An inspector calls

4th May 2007 at 01:00
The Ofsted inspection is feared by all but the brave. However, for Jen Bramwell it proved quite painless

Ofsted turned up. We had a feeling the inspectors would be on their way, so everyone had been collecting pupils' books and marking them for the past couple of weeks.

Experienced teachers kept telling me I was safe as they never visit new teachers. So I was completely relaxed when we got notice of the impending inspection.

At the staff meeting they reassured me that although I could get observed, it was very unlikely. My marking was all up-to-date. I'm used to official people observing, having done my PGCE last year, and I get on well with most of my classes - so still no worry.

Wednesday, Ofsted hit science first, four observations in the first two lessons. Then period three, the class I get on with least, where I've had to introduce a new seating plan because of bad behaviour, the inspector appeared.

For the first couple of minutes I felt sick. Clammy hands and stumbling over my words. The inspector sat at the back - next to my ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) pupil.

There was a rumour going round that if we failed, the school would shut.

Some children thought they wouldn't have to go to school again, so a minority decided to play up. But not my lot. They pulled out all the stops, apart from my ASD pupil. "Miss, I'm writing a novel," he said. "Do you think you could not write your novel in this particular lesson?" I replied.

"It doesn't matter, Miss, she's already seen." Great.

The inspector stayed for about 25 minutes, and barely spoke to me or the pupils. She asked to see the class performance data and then she left. It was an altogether painless experience.

The school was rated good with some outstanding features. Our behaviour got an outstanding. Just goes to show, they can behave and they do want their school to do well

Jen Bramwell is a new teacher in Surrey

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