Free article: Ofsted visits and self-evaluation during the coronavirus pandemic Free article: Reflecting on leadership standards in the era of  COVID-19 Free article: Living with the new normal: How Covid-19 is changing education Ofsted and staff wellbeing Free article: How to prepare staff for an Ofsted inspection Free article: COVID 19: Supporting student mental health remotely Free article: Mental health and behaviour: updated guidance Free article: What to expect from Ofsted in 2019 Free article: Improving teacher recruitment and retention: part 1 Free article: Get ready to win strategic school improvement funding Reputation management for schools Experience shared: Effective mentoring Nurture groups and parental engagement Tackling bullying in schools - part one Aggression at work: Managing yourself and others Managing difficult conversations The art of influence: Creating the best outcome Change management and conflict Managing anxiety at work Interpreting data for 2017 performance Free article: Ofsted inspection of SRE provision: Getting it right Free article: Know your strengths Free article: Developing an ethos of high expectation Achieving an ‘Outstanding’ Grade: Focused on Excellence Free article: HR and the successful school: A case study Free article: Leading the way to outstanding learner progress Free article: Attainment and progress: The Rochford Review Free article: How to create a leadership team that drives school improvement Free article: Prioritising the budget for school improvement Free article: Transforming a failing school Free article: Evaluating alternative and specially resourced provision Free article: Taking a school-wide approach to mental health and wellbeing Free article: The latest developments in education - January 2016 Free article: Managing uncertainty Free article: Pupil voice as an evaluation technique Free article: The latest developments in education - September 2016 Free article: Deconstructing Ofsted: Reflection after inspection Free article: MAT expansion: Don’t let school improvement become a casualty Free article: Ten rules for outstanding leaders Free article: The governing body as a critical friend Free article: Developing an ethos of high expectations Free article: The exam post-mortem Free article: Safeguarding: Everyone’s responsibility Free article: How do inspectors make the judgement about overall effectiveness? The Ofsted model Free article: Effective leadership builds effective teams Free article: Baseline assessment and SEND Free article: Deconstructing the link between SEND and poverty Free article: Making performance management count in school improvement Free article: Joining or setting up a multi-academy trust Free article: Using pupil voice to support school evaluation Free article: What are the signs of a good school improvement service adviser? Free article: Headteachers’ appraisal Free article: Making CPD work harder Free article: Interpreting the inspection dashboard Free article: The government's Prevent guidance Free article: Improving provision for the most able Free article: Personal development, behaviour and welfare Free article: Is there a mental health crisis in our schools? Free article: Evaluating the effectiveness of assessment Free article: Actively promoting fundamental British values Free article: Raising boys’ achievement Free article: National standards of excellence for headteachers Free article: Monitoring and coaching through lesson observation Free article: CPD: Less measurement and more development Free article: Challenging 
the most able Free article: Using the teachers’ standards as a framework for CPD and accountability Free article: Managing behaviour outside the classroom Free article: Managing pupils’ behaviour in lessons Free article: Keeping Children Safe Statutory Guidance Free article: Four steps to school improvement Free article: Finding a way through the jungle: The essence of leadership Free article: How to audit your whole-school literacy provision Free article: Professional development: the growing case for evidence Free article: Getting personal  with CPD Free article: Making performance appraisal an objective and helpful process Free article: Parent View — an update Free article: Raising pupil achievement through parental engagement: a practical approach Free article: Effective parental engagement

Free article: Ofsted visits and self-evaluation during the coronavirus pandemic

Sue Cowley talks about Ofsted’s approach during the coronavirus pandemic.

Free article: Reflecting on leadership standards in the era of  COVID-19

Helen Frostick considers how relevant the National standards of excellence for headteachers are in the current climate.

Free article: Living with the new normal: How Covid-19 is changing education

John Viner looks at how COVID-19 has changed the face of education.

Ofsted and staff wellbeing

Sue Cowley argues that staff wellbeing is essential to the success of the school.

Free article: How to prepare staff for an Ofsted inspection

Helen Frostick gives some practical tips on how to prepare staff to meet the requirements of the Education inspection framework (EIF).

Free article: COVID 19: Supporting student mental health remotely

Sam Garner gives some practical tips on supporting students remotely during the coronavirus outbreak.

