Jackie Beere’s book The Perfect Ofsted Lesson has been one of the best selling education books of 2011. Currently being updated to incorporate the new Ofsted Framework, here her her her thoughts (so far) on using the inspection process to embed great teaching and learning in to all lessons

Ofsted 2012 – What It Means For the Perfect Lesson 

More observations for more teachers during an inspection means that everyday practice must really deliver progress and develop students with great learning habits. 

The progress that ALL pupils make in each and every classroom will help school demonstrate ‘continuous improvement’ – no matter what the starting point.

Therefore it is even more important to focus your CPD on learning. So, looking at the proposals, I see five areas to reflect on in particular:

1.     Closing the gap for the most vulnerable pupils

2.     Using assessment to ensure effective learning (still the key lever for improvement in most schools)

3.     Demanding behaviour for learning

4.     Improving literacy (and numeracy) in all subjects and phases

5.     Ensure your teaching assistants are making the maximum impact on progress for the students they are working with

The focus on classroom practice has made amazing progress in the last few years.  Many teachers are using their collective creative genius to be really innovative with active starters, progress plenaries and engaging activities that hand back the responsibility to the kids and develop them as learners.  But how can you ensure that great practice is consistent and embedded across the school and ensure that you can demonstrate your best bits when the inspector calls?

With that in mind here are my five top tips for Ofsted-friendly practice:

  1. Literacy training for all staff and a whole school policy that makes all teachers role models for reading, writing and speaking.  We must show accuracy and style at all times.  This will be a scary idea for many – and that is why it’s needed.  We may not all be good at it but we can all strive to be better!!
  2. Even more literacy training for teaching assistants so that they have a real tool box of strategies to help students who need it most make progress with the key communication skill which impacts on ALL results and future prospects.
  3. Also train TAs extensively in learning to learn strategies so that the students they work with have access to a range of excellent metacognitive levers (thinking about ways of learning) that will help them get ‘unstuck’. 
  4. Assessment AS learning further embedded as regular practice.  AND train the students to be great self-coaches and peer-coaches.  They need to understand how to help each other make progress and how important it is to support each others learning.  (By the way – THIS is behaviour for learning!)
  5. Encourage lesson observation that is an integral part of a coaching model – especially for those that need extra help.  Active lesson observation where the teacher feeds back within the lesson while the kids get on with their active learning is a powerful development tool (thanks Jim Smith and Zoe Elder for this one!)

So far, it’s hard to disagree with the proposals for 2012 – I think they will make us better teachers and ensure ‘outstanding learning’ is part of what we do every day.  That’s what we all want.

(Read more in The Perfect Ofsted Lesson by Jackie Beere and edited by Ian Gilbert as part of the Independent Thinking Series)