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xD Help! We have an Ofsted inspection beginning 24th May. I have only been teaching in Reception since September, (taught y3/4 before that) and I'm really nervous about it. I only have 15 children, but I don't have any classroom assistants, or nursery nurses - it's just little old me. I have a Nana who comes in Wednesdays and Fridays every week, but she's off on holiday the week of the Inspection- Sod's Law, I guess.

Normally, I do a sort of Literacy hour session, first thing, then a sort of Numeracy hour later in the morning, then practical stuff the rest of the day, with the children choosing activities when they're not working directly with me, or in small groups independently, with me trying to oversee them as well as my focus group. From the sound of things, this may not be what Ofsted Inspectors want to see in Reception. AmI right? Should they be doing more free choice, or less? What should my timetable look like? I have had several sessions with a FS Advisor, but I am still no wiser - she can waffle for England!! :o Any advice will be welcomed. Thanks. Mary

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Hi Mary

Welcome to the site and thanks for posting. Can't help with your questions I'm afraid but can sympathise with your OFSTED looming!! I'm sure others will be able to help you soon.


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Hallo Mary -

Just wanted to say hello, welcome and thanks for your first post! :)


I'm sure you'll get some good responses but, like Linda, reception isn't my speciality - so I'll leave the support to those who can best give it!


Best wishes,



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Hi mary, Ill echo the welcome given by Linda ad Steve. :D


First of all dont panic. yes I know its easy to say especially if this is your first OFSTED, but they are human these days and they do realise that people get nervous .

Do you have a line manager that you can discuss your concerns with? They should be able to put you mind at ease.


Personally, I wouldnt go changing everything so close to an inspection and also at this end of the year. It could unsetle both yourself and the children, and it may become obvious that you have only made changes to keep OFSTED happy. I dont think that's a good idea.


You are working in an unusaual suituation, being on your own, and OFSTED will take that on board-if there are any criticisms of that it will a school managment issue and you may get some support next year!!!


many schools are doing literacy and numeracy style hours at this time of year in reception and many OFSTED inspectors may be expecting to see that, at least in some part. We dont do it ourselves, but there wil be members here who do and can advise you better on that.


The whole experience and any feedback you get may give you the opportunity to reflect on how you do thngs with a view to making chnages next year if you are still in that class next year. For example making more child initiated time, and less formal literacy and numeracy, but that is soemthing that you can put in place for the start of a new year. You can even tell the inspector that if there are any questions raised about it.


Make sure your profiles are up to date and you have some evidence to hand, Im sure they will ask about that.


Im sure other memebers will come along and give you some other ideas too.



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Hi Mary, and welcome to the site :)

I'd echo what Mundia has said; don't change anything now!

What is the relationship between the FS in your school, and Key Stage 1? If there is pressure to put the children under much formal learning, that will have an effect on how much you feel you have to do. On the other hand, if the KS1 teachers are supportive of the learning through play philosophy of FS, then perhaps you can offer more play-based learning. This is something you could discuss with your inspector. I've found that inspectors have very different opinions on how the FS should be offered, so it's often an interesting thing to do to turn the tables and ask them what they believe in!!

Good luck with it, and let us know how you get on. :)

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Hi Mary :D


That's another great big hello! I would also echo everything that's just been said. We had our combined in January; when the notification came through we were about to initiate some changes we felt necessary. After some discussion, we decided that to go ahead with our plans would run the risk of unsettled, unhappy children, so we left things alone, but continued to draw up our plans, which we then discussed with the Inspector at our Inspection. As Helen says,it's interesting to do this, and a very positive discussion resulted. :o It certainly shows you are continually reviewing your practice. xD


We came out of the Inspection very well, so I don't think it's a risky thing to do!


Good luck,

Sue :D

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Hi Mary & welcome.

I appreciate that this is a scary time.

I would echo Mundia's advise but don't change anything that you do that would cause you and/or the children to be unsettled.The Inspectors will be looking at the quality of your teaching so make it good by keeping to routines etc that you know work and activities that you know you can cope with.


I suspect they will want to see you teach your focused activities and as it is summer term be looking at how you are preparing for transition to year 1, so some numeracy & literacy sessions. SOme formality will be ok.

You are obviously limited by the constraints of your situation, preumably you are not SMT so are not resposible. Just be certain that you know what you are doing and why and if the opportunity arises you could discuss what you would prefer and why.


Reading the OFSTED experiences of the preschool sector here I suspect their inspections are somewhat different to ours in school. Certainly at our last inspection in 2001 the message was very clearly we are not here to advise or offer advice but want to see what you do.

Anyone with any more recent experiences please help!


You can access the inspection guidelines from the OFSTED site(I think) so that you can see the inspectors brief. Your head should have this too really and may let you look? I personally found the download rather tricky to follow.


Good luck and keep posting! :o

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:o Hi Mary

I am a reception teacher, had my inspection in November. All I can say is try not to worry and don't change your routine. Make sure the children are happy. They seemed to be very intersted in how the children interacted with each other and my relationship with the children. They did look for lots of play - role-play and outside play . But if you haven't got the support or facilities; you can't do.

I did nice music lesson that was whole class with 15 children that would be a nice number; if you have a selection of instruments they coulld play.

Good luck and don't forget its never as bad as you think!



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Hi Mary,

Had our Ofsted inspection in January. Don't change anything if you are not sure which way to go.Theywere actually quite human ! They looked for a balance of focused and independent activities. We made sure that we told them anything we wanted them to know - even if they didint want to hear it ! Hope all goes well. :o

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Hi Kinny and Liz -

Just wanted to take the opportunity of welcoming you to the forum. It's great to see you joining and immediately offering advice and support to others! :)


Good advice from experience! Overwhelmingly the reports in this forum of Ofsted inspections is that the inspectors are very human, and that the experience is never as bad as the anticipation. Long may that continue...

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