fully prepared as I could be, I did not want to let the school or my colleagues down and anyway, I always get uptight when i get observed so need to know that I have covered all eventualities.
    So to answer your question, I might not cancel a weekend away but I would cancel a meal or evening out prior to Ofsted as I too have to complete lengthy, pointless lesson plans when being observed. Incidentally, the Ofsted inspectors did look at and take away lesson plans if they were in lessons for more than 20 minutes and so giving some feedback, I am not sure what their reaction would have been if there were no lesson plans to see.
     
  19. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    That's a bit different from cancelling plans every weekend (or actually just not making any) just in case Ofsted come.
     
  20. If your year 6 pupils come out having good attainment and having made good progress your school will get good almost regardless of what the inspectors see. Similarly, if your year 6 come out having made satisfactory attainment and progress you could be the most impressive teachers, wonderful displays etc. and your school will only get satisfactory. If teachers focussed on being the best they could be the majority of the time then we could all sleep sound in our beds at night and not worry a toss about OfSTED. If you don't have lesson plans but your lesson is great - they are not going to fuss.
     

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