Free article: Mental health and behaviour: updated guidance

The DfE has updated its document Mental health and behaviour in schools. In light of the growing concern about mental health, John Viner outlines the importance of this document with…

Free article: What to expect from Ofsted in 2019

The consultation document has given a good indication of what school leaders can expect from the new Ofsted framework. In this article, Suzanne O’Connell outlines the main, proposed features of…

Free article: Improving teacher recruitment and retention: part 1

In the first part of a two-part article, Matt Bromley looks at ways to improve teacher recruitment and retention.

Free article: Get ready to win strategic school improvement funding

How do you make a successful bid for a slice of the government’s Strategic School Improvement Fund? Best Practice Network’s Liam Donnison asks two school leaders who have done so…

Reputation management for schools

PLMR’s Sam Dalton talks about how schools can manage reputational impact when a crisis hits.

Experience shared: Effective mentoring

Steve Burnage explores the professional development potential of a productive and focused mentoring relationship from the perspective of the mentor.

Nurture groups and parental engagement

Nurture groups are a multi-dimensional group intervention with a whole-school focus, and running them successfully depends on a wide array of different factors. In this third and final article exploring…

Tackling bullying in schools - part one

Bullying is defined as: ‘Behaviour by an individual or group, usually repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally’. This article looks at the…

Aggression at work: Managing yourself and others

Conflict management is a vital skill for managers. Schools have clear policies on managing aggression in the classroom and playground. In this article Louise Wingrove looks at dealing with it…

Managing difficult conversations

Some conversations are always going to be uncomfortable. In this article, Louise Wingrove looks at managing difficult subjects with care and confidence.

The art of influence: Creating the best outcome

Louise Wingrove looks at how being aware of your impact on others can help everybody get what they need.

Change management and conflict

Nazli Hussein looks at the causes of conflict and the best ways to deal with it, with the best outcomes for those involved.

Managing anxiety at work

With growing awareness about anxiety and the impact it can have on both pupils and members of staff, Louis Wingrove looks at some ways to tackle the problem in the…

Interpreting data for 2017 performance

Tony Powell looks at the three different ways that a school’s academic performance is evaluated.

Free article: Ofsted inspection of SRE provision: Getting it right

This article considers ways to ensure high-quality sex and relationships education (SRE), outlines what Ofsted will be looking for, and looks ahead to the next 12–24 months.

Free article: Know your strengths

Can you make inspection an enriching learning process that is actually good for your school? Heather Clements of Best Practice Network offers some advice. 

Free article: Developing an ethos of high expectation

In this article, Steve Burnage shares some practical strategies to enable school leaders to develop an ethos of high expectation in their schools. 

Achieving an ‘Outstanding’ Grade: Focused on Excellence

Tony Powell outlines a step-by-step approach to support schools in achieving the accolade of ‘outstanding’ as defined by Ofsted.

Free article: HR and the successful school: A case study

Adrian Kneeshaw, Headteacher of Carlton Bolling College, gives a personal viewpoint of the benefits of bringing in the experts.

Free article: Leading the way to outstanding learner progress

Steve Burnage discusses engaging with good practice in the leadership of teaching and learning.

Free article: Attainment and progress: The Rochford Review

Tony Powell reports on the findings of the final Rochford Review.

Free article: How to create a leadership team that drives school improvement

A high-performing leadership team is at the centre of any school improvement mission. But how do you go about creating an excellent SLT? Colin McLean of Best Practice Network asks…

Free article: Prioritising the budget for school improvement

Adrian Kneeshaw of Carlton Bolling school gives advice on how to focus school spending on improvement planning.

Free article: Transforming a failing school

Matt Bromley offers some advice on turning around an underperforming school in a short space of time while laying down the foundations for sustainable improvement.

Free article: Evaluating alternative and specially resourced provision

Tony Powell explains how inspectors gather evidence and make judgements on the quality of alternative and specially resourced provision.

Free article: Taking a school-wide approach to mental health and wellbeing

With concerns about mental health rising, what can schools do to help their pupils? Suzanne O’Connell outlines the advice available from the National Children’s Bureau and how it might be…

Free article: The latest developments in education - January 2016

Suzanne O’Connell provides a look at what’s currently being discussed, debated and determined in the world of education.

