Bringing in experienced teacher for Ofsted inspection day??

(75 Posts)
DilemmaTime Mon 03-Jun-13 22:43:28

Does this sound ok to you? My dd's primary is having their Ofsted inspection tomorrow and I've been told that her regular class teacher won't be teaching them. Instead they're bringing in an experienced teacher from another school in their group of schools, just for the day. Technically, I guess he works for the same company but he isn't a teacher from that school (in fact he's a head atbthe other school). It doesn't sound right to me, in fact it sounds deceptive and I don't like it (one of many things I don't like about this school lately).

If this is really the case then it is very concerning. If a teacher isn't deemed sufficient to face an inspection (and I mean get a grade other than unsatisfactory) then they shouldn't be teaching your child.

warwick1 Wed 05-Jun-13 11:42:30

I know the rules eviltwins, I also know the reality. It really doesn't take 3 hours to organise a form and send it home with a child on the same day to get permission from a parent. Most schools and academies know roughly when an inspection is due and they certainly know which students and teachers could prove a problem. Most schools and academies have an Ofsted inspection plan ready for implementation don't they.

I don't find it that surprising that many disruptive students and very weak teachers are out of school/academy when Ofsted appears. That is why Ofsted reduced the advanced notice given in order to hinder the manipulation and 'special Ofsted preparations', that went on previously.In fact Ofsted wanted no advance notice because they realised that schools and academies still had time to manipulate if they were told the day before. Most organisations when inspected only find out when the inspectors walk through the door. Teachers shouldn't be rushing around preparing for Ofsted, all lessons should be well prepared at all times, shouldn't they?

deleted203 Wed 05-Jun-13 16:21:56

Ofsted prepared at all times? Hmm. I would argue that my lessons are well prepared. But 'Outstanding as per Ofsted' at all times? Nope. They have ridiculous 'data' expectations nowadays. I consider myself a pretty good and capable teacher, but I'm damn sure Ofsted will slag me on something. It would be more sensible if they simply watched a lesson and thought, 'yeah, the kids are behaving and this person clearly knows what they are doing, that's fine'...

Instead, you now have ludicrous situations where you have to demonstrate continual progression, AFL, meeting targets, etc. Some of my bottom sets are nice kids, but very, very weak academically. And yes, they are making progress and trying their best, but this is small increments over a long period of time. It's very difficult to demonstrate that they are all making progress in every lesson - sometimes they aren't. Sometimes they just don't get it that day. It doesn't mean that I'm a teacher who is weak or unsatisfactory.

EvilTwins Wed 05-Jun-13 17:31:50

warwick, you ate certainly right about schools being "OFSTED ready", and actually, I would say mine is. I do have data to hand- that's how my school is run. The only real issues, and, I would say, one of the main reasons for continuing to have notice of an inspection, is that OFSTED are not interested in watching an external exam, so things do sometimes need to be moved around to "show off" the school. I maintain that a bunch of kids can't be shipped out at the drop of a hat, though.

conspiracytheorist Wed 05-Jun-13 17:50:47

Individual children can certainly be 'removed'. After receiving a call at midday the school has several hours to get things 'arranged'. The difficult part is getting the evidence to prove this as parents can be none the wiser until some time later.
I believe that some schools do put their ratings above the welfare of a child or children which is very wrong. I know there is a lot of pressure to get a good rating but cover up's by HT's are ethically and morally wrong in my opinion.

EvilTwins Wed 05-Jun-13 18:10:54

conspiracytheorist - I think you'll find it's an awful lot more difficult to cover things up than it used to be. Removing children from a class will be noticed - the inspector sees the class list. If a child is missing for any reason other than illness, it would be questioned.

I agree that it used to be easy to cover things up. I used to teach in a school in London, and when we had the 2 weeks notice (this is a number of years ago) the HT sent a note round to staff asking who our most persistently disruptive students were. Those whose names came up most frequently were removed for the whole week. Inspectors did question why some classes were missing so many students, but the HT had done the paperwork correctly (ie to educate them elsewhere for the week) and so nothing could be done about it. At the time, a great many staff were shock about it. That wouldn't be able to happen now to the same extent - it would be far too obvious and would therefore raise too many questions.

conspiracytheorist Wed 05-Jun-13 18:28:24

ET Schools can be very clever at covering their tracks if they want to be. I am aware of a 'removal' hours before an inspection, with no plausible explanation other than to improve the Ofsted rating. Any questions asked about it have been either ignored or denied.
When a child is removed do all their records just 'disappear' straight away do you know?

warwick1 Wed 05-Jun-13 19:00:41

EvilTwins Ofsted only view a sample of lessons in a secondary school, 2 to 3 inspectors for two days , can't view all. Consequently they are able to work around any external exams.

