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Soul destroying Ofsted inspection...

Discussion in 'Primary' started by samwilliamsgiles, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. Have just had Ofsted for two days...Christmas hell. I got nothing but satisfactory and am sooo fed up.
    In the last 6 weeks I have been observed loads as part of all sorts of things including a 'fake' Ofsted. Got nothing less than good. Including two outstandings... I have never in all my Ofsteds got anything less than good, or in any observation. Just simply lost my thread and in two fifteen minute obs lost it all.....god it's hard and getting harder this job.
    How do you pick yourself up?

  2. Have just had Ofsted for two days...Christmas hell. I got nothing but satisfactory and am sooo fed up.
    In the last 6 weeks I have been observed loads as part of all sorts of things including a 'fake' Ofsted. Got nothing less than good. Including two outstandings... I have never in all my Ofsteds got anything less than good, or in any observation. Just simply lost my thread and in two fifteen minute obs lost it all.....god it's hard and getting harder this job.
    How do you pick yourself up?

  3. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Don't worry. If you, and your HT, know that your lessons are usually good enough or better, then why would you give two ***** what an OFSTED inspector you'll never meet again thought of a few snapshots of your teaching?
    Look at your next paypacket. If the money is the same as usual, carry on as normal.
  4. Don't worry. 2 lots of 15 minute observations is hardly enough to label you for life as a 'satisfactory' teacher. You and many others know that your performance is better than that on many occasions.
    Chalk it up as experience and keep going!
  5. We are hearing a lot of stories about OFSTED tightening up and being harsher with judgements. One local school, despite having some very positive comments on their report, and some brilliant positive feedback from parents in their survey, still only came out with 'notice to improve'. It's as if they want to destroy morale and teacher confidence. Don't let them win.
  6. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    Quote from OFSTED inspector who gave a briefing recently - "It's not YOU that is good/outstanding/satisfactory ... it's the TINY bit of the lesson, of the learning, that we saw"
    However, having been in your shoes, I have a great deal of sympathy for how you are feeling. (Our school went from outstanding to "barely satisfactory" ...). You can, and will pick yourself up. For now, delight in the children you teach and the feedback parents give you as to whether their children are happy. In the New Year, reflect, and ask whether children's learning can be even better than you are already are making it. (note, the "even better" ... not "good" or "outstaning"). Don't get hung up on labels for lessons, but do continue to reflect on the needs of your children and whether you are meeting all of them!
    It's not easy, but possible, to find some self-belief and enjoyment again.

    Thought: is it better to have consistently satisfactory/good learning, than the occasional "WOW" ....??
  7. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    This just isn't true. They're not monsters and they're not the enemy (the government on the other hand....). 90% of inspectors I've met are perfectly nice, reasonable people. They're just doing a job.
    And it's not a case of winning or losing. It's a case of satisying lesson grading criteria, to put it clinically.
    Anyone expecting an inspection would do well to look at OFSTED's lesson grading criteria for inspections. Without that you're going into it blind and potentially leaving yourself open to criticism. Have a look, make sure you're hitting every criterion for good or better, be prepared to evidence it if not clear during the snapshot observation (inspectors are always willing for you to argue your case if you think they've missed something) and you'll be fine. Yes - this does make it a box ticking exercise, but it's only for a couple of days.
    The lesson grading criteria are probably a lot tougher than a lot of people realise. They are, however, logical and reasonably quanitfiable. Lessons having 'sparkle' or whatever, aren't mentioned.
    You'd also do well to look at the draft criteria for the new framework as well. Your HT should have a copy. Everything's been geared up a notch - an outstanding on the current criteria wouldn't be as such on the new one.
  8. Thank you all. My headteacher has phoned me toady and just said that she knows my strengths well. Nice as I did not expect it.
    It is so true Nick 909...I suppose that it's onward and upward. Our whole school needs to pick ourselves up and focus on the moving forward. Our biggest problem was that in a small school of only 75 children and 40% special needs we have a mountain to climbe before our data will ever show the 80% attainment so our focus is got to be on the progres
    Now to sort Mary and Joseph out :)

  9. Wouldn't you say, Nick, that if lessons that were previously rated as good, now were deemed satisfactory, this would have a major effect on staff morale? And surely if the government is the enemy of teachers, isn't OFSTED linked in with that too? I am sure most OFSTED inspectors are wonderful people. However their actions have, in some cases, have caused staff to have breakdowns because their over-zealous judgements have damaged previously happy and successful schools.

