Be Prepared. It’s Ofsted!

be prepared

that’s what the BP slogan means for me. I cannot believe how counter-productive the whole shenanigans can be regarding the visit from our ‘friends’ the inspectors. In spite of having to prove you are making progress and having a whole day dedicated to planning, preparation, questioning and whatever else, we still have to teach. Even us, as Senior Leaders need to be on top of our game during the whole time. So after planning and preparing in the same way as everyone else to ensure all data is coherent, lesson is differentiated and so on, I rush to the office to prepare materials for evidence base to ensure all is put together only to be contacted and told I need to be at another part of the school and pronto! What! I exclaim, I am just about to TEACH.

It reduces me to say I need to just stay calm, handle the situation, know that my students will be in good hands, prepare the cover work and leave it there. What else can you do? Never mind that part of having a momentum where students are learning, staff are teaching and enjoying it, part of this counter-productivity includes the need to stop and be prepared for the Ofsted inspector. What main scale teachers would not realise is how disruptive this process is for a Senior Leader and how much we want to be in the classroom walking the walk and talking the talk but needing to be somewhere to prove all is going well, but then having to set cover only to set things back again is very frustrating. So my class is sacrificed so that I can go and  talk about what is happening, when in fact, in my class, at that very moment, it may not be.

Thankfully, all was planned and in hand, of course, only for it to happen again later on that day. So my two precious classes, missed high quality lesson delivery by me as I needed to be questionned. And how revelatory it was to see how the whole ordeal seemed like a huge weight on the shoulders of the two deputy heads in charge of achievement and teaching and learning. If anything, it made me see and feel to a greater extent how exactly the head teacher feels having the responsibility of the whole school’s performance. Indeed, relying on the discourse from your fellow colleagues and students means you need to have every confidence that what has been happening and what you put in place actually is permeating the hearts and minds enough that they speak equally enthusiastically about it as you would do yourself. No easy feat.

The next challenge of course is to regain the momentum on return to my classroom. I’m experienced enough to be able to resume this but it does not take away the nature of this interruption. I do wonder if there is another way, another way of making this process less intrusive and yet very insightful.

be prepared to stop

If you have any suggestions it would be great to hear your views.

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