Thursday 14 March 2013

Winning OfSTED

So, this week we had a little visit from the inspection fairies. It's funny: we were sort of expecting them last week (just because it was exactly a year since our preliminary inspection), and when they didn't come, we sort of decided they weren't going to come until after Easter. I took my eye off the ball a bit. When the phone call came, it definitely caught me off guard.

Strangely enough, I felt like staff morale actually went up. I think we were all more excited than anything else.   The maths department was definitely brought closer. We had all spent some time over the past few months jointly planning series of lessons, and so it had this sense of it being a team effort.

When the results of our individual lesson observations came back, our spirits got higher and higher. We just kept knocking them out of the park! Historically, our department hasn't really done that well in formal lesson observations, but we were killing it this week!

I was observed last out of all the maths teachers, which wasn't very nice, especially as most had been done the previous day! I will blog about my lesson separately, later. But the headline is this: my lesson was Outstanding!

I think on the whole, the staff knew the final result before it was given. But it still felt so good to hear our principal say those words.

Here are my tips for winning OfSTED:

-Carbohydrates. Bring in some muffins for your colleagues. Chances are, people will have been too nervous to eat breakfast, so they will need something to keep them going. And the great thing about muffins is that they're dual-purpose: comfort food for if you do badly, celebratory food for if you do well.

-Club together. Show each other your lesson plans, and offer some tweaks. I think one of the things that made my lesson so good (well, outstanding) was one of the tiny tweaks that my head of department made less than an hour before my lesson.

-Share your excitement, nerves, and success with your students: I sort of briefed my students before their lesson. I went into their previous lesson and said (slightly manically, I'll admit), "ARE YOU EXCITED!?" which I think got them in the right kind of mood. As soon as I found out my result, the first thing I wanted to do was find my students and tell them.

-Come and work in my department. I have such amazing colleagues. They really made this horrific experience not just bearable, but enjoyable. There are just some people who really know how to lift the mood of a group. And luckily for me, my department is full of them!

This whole year, and this term in particular, have been pretty stressful. The pressure was on us for such a long period, that it was really starting to wear some of us down. But it feels like none of that matters now because it all paid off and we (hopefully) won't be having another "O Day" for six years! Now that's a good feeling!

Happy Pi day everyone!

Emma x x x


  1. What was the tweak your head of department made - having just read your outstanding lessons post, along with several other post, shortly before 1am on a school night


  2. Ha! He suggested giving them mini whiteboards to do their working out on. A genius idea, as the kids loved using them, and it really did help them not be limited by their fear of getting it wrong first time.

  3. I'm excited for your post as well as for billys adventures. Keep writing your amazing stories.