  10. takethatno1fan

    takethatno1fan New commenter

    A useful reply nick909. Have you got a link to the Ofsted criteria for lesson observations? Including the new criteria?
    To the OP, I can sympathise with you, but just remember what matters is what goes on in your classroom day after day, week after week, and not just what the inspector 'obesrved' for 2 x 15 minute slots. I still find it hard to see how they can make a realistic judgement in such a short space of time.
  11. I absolutely second this. In my last HT observation, I got "good with significant elements of outstanding". My HT told me that it was as though I had gone through the criteria beforehand and ticked everything off to ensure it was seen. Of course that was what I had done! I did what I normally would do, but made sure there was evidence for every criteria made blatantly obvious.
    These labels that are banded about are so difficult to look beyond, and so hard not to take personally, but I've managed to convince myself that it's just a box-ticking exercise. For 190 days of the year I can teach my way, which I know works and which the results say works; and then tick those boxes when there is someone sat in the back of the room with a clip board.

  12. It's the whole thing that just becomes out of focus. My 'satisfactory' lessons aside. I have a class of 4/5 and 6.
    On the data they looked at I had 9 Yr 6's who were 11% each. Two were statemented and 3 school action plus. Two inherited in Yr 6 from other schools. My data was never going to look good..Missed target with SEN. Progress looked good with outstanding in reading but... we lost out in % terms by half a child...Now I am not a data cruncher and it sometimes baffles me to be honest. But we will forever with small cohorts have this spikey profile.
    The inspectors final words were to us..."well if you had been OFSTED by the last framework you would have been good, now your satisfactory but had we had out OFSTED in January would have been unsatisfatory...Raising standards or just a muddle?

  13. That is what I will do from now....Did not do it yesterday and wishing I had.

  14. becktonboy

    becktonboy New commenter

    there's little clinical about it
    definitely not a world I recognise
    those quantities are subjective in the extreme
    is nearer to the world as I have experienced it: SATs, the invention of OFSTED and the new regime's action so far all had a similar agenda: (re)define educational attainment, find fault with schools' delivery, promulgate policies / initiatives / 'guidance' / new types of school / new P+Cs / new training, bully schools into adopting them by crude stick and carrot (or the stick will come out again) methods, schools adapt (learn to play the game), declare improvements in education in time for next election.
    OFSTED 'tightening up' is merely step 2 in the process - I await significant improvements, possibly based on Academies, Free Schools, Foundation Schools etc etc in about 18 months to 2 years time.
  15. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Sorry I haven't - I have just hard copies given to me by HT/SMT.
    Speak to your HT - they should have copies. If not, your SIP.
  16. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Yes, I agree, on the face of it, this is absurd and illogical. How indeed can a lesson be good one day, yet barely acceptable the next? But - it is reasonable that there are criteria there and if you look at them, it's just a case of tweaking in the case of most lessons. We all (I mean decent teachers here) teach good lessons daily. It's simply a case of ticking a few boxes to show you do when OFSTED come in. It's a silly game, but it's worth playing for two days, surely, when you consider what the alternatives are.
  17. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    That's a shame as it's always been my experience. Such inconsistencies shouldn't happen.
    This is a thread in itself. I'm just trying to give the OP and others a few tips on how to keep your nose clean and get through an observation...
  18. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    But it's all such a horrible waste of time. I can't bear the thought that excellent teachers are spending any time ensuring that their lessons meet Ofsted's criteria. They're not improving their teaching, merely ticking some boxes. I'd say that no one should do that. They should teach the way they think is best for their class (which they know well and Ofsted don't know at all). The same thing is never going to be right on every occasion and it's absurd to have an inspection system which rests on this idea. Parents aren't taken in by these silly judgements. They know which are the good teachers and which aren't. My son's Maths' teacher, who is brilliant in every way, didn't get an outstanding for a lesson because he din't tick one arbitrary box. That doesn't make me think he must be less good than I thought, it makes me think Ofsted hasn't a clue what makes a good lesson.
  19. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Not sure what to say to make you feel better. A couple of weeks ago I started a very similar thread, feeling totally fed up with the whole thing for all the same sort of reasons as you. Lots of good ideas from other people on there though, so here is the link:

    And I did argue my case a little, but (I found out yesterday) the inspector complained to the HT that I hadn't really seemed to accept what she was saying the way that all other staff had. I got a, gentle, lecture about how not to speak to inspectors, so I'd not recommend bothering to argue your case.
  20. I think this 'learn the trick to get the tick' philosophy is all well and good. However, what does it communicate to the pupils we are teaching about morality? They will see us lying to outsiders and in some ways, expecting them to collude with this. And the truth is, the higher the bar is set, then if teachers do learn how to get around the rules, the bar will be set even higher, to give the impression that schools are failing and need to become academies.

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