How to enjoy preparing for Ofsted

I’m aware of how that sounds, but do please hear me out.

When I was a full timer with the ALI, and then as an HMI with Ofsted, and even when I’d left the big O and was contracted by LSIS, I use to run the ‘Preparing for Inspection’ nominee training events. Week in, week out for nearly a decade. So you might be surprised to know that I’ve never offered any inspection-preparation training as part of my own work, until now.

My rationale has always been that if you want Ofsted’s validation then just work out how best to provide unmissable learning experiences for your type of learners. After all, learners are your audience; Ofsted are just voyeurs.

There’s another reason, too. I didn’t want my Ofsted training to be based on a long series of densely-packed slides quoting chunks of the inspection framework. I’ve always found it a bit ironic that that’s how so much inspection training is done.

Earlier this year, however, one of the lovely providers I support twisted my arm to provide some ‘Ofsted Ready’ training, which is now being made available as an open session for the first time this Friday, December 3rd.

We could, of course, just ask each member of your team to read the Inspection Handbook, but at nearly 60 pages, this may not produce the ideal impact we’re after: to enjoy preparing for inspection. So I chose a very different approach. Here are a few bits of feedback to give an idea:

  • “It has caused me to change my whole approach to an Ofsted inspection.”
  • “Like opening a book.”
  • “Like a fog clearing.”
  • “The session has caused me to reflect on, and change the way I would view an inspection.”

You can read more details about the session here:, but briefly, it’s based on Connectivism – using a learning network to ‘give a little and take a lot’. Through a series of practical tasks, delegates create a long-list of potential research topics, the stimulus for which is a set of recent inspection findings. Through the given research approach, delegates will not only demonstrate their Capacity to Improve, but they will also show Intent, the impact of this intent on Curriculum Design, and how they will be able to measure the effectiveness of their improvement strategy.

These small, individual research projects then naturally combine to show a wholehearted, organisation-wide approach to quality improvement that our voyeurs will love to write about.

Do join us if you can this Friday, December 3rd, or forward to or tag colleagues who might find this session useful. More details and booking information are available here:

Best wishes


PS        I do quote one paragraph from the inspection framework – the best one: paragraph 226 from the recent update.


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