Ofsted inspections are always too big a deal for the average teacher. The chance of being observed, even for just 20 minutes, is next to nothing. It is pretty easy to predict if you are going to be observed too. Is your subject below average in attainment nationally? Yes. Well you will be a focus of the inspection. Does your head teacher consistently categorise you as an outstanding teacher? Yes. Well then the senior team will send Ofsted in your direction.
Despite the chances of getting observed being so small, you must prepare all the same. There will be 5 lessons on one day when the Ofsted team will be circulating around the school. There will then be two more lessons on the second day. This is the entire time when it is possible to be observed. You should prepare material for the lessons, as if they were coming in for each lesson and for the full hour.
In your pack for Ofsted there are some essentials. You should provide a lesson plan, in the standard template for your school. If there isn’t a standard template, then suggest to your Head of Faculty that there should be at least one for your team. You should also provide the data for your class, a seating plan with images and key data about the individuals and any resources you are going to use.
You should put a chair in your room aside for the inspector. At the start of each lesson you put the pack for the next lesson on the seat. You might even want to brief the student nearest the chair to welcome the inspector and hand him or her the pack. You should also provide assessment files and any books that are not on the table with the students. These should be thoroughly marked. The marking of the books is more likely to influence the inspector more than anything else.
Do not do anything special because Ofsted are in the building. The team are looking for typicality. This means they are looking for the habits and practice that always happen in your room. They will look at the displays, at the body language of the students, at their uniforms and the response to the learning. Well behaved, silent students do not show an outstanding school; thoroughly engaged students in charge of their own learning does. So, loosen the leash on the students and trust what you always do.
Two bottom-line messages: 1. Your performance will do little to influence the outcome and if you are watched you won’t know the outcome. 2. The team have probably already decided on the judgement based on data before they arrived – so do not stress.