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NOW CLOSED Please take a few minutes to read Ofsted's proposals for changes to how they inspect schools and fill in their survey about it

(114 Posts)
TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 27-Mar-12 11:30:47

Ofsted is currently running a consultation on how they inspect schools and potential changes that may be introduced.

They'd like more parents to take part in the consultation and have their say about how improvements can be made, and the steps Ofsted should take to help raise standards in schools.

Here's what Ofsted say about it: "In the consultation, we are focusing on the key areas of inspection that we believe will help those who provide education to improve children's chances of success. This consultation provides an opportunity to comment on proposals that Ofsted would like to introduce from 1 September 2012."

Ofsted would like you to complete their short survey, but before you do, please download and read the background info here so that you're familiar with the proposals, and are able to answer the questions in the survey. Once you've done that, please click on the link below to complete the survey (please note that the survey and questions look a bit different to others you may have seen on MN because it's an Ofsted survey rather than a MN one).

This is an opportunity to have your say on issues which impact on children's education. If you can spare the time to take part, please do.


bigTillyMint Fri 06-Apr-12 08:09:08

I don't have many rollers on the floor ATM (though there can be a lot of fidgeting on their chairs/kicking other's chairs, etc!), but some who have receptive and expressive language difficulties, combined with ASD/learning difficulties, so the literacy lesson Mr Ofsted observed was quite entertaining.

And yes, I feel like Joyce Grenfell at times too!

Clarella Thu 05-Apr-12 20:20:19

Sorry that was supposed to say omg Grockle and Bigtilly!

Clarella Thu 05-Apr-12 20:18:00

Omg Grockle, you could be at my school! Yes chewy meat and yummy custard, not so yummy thrown all over you! PECS works great when the kitchen actually allow them to CHANGE THEIR MIND when they've tasted their choice - we may not try as hard to clean that off the walls.

Did I mention earlier I personally 'judge' my own lessons on the percentage of 'rollage'! I will be stamping 'peripheral learner' all over my planning from Sept onwards, which is when they've told us they are likely to come. Seriously,I have no idea how one child has learnt 100 extra words in a term, I haven't been able to get him to think about anything other than sonic and mario. He's started looking at comics a bit though. Which he tends to look at in maths. ( is it worth the tantrums to stop him resulting in setting the rest off and a spoilt morning - choose your battles!) (we do do 'sonic and Mario' maths though so he is making progress, Mr ofsted)

The lessons I deliver to thin air are hilarious. I sometimes seem to be doing a Joyce Grenfell.

But yes I wouldn't have it another way! Hope you're all enjoying your hols! Xx

Grockle Thu 05-Apr-12 18:52:45

We're a healthy eating school too but with hot puddings, cream and custard hmm Dinner times are never the tidiest activity, are they? I'd LOVE Ofsted to observe a lunchtime with me - they are the best time to teach social and communication skills because the children are actually motivated to ask for things. Try getting them to communicate during an English lesson and I'm met with eye rolling and frosty stares and a lot of lying on the floor pretending not to listen. I love my job grin

bigTillyMint Thu 05-Apr-12 15:46:18

Mostly ours look OK - we are a healthy eating school, so lots of salad and fruit, and no hot puds and custard sad, but I don't actually eat them (apart from the odd chip!) Ours aren't fussy - I think it's the only "proper food" most of them get and they mostly clear their plates.
Chewy meat just means that even more of the food is off the plate and onto the table as they struggle to saw through it grin

Grockle Thu 05-Apr-12 14:18:03

Ugh. Ours is cooked onsite so there's no excuse. It's either chewy meat & solid potatoes or a trough of mince with a layer of orange oil on top. And they wonder why my class are 'fussy hmm'. I think they're much smarter than people give them credit for - I wouldn't eat that stuff either !

bigTillyMint Thu 05-Apr-12 14:15:58

Grockle, ours is shipped in from a local Primary, so I can only guess that they get chewy meat too <bleurgh>

Grockle Thu 05-Apr-12 13:40:29

I have often said the Gove (or even any of our SLT) should come into my classroom then judge our teaching according to his criteria. Like you, I don't mind being judged but I object to people looking for the wrong things in my children. It's utter madness and completely meaningless.

And why DO special schools serve chewy meat?

bigTillyMint Thu 05-Apr-12 09:39:50

Clarella and Grockle it sounds like we have a lot in common, although we only have one wee'er ATM smile I also spend every lunchtime teaching children how to hold a knife and fork (never mind cutting chewy meat with a plastic knife!) and keep their bottom on the chair - I don't think there's an Ofsted tick box for that!