As eviltwins says, data should be available as a norm these days so it shouldn't be a problem to demonstrate progression against targets. Schools/academies use their management information systems to record among other information details of targets, attainments and progress. Since 2010, schools have had to provide parents with this information. In most schools now this data is available to teachers real time, some schools\academies provide parents with online portal access to this recorded data as well as generated reports. It's all part of the transparency agenda.

Moving "things around" to "show off" the school EvilTwins, is still manipulation. Schools/academies should only obtain good or outstanding ratings for teaching and learning, based on observation of teachers in normal lessons not standalone demo lessons.

A spot inspections should mean spot inspections not telegraphed inspections. Maybe then parents will get a true picture of what is going on in their schools before its too late for them to take the action to get an 'outstanding' education for their children.

Movingtimes Wed 05-Jun-13 19:25:22

Warwick. Are you a teacher or do you work in a school? Because your beliefs about how Ofsted works and, indeed, how schools works are very far removed from the experiences of myself and other teachers on this thread.

warwick1 Wed 05-Jun-13 20:00:11

movingtimes. I have a lot of first hand experience both current and past of schools, academies and Ofsted.

Good and outstanding teachers are not afraid of being inspected, there are many good and outstanding teachers in our education system but there are many coasting and weak ones too. Schools and academies should not cover up to protect them - however they do it!

EvilTwins Wed 05-Jun-13 22:53:40

I meant internal exams, sorry, not external. And you are wrong about the number of lessons that are seen. An inspector only needs to see 20-25 mins of a lesson so with planning a team of 2 inspectors can potentially see 60 lessons over a two day period. They would aim to see everyone teach at least once. If I had planned to do an assessment lesson, I would need to be able to change it- teachers don't know in advance which lesson will be observed, so assessments, or reading tests etc need to be moved. We do a reading thing with yr 7 whereby they read for 30 minutes in certain lessons. That needs to be stopped when ofsted are in because they're not interested in seeing it. Those lessons would need to be re-planned. That's not manipulative, it's practical- how can a school be inspected adequately if all the inspectors see us a series of assessment lessons and independent reading sessions?

warwick1 Thu 06-Jun-13 11:51:16

I can only speak from experience eviltwins, in my area the last 3 secondary schools with 1000+ students that were inspected recently, only had 35-37 lessons observed out of 150+ lessons timetabled each day, some teachers observed twice. This represents only a sample of the total lessons and probably fewer than half the teachers employed. Inspectors also have to build in time to talk to groups of students, SMT, governors etc and study the data submitted by the school. Two days isn't long.

As far as independent reading programmes and assessment lessons are concerned, most teachers I know have outline lesson plans covering at least two lessons in advance for each group, which i'm sure you also have working in an academy, and are adept at shuffling them if necessary to accommodate the unexpected. If inspectors come in they can swap lesson plans for the first day if they included assessments and prepare new for the second day if necessary. Practical lessons including practical assessments would go ahead, in my experience inspectors are advised of these and work around them, as you say they are only in classrooms for 20-25 mins so can be flexible themselves.

I still maintain that 'special' lessons should not be prepared for Ofsted inspections because that could distort the overall school report as well as being unfair to those schools that stand up honestly. All lessons should be forward planned and at least 'good', I'm amazed that anybody disagrees with that.

EvilTwins Thu 06-Jun-13 19:14:27

I don't disagree that lessons should be planned in advance and at least Good. However, teachers are not magicians, and it's not quite as simple as teaching tomorrow's lesson today, is it? Some classes would have to have resources ready (and I mean science equipment or ICT facilities, not photocopies or books) and in other cases resources are shared between classes and have to be booked. I can't think of any other industries whereby professionals might have to change their plans with no notice to keep an external inspector happy. If ofsted want to ditch notice completely, as many parents seem to think they should, then they'll have to accept that they might get a Science exam followed by an independent reading lesson followed by disruption caused by all the girls in yr 8 having HPV jabs. If school inspections should just be a "normal" school day, then that's what will happen. 40 kids in a school play dress rehearsal whilst the teacher's lessons are covered? No English teachers teaching because they're doing GCSE moderation? Maths teachers all out doing extra GCSE revision sessions? All Yr 7 & 8 girls at a talk with an author? These things happen but ofsted don't want to see them.

