Q A

4th May 2007 at 01:00
Q I've just taken over as co-ordinator for gifted and talented pupils and wondered what questions inspectors are likely to ask and what they will want to see.

A There really is no set answer because much will depend on the particular circumstances of the school and the issues the inspectors therefore seek to follow up. Provision for gifted and talented pupils might be a specific focus if, for example, this was a concern in a previous report, it is raised as a worry by parents or highlighted in the school's own self-evaluation form as a particular strength or weakness. If it is a focus, then inspectors may want to meet you to get a picture of what the school provides. It is likely inspectors will ask how the school identifies its gifted and talented pupils. You can expect that inspectors will want to know how you monitor the provision and how you know whether or not it is effective in meeting pupils' needs. Of course, gifted and talented is not a focus in every inspection. Inspectors do not routinely meet every postholder and co-ordinator on every inspection, so please don't feel slighted if they don't ask to meet you.

Q Last time my school was inspected, each teacher was given a printout with their teaching grades. This time around, we got nothing - why?

A The short answer is that the system of inspection has changed. When inspectors are in lessons, they are looking for evidence of what teaching is typically like.

Inspectors grade lessons and teaching but they are not making judgments about individual teachers. In fact, the days are long gone when teachers (and heads) were given printouts showing each teaching grade. This was tried for a year or so in the days when, in a primary school at least, teachers might typically be seen three or four times in an inspection.

Printouts were initially quite popular with teachers but the arrangement was stopped because some people were seeking to use them for purposes for which they were never intended. I came across cases of headteachers demanding that applicants for jobs produce their printouts at interview

* Selwyn Ward draws on years of inspection experience. The views expressed here are his own. To ask him a question, contact him at askaninspector@tes.co.ukSelwyn regularly answers your Ofsted questions on our forums at www.tes.co.ukstaffroominspection

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