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August 8, 2023
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Preparing for Ofsted - Guidance for schools

This post contains information to support primary schools and secondary schools in preparing for an Ofsted “deep-dive” into SEMH provision.

The new Ofsted framework places emphasises on the need for high quality provision through a broad and rich curriculum, which supports the future success of all individuals and focuses on those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Under the personal development judgement area, schools are required to evidence that they are preparing children for further education and life beyond the classroom. The PSHE curriculum clearly plays a key role, and it is likely that inspectors will want to discuss PHSE education and its contributions. This judgement area highlights resilience, confidence and independence as specific attributes that schools should look to develop.

There are a range of factors that can affect pupils’ health and wellbeing and the Ofsted framework does acknowledge this! Inspections will not judge schools on the results of personal development, but on the intent, effectiveness and quality of the provision in place”.

Therefore, in order to achieve an outstanding judgement, teachers need to be delivering effective and consistent lessons that are well-planned and tailored to the specific needs of their pupils and setting.

What to expect during an Ofsted Inspection?

Notice - Schools will receive notice of an inspection between 10.30am and 2pm on the school day before the inspection is due to take place.

Ofsted can, however, inspect any school without notice, if judged appropriate. In these cases, the lead inspector will normally telephone the school about 15 minutes before arriving.

Before an inspection - Ofsted will provide schools a letter to inform parents and carers about the inspection and options for providing their views. Ofsted will also ask schools to notify other relevant bodies, including those providing alternative provision for pupils, of the inspection.

The Department for Education have produced a leaflet for schools listing information and documents that inspectors will need to see before and during the inspection.

You can read this - Here

Inspectors will look at Ofsted Parent View to see the views of parents. Inspectors will also take into account the results of any past parent surveys, or other surveys, carried out by the school. If you are a BounceTogether school, you can run the Ofsted pupil, staff, and parent surveys on our platform, generating comprehensive reports at the touch of a button to share during the inspection.

During an inspection - The inspection will normally last 2 days. Inspections of good primary schools and good or outstanding maintained nursery schools with less than 150 pupils will normally last for 1 day. The number of inspectors will vary according to the size and nature of the school.

Inspectors will spend most of their time observing lessons and gathering evidence.

Inspectors will talk to a range of pupils and staff about important aspects of the school’s work. Inspectors will also take account of external views of the school’s performance. This may include any evaluation of the school’s performance by the local authority.

Inspectors will make their final judgements when they have collected and considered all the evidence.

What is an Ofsted deep-dive?

Deep dives are key elements of the Ofsted inspection framework. They take a detailed look into particular areas of the national curriculum aiming to determine effectiveness and quality.

Inspectors will gather evidence around the Intent, Implementation and Impact of the curriculum. Inspectors will perform several deep dives during a single inspection. This helps them build an overall picture of how pupils learn and make judgements about the quality of overall education provision.

Primary schools can generally expect inspectors to take deep dives into between 2 and 5 foundation subjects, usually reading, maths, and one other, which can be PSHE!

Deep dives into focus on 6 key areas (These have been tailored to reflect a PSHE deep dive):

  • Evaluation of senior leaders’ intent for the curriculum and their understanding of its implementation and impact.
  • Evaluation of the PSHE Lead’s long-term thinking and planning, including the rationale for content choices and the curriculum sequence.
  • Observation of PSHE lessons.
  • Scrutiny of books and other kinds of work produced by pupils, who are part of classes that have also been observed by inspectors.
  • Discussion with teachers to understand how the curriculum informs their choices about content and sequencing to support effective learning.
  • Discussions with a group of pupils from the lessons observed.

Schools often ask us three questions about Ofsted Inspections:

  1. What questions could be asked in an Ofsted deep dive?
  2. What evidence can I use to support an Ofsted inspection?
  3. Where can I find examples of good practice for Ofsted inspections?

To answer these questions and support schools in preparing for inspections and deep dives into PSHE, we have worked with schools who have recently experienced an inspection to create a simple guide, which lists example, questions, as well as ideas and resources to support you. You can download this - Here


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