Hulababy Thu 06-Jun-13 21:47:05

Whilst some planning should happen well in advance not all will. Planning should take into account how the class respond to the previous lesson and then change accordingly - either to speed the pace, move things on further, slow it down, go over things not understood in initial lesson, etc. Planning should be a working document, with changes being made before, during and after, as a direct response the the children in the class at the time.

EvilTwins Thu 06-Jun-13 23:15:47

Absolutely, Hula. Well put.

wonderstuff Thu 06-Jun-13 23:29:23

An inspector will always ask the kids if this is the sort of thing they normally do.

deleted203 Thu 06-Jun-13 23:43:23

Am I the only person thinking thatWarwick is an Ofsted inspector?

*movingtimes. I have a lot of first hand experience both current and past of schools, academies and Ofsted.

Good and outstanding teachers are not afraid of being inspected...*

I don't know of any classroom teacher in our current climate who would smugly come out with a statement like this.

warwick1 Fri 07-Jun-13 11:04:44

Yes they do wonderstuff, so schools may as well present their normal timetable and lessons instead of trying to 'show off' the school in better light as previous contributors have indicated.

The point hula was about swapping assessment lesson for normal lesson if Ofsted arrives unannounced, if the teacher decides that was necessary. The lesson prior to the assessment lesson would have been a 'normal' lesson and the one following would have been a 'normal' lesson, wouldn't they? The classroom teacher would have known how the previous lesson went, as you say planning is a working document, the outline decided in advance and adjusted according to progress made lesson by lesson.

As far as working around the normal workings of a school EvilTwins, that is what is expected, over the two days inspectors get to see the proportion of normal lessons and teachers that they want to see, after all in a secondary school they have 300+ lessons to choose from over two days. In my experience practical assessments continue as normal.

Most schools only get inspected for two days every 4 years, if the maths teachers were out one day they would be inspected the next, if year 8 Were having jabs one day, they would be seen the next. I'm sure once the inspectors arrive they would be quite capable of planning around these things, if they can't they shouldn't be judging others on their planning and implementation etc.

EvilTwins Fri 07-Jun-13 16:25:24

We had an external inspection recently - not ofsted but as good as. We were told that they would not be interested in seeing assessments etc. in the past, I have had to move a full school production because it was anticipated that we would be inspected during the half term it was planned for. Anyone who thinks that ofsted sees a "normal" school (in ANY school) is pretty naive. For example, I showed my yr 10 GCSE class a film of a play this afternoon. I had planned to do so, and it fitted with what they're doing. I am fully aware that, in terms if ofsted inspection criteria, the lesson would have been deemed inadequate. Had ofsted come in, I would have done something else. Is that manipulative?

DilemmaTime Fri 07-Jun-13 21:16:39

Just to update, the teacher was told the evening before the visit to take a couple of days at home due to the sniffles they had hmm

Whatever. Getting well fed up with this school. It is not a happy place.

warwick1 Thu 13-Jun-13 16:20:36

Yes DilemmaTime, manipulation is still rife, it's just not admitted. So long as advance notice is given there is no way or will to stop it I'm afraid.

deleted203 Thu 13-Jun-13 22:04:36

Ho hum. We've been Ofsteded this week - and three of the teachers I would rate as 'struggling' (or shit) were mysteriously not in. One apparently was on a course, and two were poorly.

Really? Seems co-incidental to me. And their classes were then not Ofsteded, because there was a supply teacher in. Ofsted simply observed the other teachers in that department.

Supply teachers were very experienced retired members of staff. So, yes, I know that Ofsted can watch a lesson taken by someone on supply - but I suspect the school decided that if they did so, it would at least go better than with the normal staff member. Or maybe I'm just cynical.

coconutjob Thu 13-Jun-13 22:14:06

Well, I have proof of an illegal exclusion made within hours after school received the notification 'phone call but Ofsted are not interested in investigating it further sad.

warwick1 Fri 14-Jun-13 13:31:49

You are not cynical sowornout, just honest. Schools and teachers that cover up are not being fair to their students or parents or to those honest schools and teachers that allow themselves to be inspected fairly.

schooldidi Fri 14-Jun-13 13:39:41

There were a couple of members of staff absent during our recent Ofsted too. I have no idea if they are struggling and decided they were not coming in to jeopardise our chances, or if they were genuinely ill. They were definitely NOT told be SMT to take time off though, SMT were rather vocal in their annoyance about Ofsted watching cover lessons.

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