I’ve heard many an Ofsted inspection story, some heartwarming and just how you would want an inspection to be (regardless of the judgement) because they are developmental and supportive, whilst giving an honest summary of the school.
And the horror stories that make you sink!
One thing that I do notice is how much schools prepare for Ofsted – I don’t mean in terms of the standards around the school, or marking in books, but in terms of the conversations that will be had with the inspectors.
Now, I’m not a fan of doing things for Ofsted – if we get things right we should be great everyday. However, like an exam, there is some exam specific prep that really helps us shine, without it we can sell ourselves short.
This is not something I can help with but I know a man who can; the brilliant Paul Garvey, author of ‘Taking Control: How to Prepare for Inspection’.
Yes, the framework has changed but, like exams, preparation often takes the same form, regardless of the exam paper being sat.
Don’t take my word for it, here’s a review about the book: https://schoolsweek.co.uk/taking-control-how-to-prepare-for-ofsted-inspection/
When I was teaching, I used to say to my class that the tests they had to sit were a chance for them to show off just how much they knew and how clever they were. Within that, I’d help them understand exam techniques (like looking at how many marks an answer was worth). If I didn’t do this, I would have hindered their ability to show off how much they knew.
I think the same is true for inspections. And preparation for you and your team can lead to a calmer and more in control inspection.