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Help Needed After Ofsted


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We have just had out ofsted and it has been a horrible experience - I am the literacy coordinator and early years too but am never given any time to do any eartly years stuff - I am the reception teacher. I was not prepared for the fact that foundation stage is reported on seperately and had been told to prepare for an interview with an inspector about Litercay instead I was grilled about early years and left feeling totally unprepared and as if everything I had done was wrong and inadequate - my lesson obs went ok but our use of outdoors was heavily criticised which I was expecting as we are in the process of developing it but I feel like I am banging my head on a brick wall!!!!!

As a result I noew feel as if everyhthing I have bben doing is wrong please can some of you amazing sounding teachers out there please tellme how you organise your day in terms of free flow CI time and then teacher input time and then phonics, writing , guided reading etc etc I just feel like I am drowning in a sea of total panic which is such a horrible feeling .

I used to do phonics first thing but this feels wrong now in addititon we have to go to assembly with the rest of the school and go out to play with them please can someone help me otherwise I think the teaching profession will be one less soon!!!! Thanks magic castle xxx

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First sending some sympathy and virtual wine and chocolate! its horrible when you are left feeling like that. Are you able to go and visit some other local settings, it is sometimes easier to see things in place than try to transfer them from paper to practice? Do you have the support of your team and head to move on together?

If the head is willing to let you make changes necessary I would start off by asking not to go to assembly and out to play, at least you then have a blank canvas morning to work with, no interuptions and time to fit in a good chunk of CIP. We do a very short act of collective worship with our two reception classes at the end of each day which our head said was ok. Can you tell us a bit more about your setting eg number of classes, staff, nursery or not etc? There are certainly lots of people who will try to help you out I'm sure.

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Guest cathy m

Sorry to hear of your experience, please don't take it personally. I can't really offer you any suggestions as I am not a teacher and unsure of how Ofsted inspections are undertaken in schools (I'm a childminder).

 

I'm sure someone will be along shortly, Marion is a very experienced teacher and may be someone who works in a foundation unit can help.

 

just wanted to give you a virtual hug!

 

Cathy

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First sending some sympathy and virtual wine and chocolate! its horrible when you are left feeling like that. Are you able to go and visit some other local settings, it is sometimes easier to see things in place than try to transfer them from paper to practice? Do you have the support of your team and head to move on together?

If the head is willing to let you make changes necessary I would start off by asking not to go to assembly and out to play, at least you then have a blank canvas morning to work with, no interuptions and time to fit in a good chunk of CIP. We do a very short act of collective worship with our two reception classes at the end of each day which our head said was ok. Can you tell us a bit more about your setting eg number of classes, staff, nursery or not etc? There are certainly lots of people who will try to help you out I'm sure.

Yes we are a small primary school and there is only one reception class 27 pupils me and 1 TA i did have 2 but one was taken away because another class needed help!!! I have alovel ybig room and can get outside but this has been limited as we have no covered area, it neede fencing putting around it - now done and we had a rat infestation for most of last term!!! Now you see the problem - I know all the theory and have avision of how I want it to look but !!!!!

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dear Magiccastle

Im so sorry you had such an awful experience with Ofsted but first of all take a deep breath and dont panic.Im sure there are lots of things you are doing really well and you need to remember this. I am a nrsery teacher so you probably need someone else to give you input on reception but I just wanted to give you some support.There are other threads here on organisation in a reception class and Im sure someone will be along soon to help.

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Guest tinkerbell

Hi magic castle I am sorry that your Ofsted inspection was so horrible and I feel cross that the management or HT had not talked to you about what to expect.HT have to filll in a SEF (self evaluation form) which they submit to Ofsted before they even come in so Ofsted decide what they will look at in their inspection Ofsted do look at Reception as a seperate item in their report so you should have been prepared.

