09 Aug

Inside Inspection: A Headteachers perspective of a 2014 inspection


The inspection 2014: The importance of thorough preparation

Summarising the differences between the May 2014 inspection and previous inspections, the headteacher reported that from their perspective the biggest difference is the intensity of the inspection. In previous inspections when the inspectors requested information there was time to gather, locate and provide the requested details or data. This is not the case with current inspections. During their May 2014 inspection, the inspector spent most of the time with the headteacher. The headteacher said that there is a much stronger emphasis on data and that the current inspection model allows very little breathing space. The need to be thoroughly prepared, to know your own school data inside and out and to have a very clear understanding and knowledge of both the framework and the inspection handbook is absolutely essential. The input that PBM provided in terms of helping us to analyse review and interpret our data was a huge benefit during the inspection.

The Inspection Overview

The school was inspected over two days by a lead inspector and an additional inspector. The inspection began with a tour of the school which was conducted with the headteacher. Despite the apparent casual atmosphere, this was, in the opinion of the headteacher, definitely part of the inspection. The inspectors then met with staff. The headteachers said that the inspectors were welcoming and professional. “I had already instilled in staff to be polite and friendly at all times but to be aware there is no such thing as a casual conversation”.  (The headteacher)

Day 1

Day 1: The Single Central Record:

The inspectors looked at the Single Central Record. This meeting was conducted with the headteacher and the school business manager. The inspectors requested details of staff at random and wished to see applications, references and certificate checks.

Day 1: Data, Data, Data: RAISEonline, RAISEonline, RAISEonline

The Additional Inspector then went to observe KS1 whilst the Lead Inspector remained with the headteacher. In the headteachers own words it was then “Data, data, data – ROL,ROL, ROL” Recommendation: The headteacher went on to say “It was very important that I knew the handbook. For example, on one occasion it was necessary to contest the inspector’s assertions. The inspector identified a group which we had stated had made expected progress. He asserted that he didn’t call 2 levels expected progress.  I was able to point him to p.32 in the handbook which said “  Expected progress is defined by the government as two National Curriculum levels of progress between Key Stages 1 and 2 (for example, from Level 2a to Level 4, Level 2c to Level 4” (School inspection handbook April 2014 – Page 32) The headteacher said that her familiarity with the inspection handbook grew out of the support and training provided by PBM.  

Day 1: lunchtime:

The Additional Inspector went onto the playground and picked a random group of ten children to interview. These interviews were conducted without staff being present.

Day 1: Lesson Observation:

In the afternoon the headteacher carried out a joint lesson observation with the Lead Inspector. The inspector observed the headteacher feeding back. The year 6 class were observed straight after completing their SATs papers.
Recommendation from the headteacher: “During one of the lesson observations a teacher did not perform to her usual standard. As the headteacher it was important to be confident to request that the inspectors return the following day to observe her again. In the second observation she performed to her usual standard”.

During the afternoon the Additional Inspector (AI) met with the learning mentor and went through the behaviour and attendance records.

The headteacher and deputy headteacher met with both inspectors to observe conversations between the inspectors as they fed back to each other.

Additional internal data was requested and provided.

Day 2

Both inspectors observed lessons during the morning. All teachers were observed twice over the two days.

Work Scrutiny: Before the start of a Year 6 Lesson, the inspector called out the names of children whose books he wished to scrutinise.

Day 2: Interview with School Governors:

The headteacher said “On the second day the inspectors met with and interviewed the school Governors. It was essential that the governors had a clear picture of the school and what was going on within the school. They were asked about key issues. The inspectors went through the governor minutes and we had to find minutes that proved that governors questioned and challenged the senior leadership team”.

Lunchtime: SIP Visit: The inspectors talked to the school improvement partner at lunchtime. “The fact that the SIP was also an inspector was helpful”. (The headteacher)

The deputy met with the AI to go through evidence for SMSC development and the headteacher went on a walk about with the AI to review the same.
During the afternoon the deputy headteacher and headteacher met with the inspectors who gave an indication of the likely outcomes. The inspectors asked for further data throughout the afternoon.

At the end of the second day, the inspection team gave oral feedback to the leadership team and to governors. The information was not allowed to be shared with staff until the report was published.

The school had been facing a category and at the start of the inspection the lead inspector indicated that the likely outcome was a category. The outcome of the inspection was that the school was judged as being ‘Good’ and the headteacher has said that PBM played a crucial role in securing the ‘Good’ judgement. Unpicking and unpacking the data down to the finest detail, objectively pinpointing the barriers that need to be overcome, supporting the school with the SEF and providing training in work scrutiny were elements of support from PBM that the school found valuable.

Please be aware that this is a personal perspective on a recent inspection. It is not intended as a guide but it is hoped that the information will be informative and useful.

PLEASE NOTE: This article is intended as a useful insight into the inspection process. It is a personal perspective. It is hoped that this will provide a personal insight that is helpful to any headteacher who is anticipating inspection. The inspection was conducted in a professional manner. This article should not in any way be interpreted as containing criticism of the inspection team; any implied criticism is unintentional.