How OFSTED Collect
Evidence about a Department (during the inspection week)
OFSTED collect evidence in a number of ways. Inspectors should base their
professional opinion on the status of a Department through the detailed
analysis of the evidence they uncover.
1. Examination statistics are a major
source of evidence, in particular the percentage of GCSE A to C grades
attained by a department. Often this appears to be the main focus of the
subject inspector. A department that has a lower percentage of A to C
grades may find that they are under pressure right from the start of the
Inspection period. First impressions are important and a subject Inspector
may have formulated his/her view of the department – based on previous
examination results. If departmental examination results are low, the
inspectors may regard the department as a failing or just satisfactory.
Departments in this position should analyse their own statistics very
carefully before the Inspection period and be prepared to explain why
percentage rates are low. It may be that the low A to C rate only happened
once and that it is clear why this has happened. Set out the reasons in
the form of a list with the most significant points first and the least
significant last. When being interviewed by an Inspector keep to
your list. Remember, you have had time to compile an accurate list whilst
the Inspector has probably only looked at your departments statistics over
a two or three day period.
2. The Inspectors will observe lessons with in the department. The quality
of teaching and how well pupils learn will be closely monitored.
Ensure that all staff in the department are aware that the Inspector will look at certain aspects of a lesson. A member of staff must
Expertise in the teaching of his/her
subject/courses. Staff in a technology department should be subject
specialists and be able to show specialist knowledge in the way they teach
on a lesson-to-lesson basis. Staff should show their skill and
understanding of design and technology in every lesson through leading
discussion work and careful questioning of pupils. The use of sample work
and models as part of demonstrations is an avenue that staff can explore.
Staff need to show that they have planned
effectively, have clear learning objectives and employ suitable learning
strategies. WATT suggest staff use the
lesson plan outlined on this site or a similar one. This will allow
all staff to plan carefully for the inspection week. Plan well in advance
of an inspection. Lessons preceding an OFSTED Inspection should build up
to the inspection period, with the most effective/active lessons taking
place in this week.
Staff must be seen to set a challenging
agenda and provide an atmosphere of active learning. If staff have planned
well in advance they will have had time to build up a series of lessons
culminating in the most interesting lesson, during the inspection week.
WATT recommends that each lesson should involve practical work. Practical
work always involves physical activities that pupils enjoy. Also,
practical lessons invariably involve levels of numeracy, literacy, ICT and
even citizenship (ie. working as a group or evaluating work).
Staff must be aware of SEN and Gifted and
Talented pupils in their classes and that this is clearly catered for in
lesson planning. SEN and Gifted and Talented pupils must be catered for
during each lesson. WATT recommends extension work for Gifted and Talented
pupils (see sample schemes of work)
and differentiated work for SEN pupils(ie. Simplified tasks or modified
worksheets / homework).
Staff should use resources to ensure that
pupils learn effectively. For example, if the workshop has a CNC machine -
use it at sometime in the inspection week, especially if it involves
pupils operating the machine. Staff should ensure that equipment is
utilised fully and not left idle. ICT equipment should be used as an
integrated aspect of almost every lesson. If ICT is used, use it
effectively and not only for word processing. Access to the internet or
intranet allows pupils to work independently and use ICT in a productive
and sometimes imaginative way (ie. research work). Use a wide range of
software, especially with older pupils. Do not allow pupils to waste time
on a computer.
OFSTED like to see a range of teaching
methodology. This can be achieved by varying teaching styles. For
instance, in one lesson it is possible for a teacher to talk to all the
class directly, talk to groups of children, use ICT (ie. a computer
projector/whiteboard), engage pupils individually, set a class task and
then group/individual tasks, hold question and answer sessions, read to a
class, include numeracy, literacy and many more. Do not prepare a basic /
standard lesson – display your ability to communicate with children in a
number of ways.
Staff should use time well, creating a pace
to the lesson. Again, careful planning and good use of all available
resources will provide a pace of its own. If staff take on board the
points mentioned above the lesson will have pace and be enjoyable to most,
if not all pupils.
Staff should manage behaviour effectively.
The school and department should have procedures and systems. Use these
systems. A good example of a behavioural
system is seen on this site. Staff should always remember that
managing behaviour starts in the classroom/workshop. If a lesson is well
planned, with plenty of activities, behavioural problems are less likely
to occur. It may be a good idea to set work individually for pupils who
regularly show undesirable behavioural traits. Set stimulating work but
not easy work. If behavioural problems still occur staff must follow the
Staff must ensure that equal opportunity for
all is core to the lesson. Set appropriate tasks, suitable for male and
female pupils. OFSTED are well aware that boys generally underachieve.
Using appropriate stimulus material may be a central issue. If activities
involve a lot of reading consider breaking the reading down to short
activities interspaced with the use of ICT. Group pupils carefully, for
instance, it may be a good idea for groups to be mixed. At the beginning
of the school year ensure that pupils are arranged in the classroom /
workshop according to your wishes rather than the wishes of a group of
pupils. Organising a classroom / workshop can go a long way to ensuring
equal opportunity for all pupils.
3. OFSTED Inspectors will look closely
at pupil work.
Staff must thoroughly assess work. This can
be achieved by regularly marking. This must not mean just placing a grade
on the piece of work. All staff should write limited but accurate notes
that are meaningful to each pupil. As a guideline WATT recommends that a
grade be placed on the work with, a comment relating to positive aspects
and a comment relating to how the work can be improved. If comments are
not added to the pupil work this will be seized upon by the OFSTED
Inspector. The Head of Department will be held responsible for monitoring
his/her department especially in respect to the quality of record keeping.
Staff should set appropriate targets for
pupils. Class records should clearly show that individual pupil targets
have been set and that each pupil understands their target.