Ofsted Number 6: My experience and thoughts……

In the penultimate week before our L.A broke up for half term, one of the 8 Schools that I work for got ‘the call’ on the Monday. In the Collegiate that I run Physical Education for, this was the sixth Ofsted Inspection in the space of 3 years. Although 5 of those did occur in the space of a term and a half – so we have had a little break in that regard. I have wrote a blog offering my views on the process and how we prepared for them already, you can find that here: http://powerofpe.co.uk/primary-p-e-sport-premium-how-to-evidence-maximise-impact/

But as I’ll explain in a short while this Inspection felt different so I felt the need to build on the aforementioned.

But first to give the reader all of the necessary information (and perhaps allow me to be just a little bit smug of our achievements) – here is the section of the finalised report that analyses the spend of the P.E & Sport Premium:

HMI 2.0

There was a different feel to this Inspection. They are all intense aren’t they, but this was the first Inspection I have been involved in since the new framework has actually been enforced. In previous Inspections various members of Staff (myself included) have been able to approach meetings from a political stance. By that I don’t mean leaning the left or right, I mean you can avoid some questions by adopting distracting lexical choice….

Yeah – not this time. These guys were sharp. Not nasty by any means, just incredibly astute with a great nose for where to look. The School involved in the Inspection is a great School, but the Inspection team were certainly going to see all of it. The phrase ‘no stone unturned’ springs to mind.

So here a few tips born out of the experience, to add to those in my previous blog.

1. Be as prepared as possible

I understand that this isn’t really revolutionary advise. But the old ‘Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready’ pays dividends. The Inspection were very thorough when researching the School website, if I had just created some key information that should have been on the website they would smell a rat. I’m certain of that. All of our data and interventions were publicised already on the website, this simply allowed us to talk about these in more depth!

2. Be aware of your subjects strengths – steer the conversation

The role of an Inspector is incredibly busy. They’re required to ingest a ton of information, often they come into our Schools with a mandate to inspect specific areas of the School (usually linked to prior academic performance). So not all Inspectors will want to spend too long, if at all, talking about P.E. In one Inspection I had to constantly beg him for some time to explain to him the positive impact P.E has had on our pupils. For this reason, prior to the meeting, pick 3 things that you absolutely must tell the Inspector during the meeting. Once these have been explained you start to elaborate. In this particular Inspection meeting, the Lead Inspector enjoyed my clear narrative. He even asked me what I was reading from (I had a posted note on my file with an order of things I wanted him to learn about). I could then give him clear, concise headlines regarding the Impact of funding. Occasionally he would stop me and say things such as ‘Show me’ or ‘Tell me more about that’. If I made a bold claim he often said ‘OK Craig, prove that to me’. At that point I would have my pre-printed evidence waiting to back up the statements made. Whenever he understood my point he would shut me up, his sentence would start “Craig I’m not being rude but…”. I quickly learned that this effectively meant “NEXT!”.

Whilst I was explaining about the huge bank of resources I had created for our Collegiate, he asked to look at some of the Schemes of Work. I gave him 4 from within the Schools file. He kept them all, before he left he stopped me in the corridor to compliment me on the level of detail in the plans 🙂

3. In the words of HMI – “We don’t care if Schools have won an extra trophy, this is about the impact on the health of your pupils whole life”

If you can’t tell already, I was very impressed by this Inspections Lead Inspector (if that makes sense??). He had an ability to assess a multitude of areas in microscopic detail at speed, whilst not letting anything pass him by. He reinforced my belief of why the P.E & Sport Premium is so important with the above comment. In short, consider how you’re spending the Premium. Have you just got a few more balls or bibs? Or in 20-30 years will someone be a healthier person because of something you have done, in your School? Because that is what it should all be about.

The resources that the report alludes to can be purchased for your School for an extremely reasonable one-off payment, learn more here:

Planning and Assessment