Ofsted has now completed its set of pilot “visits” to schools and will now start inspecting schools. We can only hope Ofsted will learn the lessons from the pilot – give schools a week’s notice of their visit and don’t issue any judgemental letter. Or better still accept that now is the time to leave school and school leaders to get on with their already challenging jobs.
Please note this blog should have appeared on the Headteachers Roundtable site but due to some difficulties it has been published here.
Few school leaders who are expecting a visit from Ofsted are naive enough to walk in to it unprepared. We’re indebted to Dominique Gobbi, Principal of Oasis Academy Oldham who kindly provided this list of questions, to help guide school leaders. We believe the list could form the basis of a useful discussion for senior leaders or between headteachers/CEOs and governors irrespective of whether Ofsted are expected or not. To that end, Dan Morrow has created a simple spreadsheet for recording your thoughts, completed actions or things that need doing.
Understanding the local context
How has C19 affected pupils?
Well-being (including mental health)
Attitudes to learning
How has C19 affected staff?
Staff well being
What are your three priorities for 2020/21?
At what point are you expecting the C19 impact to have been mitigated?
How has the experience of C19 impacted on the community?
Relationships with school
Understanding of the impact of C19
What approaches have you taken to maintain your focus on attendance?
Have you amended your attendance policy and if so how?
What is your usual and typical attendance rate (%) and how does current attendance compare to this? How does the current attendance compare to that reported before the C-19 lockdown?
How are you using external agencies to support attendance?
Have you considered using the additional catch up funding to support attendance? And if so, how?
Are those pupils around whom you have longstanding attendance concerns currently attending school? If so, why do you think this is? If not, what actions are you planning?
What are your views on how ready children are to learn?
What actions have been taken and what is in place for pupils who may be anxious about the return to school?
How have you acted to swiftly reintroduce routines and expectations across school?
What are your current learning routines? How is learning organised and how are pupils grouped to ensure that they learn and stay safe? How is the school day organised?
How have you adapted the school behaviour policy and how is the policy being implemented?
Have you any children who have become a concern who were not previously on your radar? How are you responding to this?
Have any pupils currently in Year R – 6 left the school? What were the reasons for this and where have they gone? How have you worked with the destination school to help these pupils?
Have you considered using the additional catch up funding to support behaviour? And if so, how?
Curriculum – Remote learning
Who is responsible for monitoring the remote learning offer? What aspects of the offer are being monitored and what are the quality criteria?
What are the barriers to effective remote learning and what decisions have been taken to alleviate these?
How does the remote learning offer align to the usual planned school curriculum?
Are any pupils currently accessing remote learning? Does this match the learning taking place in class?
What are leaders doing to ensure that when children return to school, they can access the curriculum as normal?
Who is responsible for monitoring the school curriculum offer? What aspects of the offer are being monitored and what are the quality criteria?
How has the maths curriculum been adapted to ensure that children can catch up?
How are you placing additional emphasis on early reading and phonics? What additional or enhanced provision is being planned and delivered in this area?
Has the curriculum been amended during the Autumn term?
How are you creating time and space within the curriculum to focus on the priorities that you have identified? Which subjects or parts of subjects have been accorded priority and which have been dropped?
What assessments underpin your decisions on curriculum design during the Autumn term? How were these assessments arrived at?
How have pupils been assessed in areas other than English and Mathematics?
How are you planning to use the catch-up funding?
At what point are you expecting the C19 impact to have been mitigated and children to have caught up?
How has the curriculum provision been enhanced because of your experiences during the C-19 pandemic?
Have you amended your safeguarding and child protection policy?
How has the learning and well-being of SEND pupils been monitored during the pandemic?
How were changes to policy and practice communicated to colleagues?
How did you ensure that pupils were safe online during the pandemic?
How have approaches to recruitment been affected by coronavirus? What measures were in place to secure safe recruitment?
What additional and external support has been sought to support vulnerable pupils (and those who are not vulnerable)?