Primary Blogging

Collecting blogs about primary education

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NRocks14 Ofsted session @MaryMyatt

These are the questions which were asked in advance of the NRocks14 conference.

If the game is about progress over time why do we need lesson observations?

This is what Mike Cladingbowl has to say about the purpose of lesson observations:

‘It’s just one piece of a jigsaw of evidence about the work of the school that includes: the school’s own observations and self-evaluation, joint visits to classrooms with the headteacher or other staff, evidence about how teaching has improved, the quality of work seen in books, teachers’ marking, discussions with pupils and staff and, of course, test results and so on. In my view, inspectors must always spend time in classrooms when they inspect. It’s where the main business of the school happens.’

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Ofsted Skills and Knowledge Gap Analysis. Post supplied by Andy Scotland @asctty

1 How well do Governors know the School
What are the academic strengths?


Maths and Reading – Refer to crib sheet
Results – do you know the floor targets and how the school compares with them?


This year’s floor target was 65%

We achieved a combined score of 83%

Maths 92%

Reading 96%

Writing 83%

See crib sheet for progress levels

What are the predictions for this year KS2?


Maths 87%

Reading 87%

Writing 91%

Based on last year’s Year 5 results


Inspectors would find it difficult to accept these reductions of 5% in Maths and 9% in Reading as predictions. They would be expecting the school to put in the necessary interventions to match last year’s results if you can’t exceed them.

I would explain that the 2014 Y6  cohort is weaker on entry (if it is) and  their performance to date would indicate lower scores for Maths and Reading but you are working hard to address this to at least match last years.

As discussed, this the tough one.  Trying to paint a realistic picture when there are real no-hopers in the cohort.  I would prefer to be honest and reach and exceed realistic targets rather than fail to achieve unrealistic ones.  We can’t just make up expectations with no audit trail back to real data for last year’s Y5 achievements.  Can we make sure our expectations of points progress are crystal clear instead?

Which areas are weaker academically and need to improve?


Literacy and Incorporating reading into writing

Spelling and grammar

CLL for boys – Communications, Language and Literacy

Increase number of children achieving level 5 in all SATS subjects

What is the school doing about these? School Development Plan (SDP) Short, Medium and Long Term

Curriculum based a book for all in the class (from Pupil Premium)

Step for success for the children to be independent and aim high

(No longer using RAP)

What is attendance like? 96% last term

94% over last year

Suggest you give attendance figures for the full year  2011 – 2012 then overall for 12 -13 but highlight the last term’s figure of 96%

This is a fair comment

What other successes / accolades / achievements are you as a GB most proud of?


Crib Sheet (examples such as):

I would highlight the transformational impact of the school on the socialisation of these  students from their starting points of very deprived backgrounds (some even in nappies!) and the fostering of a love of learning and enjoyment of school.

Again this is OK.

  • Conversion to Academy
  • Other schools coming to see the Wyndham Way
  • Sharing outstanding teacher programme with other schools (Paula & Kirsty)
  • Sharing leadership model with other schools
  • Excellent in-house leadership skill to provide mentoring to other teachers
  • Case Study school for iPads
  • Nest
  • Awards
  • Wyndham Towers
  • Points progress across the school
  • Attendance
  • Minibus
What are the barriers to the school being ‘good’ / outstanding? High mobility of children – i.e. no consistency through the school

Parental engagement – hard to reach parents

Lack of aspiration in the community

How can we use the strengths to overcome any barriers?


Trust/Teaching school

Challenge the gap programme

Staff CPD plan

Links with the Trust and sharing of best practice with outstanding schools (looking outwards)

Using our outstanding practitioners to further develop the practice of other staff within the school. Fine

2 How do Governors shape the vision for the school?


Working with Principal and SLT to develop and monitor implementation of SDP

Joint ‘Away day’ for future planning and visioning? Fine

3 What self evaluation processes are in place?


To be listed on crib sheet…


–          Data analysis external through Raise0nline and FFT

–          Data analysis internal – O track analysis of student progress by year group, vulnerable group, and individuals;

–          Lesson observations by peers, senior staff, governors  and external evaluators

–          Learning walks

–          Work trawls

–          Listening to students read

–          Teacher self-evaluation

–          Governor’s self-evaluation and reflection time

The summary outcomes of all these processes inform the Self Evaluation document and the actions arising are contained in the School Development Plan.

