If I knew then, what I know now, what would I do differently?
Our Ofsted inspection this week was a hugely demanding and hugely valuable experience, however I do not think the reasons why would be of any real practical use to anyone. What might be of use (being that this our inspection fell under the new framework) are the impressions I took from the process and those things I would communicate to our staff or do differently next time.
I hold two key roles at The Wellington Academy, Achievement and Teaching and Learning. Two words were steadfastly present, when ever achievement was discussed “impact” reverberated, when teaching and learning was discussed, “progress” was the conversation. The quality of teaching, assessment, engagement and behaviour, the out of favour substitutes warming the bench.
We collect and report data to parents and carers six times a year. We analyse students performance in three ways; “Working at” grade, “Most likely final” grades (forecast) and “Attitude to Learning” grades.
We use 4Matrix and Transition Matrices to analyse the first two data sets against targets and a bespoke analysis data tool to analyse Attitude to Learning.
Know your Raiseonline. Know yourself. Given your Raise / PANDA profile, what questions will Ofsted ask of you? Construct, visualise your answers.
Get you tanks out on the lawn. Peter Kent – Lawrence Sheriff School (ASCL – Data Conference 2012)
In answer to our lead HMIs first question, I offered a prepared response, complete with diagrams, graphical representations and lists of students names. I provided the three year context to those results, and the forecast for 2014.
Work with both achievement data and transition matrices. We were able to offer both “Working at” grade matrices and “Most likely final” matrices for all core subjects and filter by vulnerable groups.
Our subject dept targets are not set against National bench marks, rather we targets based on the individual students in each. This pinpoint targeting was commended.
Aspirational Y7 and Y8 targets are essential, especially in situations where schools are play “catch up.” (Thank you Tony Stephens for pushing that point home.)
We use 4Matrix. We were was able to provide immediate responses to data questions for all subjects, individual and groups of students, demonstrate trends and show impact of the work we have carried out. Immediate and visual access to data was invaluable.
When considering data on ‘pupils progress’ in Raise and for each year group in the school, we know that inspectors should pay particular attention to the proportions that are on track to make, or have made, expected progress and those who have made more than expected progress.’ Have your UML groups defined, and your 3+ and 4+ figures at hand. Alternatively, display in 4Matrix. This was one set of data we charted, across a three year trend, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14.
Teaching and Learning
Having carried out eight joint observations with a highly professional and supportive HMI – there was definitely less emphasis on secured learning than there was on progress.
Most classes we visited employed a teacher toolkit folder; LOPDS lesson plan or 5 minute plan, contextual data (CATs, reader and spelling ages, FSM, SEN and so on) most recent subject grades, seating plan, current scheme, support plans, IEPs and useful information. Walking into a class and sharing this information with the inspectors sent a strong message, “we know our students”.
I decided to use, and show faith in our Lesson Observation and Professional Development and Support (LOPDS) forms and fed back using this forms.
Learning from Joint Observations
- 2-3 minutes to gather the context of the lesson, then,
- Conversations with students – “What are you learning today? How are you learning today? Why is it important to know…” What grade are you working at? What grade are you striving for? How are you going to get there? Is today’s lesson, a typical lesson? Is this lesson challenging?
- A review of the marking, feedback and dialogue in students books or folders.
- A key interest was given to questioning, probing, and secondary questions. Also the time allotted to students responding, and the expectations of the students. Oracy was a common topic of reflection, (an element for our CPD programme) – what we have now defined as “think-talk,”
- Groups of students were frequently commented upon, “that table,” “those boys,” and “the group moved to the laptops” as well as referencing vulnerable groups.
- Passive students, or a lack of pace, was indicative of a lack of progress.
Following each observation we held a brief conversations on what we observed. Every conversation opened with a question focused on… progress. Progress (secure or manufactured) defines the perceived lesson quality under this framework.
Teacher to the top – have high expectations.
Questioning – probe, dig, refine, upgrade or challenge the answer.
Advise teachers not use same resource with every member of the class. It might be able to put forward a differentiation defense, just modify the resource for student groups.
Model or share with students what you expect to see. English teachers write, speak, read. Scientists, investigate, questions, explore. Technologist, build, construct, PE teachers demonstrate and music teachers, read and play. Part of the inspire agenda?
Behavior was almost synonymous with engagement. Passive students, or a lack of pace, was indicative of a lack of… yes, you guessed it, progress.
Not only is homework set? Is homework marked / used to promote progress?
Feedback always included;
A note of thanks for welcoming us in your lesson and a note of thanks for provided key documentation. The HMI, giving shorter feedback always positioned one or two to clear areas for improvement and two or three points to reflect on. A focused reference to progress in the lesson which almost always defined the lesson grade.
Our HMI listened openly to every teacher. Answered every question, not ducking a single one, and most importantly ensured the short term impact of Ofsted did not negative impact on the long term outlook of our staff.
Over the next week we will re-calibrate our teaching and learning documents and communicate the raised expectations. More importantly we will being extending our teacher CPD programme to help us Frosbury flop that raised the bar.
The only other task I will make sure we do more regularly is survey all pupils, and parents and carers, more often, probably termly. The opinions of a small groups of students (6), meeting with Ofsted inspectors can be triangulated, of course they can, though I would want to be in a position to offer a broader response to school themes such as bullying, safety, uniform and the quality pastoral care.