I don't mind being judged, but it should be on the right sort of criteria. I would LOVE to see Gove in charge of my class, teaching NC Y3 Literacy grin

Grockle Thu 05-Apr-12 09:31:38

Clarella - that sounds much like my setting. I get weed on frequently. My class do not need 'knowledge' - they need life skills. OFSTED don't give a monkeys about the fact that one of my children has learnt to go to the toilet - he no longer wees on his chair (or me!). One of them doesn't bite me when he gets cross and can now say 'I feel sad' instead. Two of them have learnt to eat with a knife and fork and don't get up and wander round the room at lunchtime. THAT is progress. Massive progress. These children need to be able to function in the community. But no-one judges us or them on that. It's all about academic progress which is ridiculous.

Clarella Thu 05-Apr-12 08:43:31

I really don't think SEN schools are noticed by this government. My DH and AH went to the Manchester conference recently about the new curriculum and not only did they have nothing to give/ tell us, they couldn't comment on SEN. They want a return to knowledge based learning (empty vessels to fill?!) but as my colleagues pointed out you can't do anything with that knowledge unless you have skills, something which is even more pertinent with SEN and ASD. I've never forgotten a child who could read, spell, handle numbers to 100 and yet did not understand the concept of using Sellotape. He simply laid it where he was asked. Really in SEN schools, to gain any progress and a happy child you can't be less than good. I really cannot describe the things we've dealt with in the last term (3 out of 5 of the children in my adjoining class are on antipsychotics) and one has learnt he gets the best reactions if he urinates on you. And yet he IS making progress down to the exhausting dedication of the team. But wander in at any point during the day and you see very little 'progress' or even engagement some days.

Also, although we are not technically an EBD school, several children would be classes as such if it were not for their Asd diagnosis. Teachers do get hurt but to their credit, over time, most children make progress with this, if they don't they tend to go to residential.

Sorry just ranting! It does cause me stress to think about being judged, but we know we're alright!

bigTillyMint Mon 02-Apr-12 15:23:52

Clarella, I feel your pain sad

I work in a special setting for children with severe SEBD, often including ASD and complex learning difficulties. We all have to be assessed on the same Ofsted framework as mainstream schools, so although our lead inspector (very experienced with special settings) judged us to still be outstanding, he could only give us good under the new framework. The LA were up in arms, but there's nothing they can do either. Well, we know we are outstanding!

And FWIW, we would still be outstanding on a no-notice inspection smile

r3dh3d Mon 02-Apr-12 15:08:09

Meant to say (while we're on the subject of inspections at SN schools) that it's already very difficult for an SN school to prepare for an inspection because the "evidence" required is so hard to round up. The inspection criteria are very much written from the POV of a mainstream school, and though there are entire sections about how this doesn't apply and that doesn't apply and how leeway will be given for SN kids in mainstream or in a SN school, there's much less guidance about what evidence should be looked for instead. Plenty of ways not to be marked down, very few ways to be marked up. As a result, though SN schools will be given enough slack that the decent ones are not going to fail horribly, it is increasingly hard to see how a truly outstanding SN school can be judged "outstanding" at a no-notice inspection. SN schools use their notice period working out how to fit the round pegs they have as evidence into Ofsted's square holes.

r3dh3d Mon 02-Apr-12 14:55:29

Lol Clarella - if they do, it won't be available in the VI character set. confused

Clarella Mon 02-Apr-12 08:22:25

Oh and send unwanted kj bibles our way, mine are partial to a little paper nibbling/ sensorial ripping. Do they do it in Communicate in Print?

Clarella Mon 02-Apr-12 04:42:30

Currently wide awake 6 wks pregnant smile

As a teacher of children with autism in a school for moderate learning and complex difficulties and autism (50%+) I am now teaching a class of 5 in an autism specific learning environment (basically a little 3 room unit within our special school). Some of the wonderful and intensely challenging children I teach are actually academically of lower mainstream level, but impaired in their social and communication skills, as well as problem solving skills (not maths problems, ie 'what do I do if I don't have a pencil, how do I communicate that I feel unwell') which understandably results in extreme anxiety and complex patterns of behaviour which need a psychology degree to interpret at times! (eg is the current repetitive scripting of Mario scenes stress, distraction or amusement?!)

My deputy head has been unable to give me judgements in observations following new guidelines due to to 'progress clause' as, following all current good practice guidelines for teaching ASD, many of my lessons rely on routine of activity, repetition and minuscule small step learning. More 'formal' lessons, 'knowledge based' as Gove wants (as opposed to skills based - how do you interpret and apply knowledge without skills?!) Can be very challenging as most are peripheral learners and may need to be drawing whilst they listen or have extreme lethargy and sensory needs that they may need to be flopping in a corner or skipping round the room. Progress therefore can be simply coming to sit in group (hard to predict if will be an issue and therefore set as an objective) or even the fact that many children with asd don't like to do what they can't do - so some lessons are short blue peter style this is how we.... and on the 3rd day they might do it. Or 2 hours later. Or, as we are finding at the moment a year or 2 later.

