Survived yet another Ofsted inspection in special measures, I've been observed so many times in the past year that I've lost count. We were inspected using the new framework which is significantly different to the previous one. We've received support from lots of different sources and I've picked up lots of really useful advice and documents that I will try and share in this thread as it develops.
As you may be aware, from September every school will be subject to no notice inspections. In some respects, it will be a good thing as it will stop people from putting on a show for Ofsted. We received the dreaded call on Monday, we were last inspected 12 weeks ago and thought that we had at least until after half term. If you are as silly as me, then you do silly things like get up at 5am and work until 1am, trying to produce outstanding lessons. Thatís no longer going to be possible under the new framework, which will hopefully give Ofsted a more realistic snap shot of what is going on and a bit of a welcome relief for schools like mine that operate in a challenging environment.
Anyway, necessity is the mother of all invention and thatís especially true if you are trying to survive in special measures. I would therefore make the following suggestions, that I think every history teacher in the land should seriously consider following if you want to survive from September when an Ofsted inspector can just walk into your classroom without any notice:
Active Learning Files
Keep a file for each class on your desk which contains the following:
- SEN details for your students
- Class data
- Intervention logs / detention slips
- Relevant copies of lesson observations / lesson plans
- Two Seating Plans
It is critically important that you can explicitly demonstrate how you use data to plan and differentiate to this end I would strongly recommend that you have two seating plans, one for mixed ability and the other for specific group work based activities that are setted by ability. Besides the obvious, your seating plan should include the following information:
- Target Level
- Currently working at
- G & T
Marking & Assessment
You can't afford to not mark a set of books regularly, nor is it possible to mark everything therefore you have to specificly target what you are marking. Our school policy is to provide written feedback every 5 lessons. I aim to provide a star and a wish type of comment. We've been advised by HMI to use the phase: 'Your next steps to improve are ....' I've also tried to limit the amount I write by designing highly detailed assessment feedback sheets for each assessment aimed at different sub levels from 3b to 7c. Its a hasstle to make, but if you share the burden within the department when you review your assessment tasks it cuts down the time it takes to mark your work.
Assessment For Learning
It is critical that the Ofsted inspectors can find evidence of a learning dialogue in your exercise books. To this end, Ive been getting my students to write my comments into their own words, so that they can demonstrate that they have read my comments and taken onboard my advice on their next steps to improve. I always get them to use the phase: 'My next steps to improve on:' change and continuity, cause and consequence etc ... I do this with all my students KS3 - KS5.
Its also important to make sure that there are examples of peer assessment in your exercise books or AFL files. The star and the wish works well, 'I really lied the way that you backed up your point with two good examples from the source','next time try and explain your examples and link them back to the question.
If you really want to blow away the inspectors then look at my thread on AFL for OCR MWH B. All my GCSE students use my AFL packs and are fully trained like puppies to mark each others past paper questions, make comments and feedback. Its great preparation from day one of the course, cuts down on your marking and fulfils all the AFL criteria and works really well. Check out the pupil feedback sheet I've just posted in that thread.
Lesson Aims & Objectives
Ofsted now hate must, should or could or the similar variations. Please see attached lesson plan for which I got a one for teaching. My advice is to set all your aims and objectives on your IWB for the week ahead, before you leave school on Friday:
Year 11 Lesson Plan Example 2012.docx 26.4KB 493 downloads
I will add my other lesson plans onece, I've had the chance to take out the data and any information which identifies my school or students. Please remember that I'm only including this as an exmaple for a PM observation and for how to set out your aims, objectives and outcomes as you will not have the time to produce documenst like this from September with 'no notice inspections.'
All the guidelines from the unions and the government advise that teachers shoudl be given their new timetables at least 5 to 6 weeks before the end of the Summer Term. Get your union reps working on this now. You need to have your Active Learning Files ready for the first week back as Ofsted could be marching through your classroom door at any moment!
And finallly ....
I would be really interested in hearing from anyone who has any similar good ideas that they can share. It would be great to create a thread that becomes a survival kit for hassled history teachers. I will post some useful documents over half term into this thread.
I feel incredibly tired at the moment. The one positive from this week was that I got a 1 for my teaching, 2 for my behaviour and learning in my lesson. Not bad when you consider that they have upped the grading again so that a good 12 weeks ago is now a satisfactory. The HMI inspector said that the only limiting factor was the students. The only way that you can get a one for either learning or behaviour is if the kids are really excited about what they are doing and enter the room wanting to take charge of their own learning straight away, not an easy task with teenagers.
Anyway, if you have got an Ofsted tomorrow good luck, but I would recommend that everyone follows the tips that I've outlined above as a bare minimum from September. The advice that I've included has been hard earned in a tough school on the frontline. There is a coming Ofsted Blitzkrieg that will sweep away the ill prepared. Please, take onboard these tips and pass them onto your colleagues. If you are already following them and have some even better tips then please share them.
Edited by Roy Huggins, 11 February 2012 - 11:57 PM.