I too work in a small school,ass/head early years/ks1 co-ordinator science,art,dt,etc

I teach a mixed r/yr1 class and have to attend assembly 9am and my children do playtimes with the rest of the school..because we a re small I have duties to do so I can see why we all do...but there are times when I wish we didn't.....in light of the new EYFS document i am persuading my HT to move assembly from firstthing after registration so my class can come into school in a more relaxed ,calm,manner and get on with activities insted of sitting down for registration and whipping off to assembly (all in 10 mins)...I have done EYFS training and trained the staff ,I am going to tell the governors at the next governors meeting. Have you been on the training yet?

My day too follows lit until playtime then maths until lunch the the afternoon is foundation/topic.

 

It is not as rigid as this sounds and is very flexible,you have to go with the children.Try and relax now and ask to visit other reception classes in your area (in PPA time) perhaps your early years team could pop in and advise?

 

Good luck Tinkerbellx

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Can't offer any advise I am preschool, but am sorry to hear about bad Ofsted experience. I am also a Governor at my sons school and I am wondering why, if you are head of Early Years, why you didn't have input into the SEF?

 

Just wanted to offer my support to you.

 

Shiny

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The cloud may have a silver lining. If it is made an action point in the ofsted report then all and sundry HAVE to help make it better, from governors down to you. It is appalling that the HT did not give you a practice interview or the like, as Ofsted will always look at FS in some detail. The HT/SIP should have made that clear. However that's all water under the bridge now so don't let it get you down. Ofsted won't be back for a long time (unless you went into a category but you haven't said, so I'll assume not) soyou have oodles of opportunity to change things a little at a time.

 

Do you have an attached nursery class/provider? Is there someone who feeds into your school that you can lik with for general support and a two heads are better than one approach?

 

What is the most important thing for you to effect change in? Prioritise and do those first.

 

What do your FSP outcomes look like - this can be a useful lever to get SMT thinking about WHY improvements will be important.

 

Once you've had that glass of wine and stepped back from it, it will all look a bit more in perspective.

Cx

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Hi magic castle, I'm not a teacher s cant help with your day, just wanted to sympathise. Ofsted can 'do your head in' if you're not careful. Try not to take any of it personnaly, you arent alone in deciding how things are run. Change the things you can change and plan what you'd like to do for the rest.

:o

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Hi magiccastle, I can certainly relate, having bee through an extremely difficult OFSTED last year, which did result in us being put into category.

 

Learn from the experience in terms of the future for yourself, you should have been involved in the SEF and been supported by your HT and in fact they have to take on responsibility for that.

For your own development, apart from outdoors, which did not come as a surprise to you, what else have they said you need to be developing, and was any of that a shock to you? As Catma said, if you're not expecting them back any time soon, then you can work on priorities first, then work your way down whatever recommendations were made. (in our case they were only interested in how many 6+ we got on the FSP, that was it).

Why does doing phonics first thing concern you, if that works well, why change it?

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I think it is natural to feel confused/lost after an inspection (good or bad) so give yourself the weekend off and try not to think about it.

 

Then you can start to plan where to go next. As Catma says it can have advantages in that the head will have to take your concerns seriously and provide support and resources. Have they indicated when they will return?

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I too had Ofsted last week. A truly horrible experience. We are a large inner city school with 80% EAL and our families are very mobile, we have a constant turnover of children who are leaving/entering the country. This has a real implication on SAT results / school achievements. We have a fantastic, hard-working, caring staff. We all worked in school the whole of last weekend to prepare for our inspection on Tuesday/Wednesday. However, we as a school have now been put on special measures (although FS - Reception and Nursery were graded as satisfactory). The whole staff now feels so low. We are part of a small LEA, and have very little support from advisors. I have had no LEA support in FS in the 6 years that I have worked there and get only 10 minutes equality service support a week (during KS1 break time!). We have had no training on EYFS and are left to research it ourselves.

