Sunday, 10 December 2017

Surviving Ofsted

I have always wondered what it would be like to have Ofsted coming to inspect our school. The stigma that came with this has always unsettled me. That dreaded email came through, and I live to tell the story of how I survived my first ever Ofsted inspection…

I’ve heard there is a certain atmosphere to a school after finding out that Ofsted is due; especially if the last inspection did not go to plan. From observation, as our school received ‘the call’ most of my colleagues were focused and determined to ensure they were planned and prepared, so they can give the best account of themselves as teachers. For some, there was a hint of panic and uncertainty of how the couple of the inspection days will unfold.

My school life mantra...

As a first timer, I was both excited to showcase what I had learnt in the last year or so since I started this journey. At the same time, there was an air of panic and there were infinite what ifs that lingered in my mind. What if I have a poor lesson? What if I am not good enough? What if I let the school down? And the dreaded one, what if the students do not behave and it is an absolute shambles? All of these thoughts ran through my mind as I fell to sleep on the eve before the first day of inspection. Safe to say, those couple of days sleep were not the best.

I’d always thought I taught lessons which are Ofsted worthy all the time. On reflection, this has definitely not been the case. How na├»ve of me!  Some of my lessons are brilliant and I observe progression from all (ish) students, in others I am genuinely trying to stay sane and wondering how I had got myself in this situation. Stood in front 20 odd students, teaching... The fact of the matter is, it is somewhat impossible to have an Ofsted worthy lesson 100% of the time. There are many factors involved, some we control and can take ownership of. Others are completely out of our hands.

Although I was not personally inspected, the experience has been valuable and it has taught me to always be prepared as the old quote goes. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.  

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