Free article: Managing uncertainty

If you are struggling with a sense of uncertainty, be reassured: you are not alone. 2016 has been a year of upheaval, with the promise of big changes on the…

Free article: Pupil voice as an evaluation technique

Tony Powell provides guidance on how to use discussion with pupils as a tool for self-evaluation.

Free article: The latest developments in education - September 2016

Suzanne O’Connell provides a look at what’s currently being discussed, debated and determined in the world of education.

Free article: Deconstructing Ofsted: Reflection after inspection

Tony Powell looks at how to use the feedback from your inspection in school improvement planning.

Free article: MAT expansion: Don’t let school improvement become a casualty

How can an expanding multi-academy trust ensure that school improvement doesn’t become a casualty of change? Colin McLean of Best Practice Network looks at the issue and offers some guidance.

Free article: Ten rules for outstanding leaders

Adrian Kneeshaw looks at how leadership is important to the success of the school, and how to lead effectively.

Free article: The governing body as a critical friend

In his second article on the headteacher and governor relationship, Tony Powell defines what is meant by a ‘critical friend’.

Free article: Developing an ethos of high expectations

Steve Burnage shares some practical strategies to enable school leaders to develop an ethos of high expectations in their schools.

Free article: The exam post-mortem

Matt Bromley considers how schools can learn from exam performance data and build this into school improvement.

Free article: Safeguarding: Everyone’s responsibility

With new safeguarding guidance released, it’s time to check your arrangements and update your staff.

Free article: How do inspectors make the judgement about overall effectiveness? The Ofsted model

This article outlines the Ofsted methodology for determining whether a school is ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.

Free article: Effective leadership builds effective teams

Steve Burnage offers advice on motivating staff, getting the best from them and building effective teams.

Free article: Baseline assessment and SEND

Suzanne O’Connell looks at a report on baseline assessment in primary schools and it’s affect on identifying children with SEND.

Free article: Deconstructing the link between SEND and poverty

DfE statistics show a clear link between SEND and children living in poverty. Suzanne O’Connell outlines some of the reasons for this, and recommendations for action, in a Joseph Rowntree…

Free article: Making performance management count in school improvement

What do you need to do to make performance management a watertight process that makes a real contribution to school improvement? Keith Wright has some suggestions.

Free article: Joining or setting up a multi-academy trust

Tony Stephens, of the Co-operative Academies Trust, looks at what is the best type of multi-academy trust for a school to join or establish.

Free article: Using pupil voice to support school evaluation

David Birch explains how capturing the views of students can sharpen school self-evaluation and have a positive impact on your school improvement strategies.

Free article: What are the signs of a good school improvement service adviser?

Frank Norris offers advice on how to choose the most appropriate school improvement partner to work with your school.

Free article: Headteachers’ appraisal

David Birch outlines best practice in the management of the headteacher appraisal process and offers advice for headteachers on how to make the most of appraisal in their own professional development.

Free article: Making CPD work harder

Professional development is a crucial factor in school improvement and improving pupil outcomes, but it could work harder, says Keith Wright.

Free article: Interpreting the inspection dashboard

There is a new inspection dashboard to go with Ofsted's new Common inspection framework. Tony Powell explains how it can be used.

Free article: The government's Prevent guidance

Suzanne O'Connell considers the guidance available regarding Prevent and school leaders' responsibilities.

Free article: Improving provision for the most able

Ofsted reports are making it clear. The DfE wants to see secondary schools challenging their most able students. In this article, Suzanne O’Connell summarises the criticisms and recommendations from ‘The…

Free article: Personal development, behaviour and welfare

Tony Powell looks at the new key area ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’ under the new Ofsted inspection framework.

Free article: Is there a mental health crisis in our schools?

The mental health of children and young people is at the top of the agenda at the moment. Increased anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders are bringing some schools to crisis…

Free article: Evaluating the effectiveness of assessment

Tony Powell interprets government guidance on assessment to help schools support self-evaluation.

Free article: Actively promoting fundamental British values

Tony Powell advises on how schools can demonstrate that they are actively promoting fundamental British values.

Free article: Raising boys’ achievement

John Viner looks at research into boys’ underachievement and reviews some successful strategies.

Free article: National standards of excellence for headteachers

Tony Powell looks at the revised national standards for headteachers and how they should be used by schools.

Free article: Monitoring and coaching through lesson observation

John Viner explores ways to develop a culture of continual improvement in teaching through lesson observation.