I have a child who in September would not come out of the 'calm room' would not read, would not write. He now likes to write 7 page long history books about the queen's jubilee.

The progress over 6 months has been tremendous. At his pace and never noticeable in 20 mins. I tend to judge my lessons on rollage percentage. Competing with the exciting and motivating world of Mario and sonic is tough, if theres little or no rollage I know I've got them! Stuff ofsted, I know I'm giving my kids what they need. Observed interactive role play for first time last week yeay! During maths.

ecat Sun 01-Apr-12 22:29:56

I think teachers will have their work cut out and Ofsted will just tell them that they have not done enough! Very helpful. Ofsted already seems to strike fear into the hearts of teachers. This only seems to make it worse. Imagine being a child in the class amongst all this pressure. Do we do this to any other profession? Imagine going into surgery and your surgeon had someone jump out with a clipboard and chekilst. Shaky hands? Possible mistakes? Gulp!!

EvilTwins Sun 01-Apr-12 10:20:27

The average thing is maddening - I agree nkf

The other thing I find frustrating about the new framework is the fact that inspectors are going to make judgements, by watching a lesson for 30 minutes about progress "over time". Other than asking the students "does this happen all the time?" or spending hours poring over exercise books (which I don't have - secondary Drama) I fail to see how a 30 minute observation is going to allow a perfect stranger to make a judgement about my long-term teaching skills.

As for the no notice thing - as long as inspectors accept that they might turn up to find the whole of Year 10 in a controlled assessment, all of Yr 7 on a trip and cover supervisors working flat-out, then fine. If they expect to find the level of detail in written and printed lesson plans that they tend to want, then they'll be stuffed. I write lesson plans, but they are for me - the amount of extra detail an inspector wants is unnecessary on a day-to-day basis. Also, I don't print my lesson plans out unless I know someone is going to be watching me and will want to look at a plan as we go along.

I'm in a school which has just come out of special meaures. Our final inspection was the week before October half term. Our lead inspector, who had been in and out of school for a year or so, and was a very decent chap, told the Head, before the summer holidays, that he would be back before October Half Term, but probably not before the end of September, and that we would only have 24 hours notice of his visit. The Head passed this on to staff, and the three weeks between the end of September and the start of half term were the most stressful of my life. Lots of notice is definitely not a good thing.

nkf Sun 01-Apr-12 10:10:32

The average thing is maddening. So stupid it makes my teeth ache.

LilyBolero Sat 31-Mar-12 22:45:07

Lily, well there's "requiring improvement" and special mesures. So technically, two negatives.

Not really, because if they stay at 'requiring improvement' for 2 inspections, then they will go into special measures.

r3dh3d Sat 31-Mar-12 21:49:16

TT, I think a combination of the two is the most likely. From the school's POV, a lot of staff benefits cost the school more than they are worth to the staff. Sick pay is covered by an insurance policy: if no-one goes sick, your generous sick pay package still costs the school a huge amount to insure. If the school could bring the sick pay package in line with "average" sick pay allowance, the insurance cost would go down and the extra money could go on base salary, which would allow the school to attract and retain really good staff.

Tbh I don't think that is a terrible idea. Plenty of terrible ideas out there atm, but not that one.

TurquoiseTranquility Sat 31-Mar-12 21:23:39

so it's logical to expect that some academies will be paying their junior staff less than LEA schools or possibly even putting them on supply-type contracts (only paid for x amount of hours worked, no sick pay or holiday pay, no pension etc), while the SMT will be sitting pretty. Whereas other academies will attract all good teachers and TAs in the area with higher salaries and conditions ending in all the best resources being drawn to academies while LEA schools will be left with mediocre teachers.

PestoPenguin Sat 31-Mar-12 21:14:16

Thanks smile.

NorfolkNChance Sat 31-Mar-12 20:59:45

STPCD = school teachers pay and conditions document.

it means that those who work in academies do not have to be paid the same as the national payscale for teachers.

Also affects things like PPA, directed time, working at weekends in school etc

TurquoiseTranquility Sat 31-Mar-12 20:55:12

Lily, well there's "requiring improvement" and special mesures. So technically, two negatives.

I'm also worried about the word "average" - people here keep talking about "average" in terms of the top 50% and the bottom 50%, i.e. "average" here is arithmetic mean. But "average" also means "typical", "most common" so could be seen as mode, i.e. if currently say 60% of schools were rated satisfactory, 30% good and 10% outstanding, the "average" would be... 60%. Therefore, in a few years' time 60% of all schools could potentially end up in special measures!

A ploy to force more schools to become academies - absolutely. angry

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