Ofsted’s pointless tasks

How many of you are still working on these tasks that Ofsted don’t actually require?

Is this a case of massive misconception by school heads, desperately trying to cover themselves?

I won’t be the first teacher who has worked somewhere with an official policy of ‘sensible marking’ that’s followed up by spot check detailed book scrutiny where every unmarked piece of work is counted and challenged page by page. Or where the weekly assessed writes have to be scanned and uploaded as evidence to a tracking programme. Or where you are non-negotiably required at meetings 3.30 – 5.30, four days a week, leaving you marking 99 books after 8pm… What if you’re still asked to create fully colour-coded lesson plans with every child named in a group, detailing all TA questions for differentiation and AfL, for all 8 lessons per day for 5 days a week, in triplicate and lodge them in the head’s pigeonhole by 8am on Monday?

It takes a ballsy head to break this approach to school leadership.

The truth about what Ofsted want to see

Sean Harford, Ofsted National Director of Education sets the record straight:

1. “Ofsted inspectors do not want to see a particular quantity or frequency of work in pupils’ books.
2. Inspectors will consider how feedback is used to promote learning but don’t need to see written records of where oral feedback has been given.
3. Teachers don’t need to give individual lesson plans to inspectors.
4. Ofsted don’t specify how planning should be set out.
5. Inspectors don’t require schools to predict pupil attainment or progress scores
6. They do not require extensive pupil tracking – instead schools should use information that supports learning and informs parents. Nothing else.
7. No inspectors should be asking for these things and no one should be telling you that this is what inspectors will be looking for.”

The good news is that if you find yourself questioning whether your school’s culture is really putting the children first, you have choices.

“I want you to know that you do have the backing to stop doing the things that aren’t helping children to do better. What matters is the person standing at the front of the class. That person is the key to education. We will work together to let that person concentrate on what they do best.” Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education.

Their DfE video is here.

At eTeach, we are constantly working to encourage schools and Heads to question whether they are really offering a life that teachers want. This messaging, after all, is how schools recruit and retain teachers.
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Author: Katie Newell

Katie Newell

Katie Newell BA(Hons) PGCE is an ex-primary school teacher, Head of Maths, Head of Year five and languages specialist. Katie qualified in Psychology at Liverpool then specialised in Primary Languages for her PGCE at Reading. Before teaching, Katie was a financial commentator and is now the Content Manager for Eteach.com and Fejobs.com. Katie feels passionately that teachers are the unsung heroes of society; that opening minds to creative timetabling could revolutionise keeping women in teaching, and that a total change to pupil feedback is the key to solving the work life balance issue for the best job in the world.



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One thought on “Ofsted’s pointless tasks

  1. That is all very well, however, the main focus of Ofsted is results. And to get results Heads and HoDs will happily let their staff work all hours to get results to keep Ofsted off their backs!

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