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Am shocked at the tricks teachers do for a good OFSTED

(28 Posts)
Rarrie Sat 12-Mar-05 20:45:58

There's me with my first OFSTED looming, thinking that all I need to is to put together a decent lesson, but the kids seem to think otherwise! (I teach 'A' level) and they told me some of the tricks that the other teachers are doing / have done in the past to secure a good ofsted report for the school:

* Teaching the lesson a few weeks before, just so all the kids can show they've learnt something at the end!

* At 'A' level, telling your not very bright kids not to turn up.

* Private keys, like raise a right hand if you know the answer and left if you don't (then the teacher only asks the students with their right hands raised)

* Other private signals, like if a teacher sees Ofsted outside, they clap hands or something, so all the kids raise their hands and it looks as though they're having a good lesson!

Am shocked at all the devious ploys people use to get a good ofsted report (but fully understand why - without a good ofsed, no chance of getting beacon /specialist status, 40K+ the school won't get in extra funding).

May use some of these, but what other ones am I missing out on!?!

Naive teacher

hercules Sat 12-Mar-05 20:47:59

Another naive teacher here although thanks for the tips!

SenoraPostrophe Sat 12-Mar-05 20:53:27

That just seems bizarre to me: why would a school get a bad ofsted report just because some kids didn't know the answers? A teacher who can handle wrong answers well is likely to get a good report surely?

As for teaching the lesson a few weeks before - it would mean all the kids were bored to tears during the inspection and wouldn't look good I wouldn't have thought.

Rarrie Sat 12-Mar-05 21:09:08

Beacuse 'learning' is really in with OFSTED at the mo, and you've got to show that the student has learnt during the lesson you've just taught - if they don't know the answers at the end, then they've not learnt anything! I have to say, I'm now going to teach parts of the lesson before, so I can guarantee they 'have learnt' something by the end!

Its low I know, but I teach 'A' level, so even if they're bored, they'll behave for me! And they know we need a good ofsted to get the extra funding the school's applied for!

Hulababy Sat 12-Mar-05 21:12:30

Rarrie - Having been through 3 full OFSTEDs, and several HMI inspections, being in one top og the league excellent school and one bottom of the league, special measures school... I have never seen such tricks, sorry to disappoint. Inspectors would see through it.

You may get kids in a good school to comply, but it won't work in a school at risk of failing. The kids won't play along. Infact they are more likely to try and make you fall over any obsticle they can think of.

Best way to get a good OFSTED result (for yourself) is to plan, plan and plan again.

Practise techniques in advance but not the same lesson.
Make sure lesson plans are well thought out.
Have a three part lesson with shared lesson objectives and outcomes. Display these throughout the lesson.
Have challenging tasks.
Show you are assessing some aspect of their work -make sure it is measureable.
Show that you are using prior knowledge of the pupils (CAT and SAT results, SN data, past lesson plans and evaluations, etc.) in your planning
Differentiate and show it clearly
Have a seating plan and keep to it.

I could go on...


I have HMI inspectors in school next week. School I currently work in is in special measures so I have had inspectors in every term for the past year and more. I have LEA inspectors in termly too. They know the tricks. They can see through them IME. I have been lucky. I have never had a bad inspection lesson (touch wood, I know it could happen Wednesday). I will ay it again - the best way to ensure a good result is to PLAN.


Good luck with the inspection.

Hulababy Sat 12-Mar-05 21:13:57

Oh, nearly forgot - make sure you go back over your objectives during your plenary. The kids don't have to be able to answer loads of uestions correctly to show learning. They have to be able to realise that they have covered the lesson objectives - much more impoortant right now.

Jimjams Sat 12-Mar-05 21:32:27

ROFL @ telling the thick kids to stay away. That's hilarious (I used to teach A level- but in a crammer).

Hulababy Sat 12-Mar-05 21:38:41

Mond you, a the school I work out the very most disruptive kids ( about 6 or 7) are noever in school on inspection days. Hmmm... Trouble is that other significant minority are still there.

Hulababy Sat 12-Mar-05 21:40:59

Rarrie - in my car I have some documents given out to us before each inspection, and also some stuff from my LEA Advisor, about OFSTED planning. If you think it would be of use I can get it tomorrow and list the other key info - taken from HMI reports back to the school this year and last, on exactly what they are looking for.

alux Sat 12-Mar-05 21:52:54

I have to go with Hulababy. I went through inspection last October in the upheavals of morning sickness. I have heard of those tricks before but I think that they are urban legends. It would be screamingly funny to try to get my Yr 7 set 4 to try to fool the inspectors. Same for my yr 11's I'm afraid Inspectors will pick up on things (good things usually) in your lesson that you will not even be aware of you doing well. They have seen so many lessons, those comments can't be real.

One thing I can add to Hulababy: pace your lesson.

shimmy21 Sat 12-Mar-05 21:54:38

Love the tricks but would never dare use them because some kid is absolutlely definitely for sure going to let on to the inspector or to their parents who will tell - dont do it!!!

