I had an illuminative CPD this term that looked at the recent changes to the way Ofsted inspectors are trained. The new guidance is as follows:
‘Inspectors must not expect teaching staff to teach in any specific way or follow a prescribed methodology.’
‘When inspectors observe teaching, they observe pupils’ learning’. (School Inspection Handbook p34)
‘ The only orthodoxy is that there is no orthodoxy.’
‘Data should enlighten judgement not dictate- people led not data led’.
This is useful info for us teachers. It allows us to stop worrying about whether or not we’ll be penalised for failing to display the learning objectives throughout the lesson and other such pedanticities. In a letter to all inspectors (March 2013), it was made clear that inspectors shouldn’t favour particular teaching methods over others.
‘When evaluating teaching we must not advocate a particular methodology or teaching style. Our inspection frameworks are not prescriptive on teaching style. However, inspection reports often contain phrases that give the false impression that Ofsted expects teaching to occur in a particular way or that adopting a standard approach will lead to effective teaching and learning. ‘
Instead, the focus should, as always, be on the quality of the teaching and learning. This might sound obvious, but it does make me think more about a fantastic talk I heard by an experienced teacher at a conference years ago in which he underlined the importance of thinking about the desired outcome first, and letting all our jazzy teacher’s toolkit-style ideas come into play only if they are the best way possible to aid deeper learning.
So how will inspectors judge the quality of out teaching? Here is a reminder of the five key areas they are looking for:
* Pupils’ responses demonstrate gains in knowledge
* Good monitoring by teachers and adapting teaching as needed
* Good questioning and discussion to check learning
And here is the difference between Good and the often elusive Outstanding!
Teachers experiment in the classroom and take risks
learning is often pupil led
Teacher’s welcome pupil feedback: they ask the question ‘How can I help you to learn better?’
They allow thinking time. Pose, Pause, Bounce and Pounce!
They are often inspirational
Their pupils know how to improve