How To Prepare Your School For An Ofsted Inspection
If you work in a school or nursery, you may need to prepare for an Ofsted inspection in the school year. It can be a stressful time for educators, as they feel the institution is under scrutiny, but as long as you are prepared, an Ofsted inspection is manageable. If you are expecting a visit from the Department of Education sooner, here is everything you need to know about how to prepare your school for an Ofsted inspection.
What is an Ofsted Inspection?
An Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) inspection involves a visit from the Department of Education to assess the school and evaluate how things operate on a day-to-day basis. Schools will have one once every three or four years.
Prior to 2005, schools were given two month’s notice to prepare for the visit that would last for one week. However, the laws changed following complaints from educators that the process disrupted the school year.
After 2005, the short-notice policy was introduced, which reduced the time to two days, and the inspection covering two to three days. However, Ofsted has the authority to inspect a school without prior notice, with the lead inspector informing the school just 15 minutes before arrival.
Following an inspection, a report is submitted by the office regarding the score. The scoring ranges from 1 to 4.
- 1 – Outstanding
- 2 – Good
- 3 – Requires Improvement
- 4 – Inadequate
In some schools, a ‘Special Measures’ score is also possible, and this is where too many ‘Inadequate’ scores have been given. Schools who receive such a judgement receive heavy involvement and support from local authorities.
How to Prepare for an Ofsted Inspection
The nature of Ofsted means that you cannot properly prepare for an inspection. There are not enough days prior to inspectors arriving for your school to put everything into order. However, this is the point. Ofsted inspectors do not want to see rehearsed lessons and activities. They want to see how the school operates.
However, there are some ways your school can prepare for an Ofsted inspection to ensure you impress.
Operating as if an Ofsted inspection could happen at any minute could put unnecessary stress on your staff. But you can get an idea of what you will experience on the day of the inspection to ensure you are sufficiently prepared for the visit.
The Ofsted inspection handbook is available online for all teachers and staff to view. Just like any test you took back at school, you can’t feel adequately prepared if you do not research what will happen. This handbook gives you the chance to find out what the inspector will assess during their visit and also allow you to prepare for questions, financial enquiries and requests regarding performance reviews.
Schools are not the same as how they were when you were studying, so it’s vital that you make sure everything is up to date. Your school website and other online resources should show current information to ensure it meets the requirements, as it is a crucial resource for staff, students, and parents.
You should also make sure any online portfolios chartering the student’s educational journey is up to date. The inspector will pick these students at random, so don’t neglect others because you don’t expect them to be called. If all the data is collected digitally, there is no need to prepare it yourself prior to inspection.
Inform the Staff
You should inform your staff of any potential Ofsted Inspection so they can prepare their materials and metrics. It’s also beneficial to hold regular training sessions throughout the school year so they know what to expect. You can also make sure the staff have the right DBS checks to ensure eligibility.
An inspection is never stress-free, and it’s easy to panic when inspectors arrive. However, this will not help your cause, as it will lead to you making mistakes. As long as you ensure everything is up to date and you are running the school confidently and effectively, you won’t have too much to worry about.
Why Are DBS checks for schools essential?
As with any profession that works with children and vulnerable persons, DBS checks are vital to ensure the safety of the children as well as the staff. When hiring for school positions, you must apply for at least a Standard DBS check on behalf of candidates, and an Enhanced DBS check is most appropriate.
Really, there’s no way to properly prepare for an Ofsted inspection, as they can come at any time, and they may even come without warning for some schools, regardless of previous scores. If you follow this advice, though, you can put your school in the best possible position.
If you need more information for everything about DBS checks, make sure to browse The Check People Blog to answer any additional questions you might have.
- How to prepare for Ofsted inspections – OneFile
- Inspecting schools: guide for maintained and academy schools – Gov.uk
- Ofsted – Wikipedia