No problem with this either.


4 What role do Governors play in the writing of the SEF?


Governors see the outcomes of the self evaluation processes at full governors meetings. They review the SEF at the Standards Committee meeting.  Fair comment.
5 How do you hold senior and middle leaders to account?


Governors are allocated specific areas to monitor across each phase of the school based on the SDP for that term

Please think of a visit you have conducted

6 Can you give an example how you have challenged the Principal?


This is for each governor to recount.


I would collate the responses from Governors here so that you all have some idea what each is saying

Easier said than done but we can try I suppose.

7 Can you give an example how you have persuaded against a certain course of action?


This is for each governor to recount.
8 Approximately how much does the school receive for pupil premium; how is it spent and what has been the impact?
£5,000 Family Learning
£12,480 Premier Sports
£18,500  (additional Class Teacher)
£15,800  (additional TA)
£23,000  (LM) inc Breakfast Club
£1,290  Breakfast Club
£15,000 Coaches
£4,110 Uniform (£30 voucher)
£160 Happy Hens
£500 Nurture Group
£15,000 Mini bus
£5,000 Climbing Frame
£6,000 Class reading book
£1,199.74 Carried over from 2012-2013 (handwriting)



At the side of each you need to demonstrate any impact

I have asked xxxxx to expand on this already.


9 How do you ensure performance management leads to improvement particularly in the quality of teaching?


New enhanced Performance management policies

New approach to governor monitoring visits based on SDP

Holding the phase managers to account by asking questions the monitoring system for quality of teaching


Analysis of Teacher grades showing improvement

This will be hard to show without naming teachers which we have agreed we don’t want to for all governors especially staff ones.

10 What is the outcome/ impact of Governor visits to the school? New approach to governor monitoring visits based on SDP.

Monitoring visit forms to be reviewed by Principal and major recommendations relayed to governors for review at full LGB meeting.


Any changes / improvements or other impact arising from  Governor visits?

Given the lack of monitoring visits this will be a tall order.  We can at least reflect on decision made at the meeting to make improvements in specific areas as requested by you.

11 How do Governors ensure they fulfil their statutory duties?


Clear Vision and involvement in planning via SDP approval

Challenge of Principal

Financial Management – via Resources sub-committee

Review of statutory policies

12 How do Governors ensure safeguarding of children in their care? Designated Safeguarding Governor (Jean)

All Safeguarding and Child Protection Policies recently reviewed and approved

All governors to complete online CP training

(formal training to be arranged with DCC)

13 What is the mechanism and procedures for setting the school priorities?


See crib sheet
14 What are the priorities for 2012 – 13?               and 2013 – 14?


See crib sheet
15 How have you arrived at these?


SEF, SATS results, Raise online and O track assessment
16 Are governors attached to specific priorities?


Yes as per below
17 How do you monitor progress against the School Action Plan? New approach to governor monitoring visits based on SDP.

Review of data by Standards Committee

Monitoring visit forms to be reviewed by Principal and major recommendations relayed to governors for review at full LGB meeting.



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Governance. Post supplied by Andy Scotland @asctty


From the Ofsted subsidiary guidance (April 2013)…

  1. Whatever the mode of governance, inspectors must evaluate the extent to which governors both challenge and support the school and hold senior staff, including the headteacher, to account for the achievement of the pupils. Governors are not expected to be routinely involved in the day-to-day activity of the school.  Governors are not expected to undertake lesson observations, unless the school has clear protocols for visits so their purposes are understood by school staff and governors alike. However, they hold important strategic responsibilities for the development and improvement of the school.
  2. Inspectors will consider whether governors:

n  carry out their statutory duties

n  understand the strengths and weaknesses of the school, including the quality of teaching

n  ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction

n  understand and take sufficient account of pupil data, particularly their understanding and use of the school data dashboard

n  are aware of the impact of teaching on learning and progress in different subjects and year groups

n  are challenging and supporting leadership in equal measure

n  are providing support for an effective headteacher, or whether they are hindering school improvement by failing to tackle key concerns

n  understand how the school makes decisions about teachers’ salary progression

n  performance manage the headteacher rigorously

n  are failing to perform well and contributing to weaknesses in leadership and management.