Hulababy Sat 12-Mar-05 21:55:30

alux - yes, pace is very imprtant. The inspectors will expect to see a well timed lesson, with a good pace. One tip - particularly with more challenging classes - is to split your lesson into 10 minute slots. Have some form of activity (starter, plenary and middle bits) for each 10 minute slot. At the end of the 10 minutes, review briefly and move on. It ensures your lesson keeps pace and the kids keep pn track and progressing. It is really easy to get stuck for ages on one activity if you aren't careful.

alux Sat 12-Mar-05 21:58:43

when pacing your activities: pace a calming one after a lively one. Two livelies together and they bounce off the walls. Two calming ones together and they nod off.

lockets Sat 12-Mar-05 22:03:24

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Hulababy Sat 12-Mar-05 22:05:08

I like this thread - it is reminding me of all the stuff I need to do for Wednesday's inspection! Can you believe it? My very last day of school teaching (probably for ever) and it inspection day I have 3 Y7 classes (one low ability, one middle set and one top set), a Y10 class and a sixth form general studies class. My period 6 Y7 MA class are going to eb the challenge, especially as they have found out I am leaving. Eeek!

Caligula Sat 12-Mar-05 22:08:21

Thank you all for re-inforcing my view that I can safely ignore OFSTED reports!

Hulababy Sat 12-Mar-05 22:12:56

- reports can give you an idea of what a school is like, but never a true reflection. No school can really be judged on what happens, in a very stressful situation, over the period of 3 or 4 days.

IME, I think that I perform worse in the classroom when inspected than normal. Others perform much better. And others go all out and change everything for a one off. I am not saying I do badly - just I find I am not as spontaneous and naturally with the kids as I get nervous. But others like the challenge of having an inspector in there (odd people )

I have never seen any of the tricks really used at all though. Just the list of reminders and hins, which is what many teachers do day in day out. Just for OFSTED it has to be formally written down in full, and followed, and extra planning for all circumstances that could arise.

ionesmum Sat 12-Mar-05 22:52:42

Sorry to crash on this thread but do those of you who are teachers think that OFSTED achieves anything?

joash Sat 12-Mar-05 23:45:18

I'm shocked that you're shocked. Been spouting for years about 'ofsted' being easy to fix - no-one listens .

Hulababy Sun 13-Mar-05 09:20:41

isonnemum - in its present state I don't think OFSTED is a true reflection. For poor schools and for good schools it is fine, it is those in the middle who have a chance to influence inspection reports. Borderline schools can give a big push and get through with the extra effort, etc.

Although I doubt unions would allow I do think a system where OFSTED just turns up for a day, has a wander round, pokes their heads in a few doors, and the school is seen as normal, just doing its stuff may give a truer reflection - and be way less stressful for all concerned.

roisin Sun 13-Mar-05 10:14:53

Our (primary) school has had two 'excellent's from Ofsted, and this certainly reflects our opinion that it is a fabulous school.

It may be possible to make special efforts on the day to influence the grades for the actual lessons/teaching. But Ofsted inspects so much more than that. Our school rated very highly on things like tracking individual children's progress, behaviour and attitudes of pupils, budgeting/value for money, good management, school-wide curriculum planning, annual school plan etc.

Even if you pull out all the stops in your 6 weeks' notice period, it is simply not possible for things like this to be conjured up out of thin air.

I don't agree with Ofsted and the pressure it puts on staff, and I certainly didn't need an Ofsted report to confirm my (extremely high) opinions of our school and the Head; but in our case it was reassuring that our views were accurately reflected by the report.

Ailsa Sun 13-Mar-05 19:26:40

From September schools will only get 2 to 3 working days notice of their inspection. So no time to make everything look 'good'. In a conference the other day we were told that under the new system, a school with,

good/excellent results
good/excellent teaching
poor self evaluation

will automatically be put into special measures.

ionesmum Sun 13-Mar-05 20:28:36

I know next to nothing about this. What's self-evaluation?

As a parent my concerns about Ofsted are that they put pressure on schools to complete pointless reports and plans, and actually get in the way of teaching. I'm also worried that the inspections stress staff so much. Ofsted seem to me to be very bullying, particularly when it comes to schools that don't fit the idealogical norm.

I read recently of a very small independent school that closed after Ofsted failed it for not having a detailed plan for play time for the reception class. This isn't the type of education that our dds will have so no direct concern, but it just seems so petty.

Rarrie Sun 13-Mar-05 22:22:13

Ionesmum, I fully agree with you! I should be teaching Revision when Ofsted come... but as that won't be an ofsted friendly lesson, I've got to teach something out of sync (and twist my SOW so it doesn't look tha way) so I do do an Ofsted friendly lesson!

Also, Roisin, Just to say although we've only had a few weeks notice from Ofsted (but it was much more than six - ofsted now publish their inspection rota on their website so we knew over a term in advance!), the School knew it was coming, so has been preparing since last Sept... so lots of new initiatives come in this year, that will no doubt only last a year, and we'll see resurface again, next time ofsted arise!

Still, have to hand in my lesson plans for submission next week - so the head can see and approve my lessons next week, and make any ammendments to them, if he does not like them... I'm telling you, this whole thing is a joke!

lockets Sun 13-Mar-05 22:46:10

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