Free article: CPD: Less measurement and more development

How can schools translate CPD into genuine improvement for staff? Keith Wright asked leaders to share their views, and discovered an emerging consensus about which approaches work best.

Free article: Challenging 
the most able

Tony Powell looks at how to identify the most able pupils, and the key factors that enable the brightest pupils to achieve.

Free article: Using the teachers’ standards as a framework for CPD and accountability

Tony Powell looks at how the teachers’ standards can be used to evaluate performance and support improvement.

Free article: Managing behaviour outside the classroom

Since January 2014 there has been increased emphasis on the behaviour of pupils. In this article, Jim Donnelly offers advice on managing behaviour around the school.

Free article: Managing pupils’ behaviour in lessons

David Birch offers advice on effective classroom management and argues that effective practice relies on a combination of the consistent application of agreed policy and the development of awareness and…

Free article: Keeping Children Safe Statutory Guidance

This is statutory guidance, which means that schools and colleges (including academies and free schools) must have regard to it. It contains what schools should do and what they must…

Free article: Four steps to school improvement

School improvement is a complex recipe that takes time to perfect. Keith Wright looks at some of the key barriers to school improvement and suggests strategies and systems to overcome…

Free article: Finding a way through the jungle: The essence of leadership

Louise Wingrove gives practical advice on how to become a leader your team will want to follow.

Free article: How to audit your whole-school literacy provision

Given that whole-school literacy is central to raising standards of achievement in schools and that it is a key focus for Ofsted, David Birch outlines some of the actions schools…

Free article: Professional development: the growing case for evidence

Teachers are good at gathering evidence of pupil progress, but many find it difficult to do the same with regard to their own professional development.  Keith Wright looks at the…

Free article: Getting personal with CPD

Less than a fifth of teachers in England’s schools think their continuing profession development (CPD) is any good, according to a recent survey. One of the keys to unlocking the…

Free article: Making performance appraisal an objective and helpful process

Performance appraisal is crucial to school improvement, but many schools are still without a rigorous and transparent way of carrying it out, says Keith Wright. Here, he analyses the challenges…

Free article: Parent View — an update

Jenny Townsend looks at the importance of Parent View in achieving an outstanding rating in inspection, and how comments from parents are used by Ofsted.

Free article: Raising pupil achievement through parental engagement: a practical approach

Jenny Townsend explores how parental engagement can contribute to school improvement and in particular the role this can play in raising pupil achievement levels.

Free article: Effective parental engagement

Ofsted’s Parent View means that parents have a direct influence on the decision to inspect. Jenny Townsend examines why this matters to schools.

Free article: How to prepare staff for an Ofsted inspection

Published: Friday, 19 June 2020

Helen Frostick gives some practical tips on how to prepare staff to meet the requirements of the Education inspection framework (EIF).

Summary

• Focusing on staff CPD can help staff to shine during an Ofsted inspection.

• Schools could carry out a mock Ofsted inspection to educate staff on what to expect and to improve confidence.

• The school’s vision should be all about the curriculum rather than anything broader.

• The national curriculum is not enough in itself, and schools need to demonstrate their unique approach to ensuring a depth of learning.

Schools have been on a steep trajectory of learning since the new Education inspection framework (EIF) came into force. In the summer term 2019 the three I’s – intent, implementation and impact – became the steer for a renewed emphasis on curriculum. The background was the belief that curriculums in schools had become too narrow. Schools were focusing on results rather than offering their students a broad and balanced curriculum. ‘Off-rolling’ became a familiar term as it became apparent that some schools were taking pupils off roll to avoid negative inspections and results. Meanwhile, the most vulnerable and culturally poor students were missing the foundation subjects in favour of English and mathematics lessons to narrow the increasing attainment gap.

In the autumn term, the first wave of schools tested under the new framework were unprepared for what was required. The Ofsted inspectors themselves only trained during the latter part of the summer break. A colleague, whose school had an inspection in the second week of the new academic year, described inspectors frantically flipping through ring-bound mini-books containing the entire national curriculum (NC) at a glance.

Now the dust has settled on the framework this article focuses on one of the controllable aspects of preparing for an inspection: the continuing professional development (CPD) which can give staff the confidence they need to shine, including what training headteachers themselves can undertake.

