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HOW OFSTED COLLECT EVIDENCE ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT

 

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 show;

       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 department procedures.

       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.

 

 
 

 
 

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