Ofsted don’t always want to see perfection – sometimes they are happy to see you striving to achieve it.
Time to take a look in the mirror
That may sound a bit silly, of course Ofsted want you to be outstanding on the day, right? Wrong. They actually want to know that you are capable of being outstanding everyday, not just for the few hours they are there. In fact it doesn’t really matter how good you are on the day if it is obvious that you have no idea what is going on the rest of the time.
Bad really can be Good
…or maybe that should be ‘knowing you’re bad can be good – or even outstanding!’ We recently worked with a nursery to implement an online observation process, but they received an Ofsted visit a mere two months into the process. With so little data on the system it would have been easy for Ofsted to be unimpressed. Instead, with a clear vision for the future of the system and the development put in place for the staff, the managers explained the situation to Ofsted and were rewarded with an Outstanding grading (well done them!).
The moral of the story – know your weaknesses and how you plan to correct them!
Ofsted and your Self Evaluation Form (SEF)
The main way to convey the knowledge of your own ability is through your Self Evaluation Form or SEF. This has to be completed and sent to Ofsted (or completed online) – you can find all the details here. Recommendation is to update it at least once a year (but you can alter it as often as you like) so maybe now is a good time to look at yourself and make a change or two.
Don’t make it all doom and gloom though! I have heard of schools being graded in line with their Self Evaluation even though the inspectors had pegged them as better. The justification was that grading someone as outstanding (when they only thought they were good) is impossible as they don’t know what they are trying to achieve – I’m not convinced I agree with that, but knowing how good you actually are is clearly quite important!
Your SEF is therefore a hugely important part of the Ofsted process – knowing where you are bad can actually make you good! So get it sorted now. And if you need support with writing your SEF then we might just have something you could be interested in, our subscribers should keep their eyes on their inboxes…
About the author: Matt Stanford