At St. Mary Magdalen’s I commissioned an Ofsted-style review in October 2019 to act as a training exercise. It served as fantastic CPD for the whole school. I highly recommend it. Because of gaps in my knowledge as to the new requirements of the EIF, I attended a two-day Ofsted training course led by my school improvement partner.

Ofsted training

It was clear that the self-evaluation form (SEF) should be succinct and arranged into the four new sections following on from the school’s context: quality of education; behaviour and attitudes; personal development; and leadership and management.

Quality of education

Under ‘quality of education’ and the ‘intent’ of the curriculum, schools should have an ambitious curriculum for ALL pupils, coherently planned and sequenced. In my mock interview, during the review, I fell short on the question about our vision. It should have been all about the curriculum rather than a broader vision.

The questions that helped me to articulate the vision following on from the training were:

• Why this?

• Why now?

• What next?

Progress was described as, ‘How do you ensure that your pupils know more, remember more (sticky knowledge) and understand more?’ A clear statement about metacognition is useful. How do pupils transfer knowledge acquired to their long-term memory?

Clearing up the confusion as to whether the NC is enough in itself: it is not. Schools need to demonstrate their unique approach to ensuring a depth of learning and not just a race through the NC programmes of study. The non-negotiables in your particular school context are: the pupils’ starting points, their end-points, and what comes in between.

A helpful way of understanding ‘cultural capital’ was given on the training in the form of the question, ‘How is the most vulnerable pupils’ understanding enhanced to help them to meet more in the middle with their peers?’ This could be through, for example, increasing their vocabulary. A useful quote in relation to this is, ‘To win the game, know the rules and legitimise the players’.

Behaviour and attitudes

The inspectors will be looking for self-regulation in the pupils, rather than over policing by staff. Attendance for the different groups will be scrutinised. A clear policy needs to be in place regarding how the school is targeting positive attendance. There is no greater steer as to the quality of education than outstanding attendance and good behaviour.

Personal development

How are we helping children to be resilient in their learning? Are character building and positive learning behaviours actively taught as part of the curriculum offer?

Leadership and governance

To get an outstanding judgement, all levels of leadership need to be strong. Middle leaders’ training can help the subject leaders to be able to articulate and rehearse their vision for their area of the curriculum. Many are creating knowledge maps, and networking opportunities on such training days could see teachers usefully sharing and pooling their ideas.

Governors should be encouraged to attend their own bespoke training, in particular covering how to be a strategic partner and how to hold the school to account.

Phonics training

All staff can benefit from training in phonics. Early reading has an important focus in the EIF. A core priority for any school should be to design the curriculum so that pupils are taught to read at an age-appropriate level. Schools need to articulate clearly their expectations for phonics progress for the Early Years and then on through the year groups. For example, by the end of EYFS, pupils should be secure with phase 2 and 3 sounds. This means that they can read and write with these sounds. Many will also be able to use phase 4 sounds in reading, even if not yet secure in writing them consistently. This is a key focus in phonics decoding and speeding up the learning to ensure a high degree of challenge.

There needs to be a careful match between progress in phonics and reading schemes. Many of us broadened the reading scheme books with an injection of ‘real’ books. This worked against us in our review.

The other important aspect of the judgement on reading is how a love of reading is being systematically developed. At St. Mary Magdalen’s we use the Power of Reading programme created by Centre for Literacy for Primary Education (CLPE). The staff are enthusiastic about it and this enthuses the children too. We attend the Barnes Literature Festival, giving the children the opportunity to hear well-known local authors, such as Roger McGough and Julia Macdonald, talk about their craft and how they got started.

Our library is the learning hub of the school, beautifully designed to promote vocabulary as well as reading. Our volunteer parents run our online lending service and pupil-elected librarians take care of the class libraries.

On birthdays, children are encouraged to bring in a book rather than cakes, to dedicate to the library. Bookplates celebrate this kind gift with the child’s name and birth date. A true legacy.

World Book Day comes to life, not only with everybody dressing as a character, but also by designing a book in a jar.

About the author

Helen Frostick is currently the headteacher of St. Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Primary School in the Borough of Richmond upon Thames, London. She is a National Leader of Education (NLE) for the National College of School Leadership, with responsibility for supporting schools in challenging circumstances. Helen regularly speaks at national conferences and specialises in pupil premium and safeguarding.

Most frequently read