A battle to be outstanding
I understand that Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted's chief inspector, has tightened the rules to restrict the outstanding grade to schools where the quality of teaching is also outstanding. This, of course, makes sense but it must be worrying for principals to know that only 28 per cent of the schools originally classed as outstanding that were re-inspected have retained their status.
It would not surprise me if headteachers up and down the country are meeting their senior leaders as I write, racking their brains to mastermind new strategies to ensure that their teachers can produce an outstanding lesson in their 25-minute screen test. The challenge is to create a showpiece lesson packed with activities that will demonstrate the latest Ofsted catchphrases, plus the opportunity for students to show independence in their learning as well as collaborative working.
The Ofsted measure for an outstanding teaching grade is not easy to achieve. Personally, I would need several days to plan a perfect Ofsted lesson that aimed to tick all the boxes. It seems pointless to spend such a long time fretting over one lesson that in the end will not fully employ my strengths as a teacher, but hey: if you play your cards right you can fool the Ofsted eggheads, be top of the form and avoid being the weakest link.
R. Trainor, Science teacher, Warwickshire.