Being Ofsted Ready

The other day, I was speaking at a college’s new years’ conference, for which the principal provided a great introduction. But towards the end of the presentation, the principal attempted to “rally the troops” for what they feel is an imminent visit from Ofsted. You could tell staff had been ‘rallied’ many times before… too many times, perhaps.

When I was a full-time inspector, first with the wonderful ALI, then with Ofsted, one of my substantive roles was to run all of the Preparing For Inspection events, up and down the country. I ran them for years, week in week out. Our aim was to ensure that no provider was tripped up by the process of inspection, and to be absolutely clear with nominees that nothing should be done in the classroom FOR the inspectorate. Inspectors just want to see how you provide unmissable learning experiences for learners. That’s it.

When I left Ofsted to set up the Centre for Creative Quality Improvement, I decided I wouldn’t do any overt inspection-preparation work as, ultimately, it demotivates staff; particularly if it’s made to be an ever-present focus. It makes staff feel like they’re doing things for someone else, it raises anxiety, and it stops them taking risks.

However, last September, a provider I work with a great deal twisted my arm to design a session that proactively reduces staff’s anxiety towards inspection by making them feel confident that what they were doing would satisfy the big Oh. This is the session I’ll be running on Friday afternoon, January 20th. You can find more details and how to join here:

Do please join us if you can and tag any of your colleagues who might be interested, and/or share with your own networks if you’re able.

Here are a few comments that might give a sense of the impact this session could have:

  • ‘Confidence is being authentic in an approach to quality. Not obsessing on unstable factors.’ Bath College
  • ‘It has caused me to change my whole approach to an OFSTED inspection.’ JTL Training
  • ‘Really interesting and motivational!’ Morley College
  • ‘Committing to research themes and researching these areas so we can come together as a team and make a difference.’ TPM

If you can come Zooming with me, do please be prepared for some carefully choreographed collaborative activities. I promise it’s not one of those sessions in which you’ll be subjected to an overdose of bullets from the EIF. In fact, there’s only one EIF quote, and it’s the best and most revealing paragraph in the framework.

Hope you can join us. Thanks for reading.

Best wishes


PS        Never forget that the EIF is an ephemeral document. You may ask why they don’t just get it right..


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