 

I am totally committed to my role as Nursery teacher,and know that I do a good job for my children, in very difficult circumstances. My children come from socially deprived backgrounds and I have 14 different home languages within one class. Despite this, my 2 Nursery classes are well settled and happy and we have fantastic relationships with parents. It has been hard work achieving this, and I am proud of what we have. However, none of this seems to be recognised. It all seems to stem on academic results. Our focus has to be on PSHE and language. When the majority of the class have no English at all, it is really difficult to have carpet times/circle times/story times and even simply talking and interacting with their play is difficult. Just encouraging my children to sit on the carpet or line up can take such a long time when they have no understanding. But they are learning all the time through careful modelling and different uses of language and symbols.

 

My own children attend a primary school 2 miles down the road, and have none of the social problems that my school has. They achieve great results, but do not appreciate the problems that schools that ours are up against.

 

I feel so low at the moment as I really can't put any more into the job than I am already doing.

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Take a deep breath Jackie another team of inspectors would probably have a different opinion which is why inspections are so frustrating.

One thing testing OFSTED and league tables doesn't seem to understand is that children are all different and can't be judged in the same way as an object.

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Magic castle & Jackie A - big virtual hugs to both of you!!

I'm a childminder and had a very positive Ofsted in November but now feel overwhelmed by EYFS!

No training as such to date and a trainer who has no experience of childminding, has never used one and hasn't spent any time with one before delivering training.

I did observations during NVQ3 and use daily diary to feedback to parents but am in the dark whether this will be enough!?

At a Network meeting last week we were told that all settings would be inspected by end of March, as Ofsted inspectors would be in training April to August ready to start inspections under EYFS in September. If they don't know yet what they're looking for how do we decide what to record?

Just wanted you to know you're not alone!

Confused Nona

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magiccastle-- I am sorry that you have had such an experience, it really does seem to depend on who the inspector is. Hopefully, you will have time to reflect and readjust what you are doing and begin to realise that you can only do your best, which I am sure you do.

 

Jackie, sorry to hear that you too have had such a bad experience. Ofsted really can be quite unfair. At least your hard work was in some way recognised.

Ive just been looking at jobs in Reading but perhaps I will give them a miss!!

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Oooh, Jackie, what a horrible experience - you have a lot of support here and are obviously doing a great job for the children you work with. Your nursery sounds very very similar to ours and you are SO right to be concentrating on PSE and CLL, they really are the two most important areas for all children - I listened to Pascal and Bertram talk about this very subject last week and they completely endorsed what you are saying. The new assessment scale for Early Years that they are pilotting now only assesses in those two areas BECAUSE they are the most important.

 

Keep strong and keep believing that you are doing a good job - because you are! I do hope you receive more support now in your local area- but we're all here for you anyway! :o

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Jackie, I know how you feel. I was devastated at being put into category last year and it shows over and over again that the whole OFSTED process is so subjective. My intake was much like yours and I firmly stand by the decisions we made to prioritise PSED and speaking and listening, for which we were much criticised. Everyone was and still is on their knees. I got out, I had to, my health was suffering too much by staying. Most of my ex colleagues say they wished they had too, and most are now looking for jobs.

I've been in 3 schools in category and its the hardest place to be, ever, getting out of category twice were the most difficult years of my teaching life to date.

But, you must take care of yourself too, and you must all support each other if you are going to make it. Once you get over the shock, you will see what you need to do and I hope your SMT are strong enough to realise how much support the staff need to keep going.

Big hugs for you all...

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We've been there too! Went into Special Measures in 2000, our school is exactly like yours Jackie, 80% EAL and very deprived. The team we had were appalling and only took into account KS2 results which were obviously low. We came out of Special Measures in 2002 with the same Head and all but 2 weak members of staff stayed. In 2005 Ofsted judged us as a'good' school even though we graded ourselved in our SEF as satisfactory! This team was completely different and looked at the job that we do and the 'value added' measure. They looked at the results of the few children that remain with us from Nursery to Y6 and were impressed with the job we do.

