How to ready your team for Ofsted or Estyn?

How do you ready your team for inspection? Do you ask them to read and digest the inspection framework? Or regularly run mini in-house inspections? Or, worse still, book a group of people like me to come in and give you an inspector’s-eye view? Or just let them get on with their jobs and not worry about the accountability policy?

I’d like to think there was a right answer to this question, and that it can be found by first asking: ‘How do you want you and your colleagues to feel when they meet the inspection team?’

A few weeks ago, I ran a session on Perfecting Progress Reviews for a consortium of Welsh work-based learning providers. At the end of the session, I gave delegates access to a wiki I’d prepared containing 13 of Estyn’s evaluative statements from its new inspection framework. All delegates had to do was consider the impact the proposed new approach to progress reviews would have on learners, then pop an asterisk next to each statement this ‘evidence’ would cover. As I’d hoped, all of the statements were covered many times with asterisks.

Delegates didn’t immediately see the punchline of the exercise – do you?

Next Thursday afternoon, April 28th, we’ll be looking at how to prepare effectively for an inspection visit. There won’t be reams of slides filled with extracts from the EIF, as preparing for inspection isn’t a memory test. It won’t be about how to run mini inspections, as too often these just build anxiety and frustration and make people want to leave our wonderful profession. And there’ll certainly be no advice suggesting you need any external inspection-style support.

What we will be doing is taking a research-based approach to improvement on themes that are of value to you. The themes may be strengths you ideally want to achieve, or issues you wish to overcome. The strategy for carrying out these mini research projects will take in the inspection framework and inspection hot topics, but really only to help with your prioritising and the wording of your vision for the ideal outcome. The research methodology, however, will ensure that when recounting your work to an inspector, you’ll be speaking their language. And it will mean inspectors will not be allowed to write their typical cut-n-paste quote: ‘It’s too early to judge the impact of this new initiative’.

Why not come along and see how you could set up a series of mini research projects for your team, so that everyone can not only speak confidently and enthusiastically to an inspector, but that you’re judged outstanding for capacity to improve, and that staff actually look forward to their opportunity to meet an inspector and positively influence the outcome of your inspection.

That punchline I mentioned above, by the way, is that by conducting quality improvement projects in a particular way, by default, you become inspection-ready – without staff having to read or worry about the inspection framework.

Do join us if you can when we’ll really get under the skin of this subject. And do please tag any of your colleagues who might be interested, and/or share with your own networks if you’re able. As usual, booking details can be found here:

Here’s some of the comments written about this session by former delegates:

  • ‘It has caused me to change my whole approach to an OFSTED inspection, thank you.’ JTL Training
  • ‘Confidence is being authentic in an approach to quality. Not obsessing on unstable factors.’ Bath College
  • ‘Such a rewarding session, not what I expected at all but have some key takeaways to really reflect on and action.’ East Kent College
  • ‘Really interesting and motivational!’ Morley College

Hope you can join us. Thanks for reading.

Best wishes


#FE #inspection #Ofsted #Estyn #c4cqi #JoyFE #UKFEchat #TonyDavis



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