  1. Inspectors will want to know that the governing body is ensuring that the school’s finances are properly managed, and will investigate governors’ role in deciding how the school is using the Pupil Premium or the Year 7 catch-up premium.




Strengths and weaknesses of the school

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the school and how do governors know? Governors need to be able to talk about the following areas:

  1. Achievement of all pupils and groups of pupils


  1. The quality of teaching across subjects and year groups
  1. Behaviour and attendance (also by groups)


  1. Leadership and management



  1. Other areas eg curriculum, Care guidance and support, SEN provision, links with parents, community cohesion


  1. How do you know?







Pupil Premium

The pupil premium is funding allocated to schools for the specific purpose of boosting the attainment of pupils from low-income families. Funding is based on children who have registered for a free school meal at any point in the last 6 years, children that have been in care for more than six months and children whose parents are currently serving in the armed forces. (Approx £900 in 2013-14)

  1. Roughly how much is this for your school?


  1. How is the pupil premium being use?



  1. What input had governors had in the use of the premium?


  1. Is it having any impact?



  1. How do governors track how the pupil premium is allocated and the impact it is having on standards?


Achievement Data
  1. How are governors informed about the progress of pupils?


  1. What do governors know about the school’s Data Dashboard /RAISEonline/ FFT data?


  1. What has changed since the last inspection? (there is a clear expectation for governors to know the data and progress over the last couple of years.)


  1. What do governors do with their knowledge of the school’s data?



  1. Where in school are standards being impacted by interventions?





Attainment and Progress
  1. Are you familiar with the school’s tracking and monitoring systems for improving attainment and progress?
  1. What do you know about the strengths and areas for development and how they are being addressed?
  1. How is the school ‘narrowing the gap’ for any underperforming groups? Who are the vulnerable pupils (Free school meals, children looked after, SEN, EAL etc) and how have they performed relative to their peers?
  1. Broadly speaking, are you familiar with the trends in attainment over the last 3 years? How does this compare with national data?
  1. What does the pupil progress data tell you about the progress of pupils in the school at the end of each Key Stage and across subjects?
  1. What percentage of pupils performed in line with expectations (2 level gains at the end of KS2 or 3 for KS4) and what percentage exceeded expectations? How does this compare with national averages?


Governor visits

The governing body should have a visits protocol and link visits to priorities in the school improvement plan. If governors are linked to specific areas, eg safeguarding, have they visited the school and if so how was this fed back to governors.

  1. How are governor visits organised?



  1. How often do governors visit the school and what are the purposes of the visits?



  1. How is the information gained from the visits fed back to the rest of the governors?







Performance management

The governing body should have a clear picture of the standard of teaching in school and how performance management is used to reward teachers who teach well and that the school is doing something about those who consistently underperform. An important document for governors is the Headteacher’s report on performance management which the governing body should receive at least annually.

  1. How are governors involved in the Headteacher’s Performance Management?


External advice sought?
  1. How does the governing body review the Headteacher’s performance management throughout the year?


  1. How does Performance Management work in the school?


  1. How are TLR points allocated to staff?


  1. How much outstanding/good/RI/ inadequate teaching is there in school and what actions had been taken to bring about improvements?
  1. What impact has performance management had?







Strengths and areas of development of the governing body
Governors need to be clear about how the skills of governors are used to support and challenge the school. Challenge is provided by governors driving agendas for the full governing body and committees meetings, by asking challenging questions and by requesting further information when required. These questions are testing the extent to which governors have reflected on their own effectiveness. Governors may comment on how they support the school, act as critical friends, hold the school to account, and are involved in strategic planning.
  1. What are the strengths and areas for development for the governing body?



  1. Can governors give examples of how they have supported and challenged the school? What has changed because of this?
  1. How are the training needs of governors identified and addressed?