I am not saying that we hadn't improved in the time between these 2 inspections as we had (the biggest difference being that our SMT now has a leading role in our school), but what goes on in the classrooms is still as good as it was then and I'm sure that had the 2nd team carried out the 1st inspection the outcome would have been different.

In our school the Management had to pull its socks up! It was tough, but we are a better school now for the experience and it seems lightyears away now!

Don't be too tough on yourselves! You will get through this.

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We have just had out ofsted and it has been a horrible experience - I am the literacy coordinator and early years too but am never given any time to do any eartly years stuff - I am the reception teacher. I was not prepared for the fact that foundation stage is reported on seperately and had been told to prepare for an interview with an inspector about Litercay instead I was grilled about early years and left feeling totally unprepared and as if everything I had done was wrong and inadequate - my lesson obs went ok but our use of outdoors was heavily criticised which I was expecting as we are in the process of developing it but I feel like I am banging my head on a brick wall!!!!!

As a result I noew feel as if everyhthing I have bben doing is wrong please can some of you amazing sounding teachers out there please tellme how you organise your day in terms of free flow CI time and then teacher input time and then phonics, writing , guided reading etc etc I just feel like I am drowning in a sea of total panic which is such a horrible feeling .

I used to do phonics first thing but this feels wrong now in addititon we have to go to assembly with the rest of the school and go out to play with them please can someone help me otherwise I think the teaching profession will be one less soon!!!! Thanks magic castle xxx

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So sorry to hear of your recent Ofsted. Like you I am Foundation Stage and Literacy, am expecting Ofsted this year so m trying to prepare for both areas. Quite a task and hopefully one that will change soon but not till after Ofsted. I would be interested to hear about other recent inspections as I am unsure of how they will be inspecting Foundation. I am expecting them to be looking for moves towards the new guidance even though not statutory till September. Also I am not sure how they will regard bias of AI and CI activities. Then there's the targets, profile,assessment and evidence! apart from children's fun and enjoyment. I am trying to keep calm but feel I am getting more apprehensive all the time, it's hard to keep positive as obviously don't want to let others down when I know we are doing a good job. :o

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In our case (ofsted last week), one of the inspectors spent half an hour in our Nursery classroom over the two day visit. She didn't look at our planning (it was on the wall and in our planning folder left out for her). Nor did she want to look at children's profiles or learning diaries.

She spoke briefly to me about how we assessed the children's needs on entry. She spent the rest of the time trying to speak to the children about what they were doing, but as most of mine are beginners in English, none of them were able to answer her!!

 

She also had a meeting with our FS co-ordinator, and mostly wanted to know about baseline statistics and what areas we felt children had weaknesses in on arrival.

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Our last two OFSTED inspections were similar Jackie they were only interested in statistics and although my children have English as their first language they have a mistrust of men in suits who ask questions. So when the inspection asked "What are you doing?" he got the reply "Nowt ....Honest!"

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If only the government would realise how demoralising this type of inspection is. I have a very good friend in a primary who has had a very similar situation and is really shell shocked.

 

I do agree your HT has to take a lot of the blame for this but this doesn't help you.

 

I use the High/Scope approach. We don't go to assembly and we don't have playtime and the morning and afternoon mirror each other and the day runs really well. This is how the day looks

 

Meeting and greeting on arrival with self registration and children going to key person groups. Parents come into class and settle children and we can have an informal chat if need be.

Planning time

Work time

Clean-up time

Recall time

Snack time

Large group time

Small group time

Outside time

Luchtime

Staff team planning.

 

The afternoon fits into this as well and at the end of the day the parents come into the setting and collect their children. Children show them the work they have done during the day and again there is a chance for an informal chat.

 

Then it is a cup of tea, choccy biscuit and staff planning before setting up for the next day!

 

Keep your pecker up!!

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