  1. What training have governors undertaken recently and what has been the impact of this training?


  1. How do you utilise your skills to best effect?







Communication with parents and other stakeholders  
  1. How does the school communicate with parents?






Parent view?  
  1. How does the governing body get feedback from parents and the children and how is this fed back to school?



  1. How are parental complaints dealt with?









Statutory Duties Governors must also stay up to date with training guidance and minimum training standards, including refresher training.  
  1. How effectively do governors fulfill the full range of statutory duties?



  1. What are the procedures for safeguarding pupils and how have training needs been met?


  1. How do the governors ensure the school’s finances are properly managed?




  1. Has the governing body has met the Schools Financial Value Standard?






Leadership and Management
  1. Are you familiar with the values and vision of the school? What contribution did the governors make to these?
  1. Are you familiar with the School Improvement Plan and the school’s priorities? How do governors contribute to this?
  • How they are involved in identifying priorities
  • Whether specific individuals monitor parts of the plan to give a ‘hands on’ dimension
  • How frequently the plan is subject to scrutiny


  1. How do governors and SLT work together to drive improvement



  1. Can you give examples of how governors have supported the school?


  1. Can you give examples of how governors have challenged the school?





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A Tale of Two Ofsteds @liplash_mason

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – 

Yes, I am going to horribly abuse Dickens in this post… Sorry!

It has taken a while to collect my thoughts before writing this and, before I go any further, I have to say this is a very personal account of both the positive and crushingly negative effects of Ofsted on teachers. I knew I wanted to start with this quotation, but didn’t realise until I read it again in its entirety, just how apt it is.

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Common areas for improvement

By @MaryMyatt

Ofsted reports are increasingly making reference to closing the gaps in attainment for pupil premium groups. I was asked recently, what a teacher should be doing differently in the classroom for these students?

First of all, why is it important to focus on attainment and progress for students from disadvantaged backgrounds? Well, the figures are stark. Just over one third of students who are eligible for free school meals, achieve five good GCSEs including English and Maths. This compares to nearly two thirds of students who are not on free school meals.

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Ofsted – Enter the Domain of the Dementors…


I can honestly say that I have started several blogs, but time and time again I have wondered whether I am genuinely adding anything new to the debate or anything that people may benefit from, which surely is a key driver behind blogging – apart from clarifying ones own ideas…which would be a painfully narcissistic way of going about things.  So, there are several blogs in false start mode on the gird awaiting a push start…

…however, my most recent and strangely the one I’m most likely to place in the public domain is the one I’m least confident about or at least sure about how it will be received.  Yes – as the title suggests it is about OFSTED…Yes, I can hear you all either running screaming for the hills declaring that, “Frankly my dear I don’t give a daaaaaaaaaaaamn!” or pugilistically squaring up and saying, “What the F*ck…

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A quick check in the mirrors before we signal the end of Ofsted observations.

Distant Ramblings on the Horizon

It may be a bit early to put out the bunting and close the street ready for the party, but there does appear to be a growing, and widely drawn consensus that at the very least Ofsted should no longer grade individual lessons. This view extends across the spectrum of education opinion, from members of the blob, to school leaders, to teachers in the classroom and even some members of the inspectorate. So two quick questions: will it happen, and are there any unintended consequences lurking.

Firstly, will it happen? I would say that politically there is no potential loss here here to any SoS who made such a change. Given the mood music coming out of DfE and Ofsted recently about improving standards etc, a change could easily be folded into a “ its time to concentrate on sustaining this improvement..” narrative. There is a clear opportunity for the…

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What next for Ofsted? Sam Freedman (@samfr)

Sunday, 24 November 2013

What next for Ofsted?

Ofsted isn’t going to be abolished (nor should it be)

A few weeks ago Old Andrew wrote a typically incisive, and popular, post explaining why he felt Ofsted are now beyond redemption and should be abolished.

That isn’t going to happen. Ofsted is absolutely essential to the regulatory model the coalition Government have constructed. Failing academies and free schools can only be shut down on the basis of a poor inspection – there’s no other legal mechanism (unless they mess up their finances or do something illegal). Likewise the Teaching School / National Leader of Education processes rely on Ofsted identifying outstanding schools.

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