QA

18th May 2007 at 01:00
Q Our school was formed last year following the amalgamation of an infants'

and a junior school. The junior school was in serious weaknesses and so had lots of local authority inspections. Do you think we are now due an Ofsted inspection? Will inspectors take account of all those previous inspections?

A Local authority inspections are not treated as an alternative to an Ofsted inspection, but inspectors routinely ask to look at the school's own and any external monitoring that has been done.

They will be interested in seeing what local authority inspectors or advisers are saying and look to verify the strengths and see the extent to which issues have been tackled successfully.

If your amalgamated school is legally a completely new school (ie, the predecessor schools were formally closed), inspectors should not be judging improvement since the last inspection as, strictly speaking, your Ofsted inspection, when it comes, will be the school's first.

It is likely, however, that the school will want to refer to the circumstances from which it arose. If nothing else, this contextual information will be relevant in looking at previous educational experiences and, therefore, pupil achievement since the school opened.

You will appreciate that I have no way of predicting exactly when your Ofsted inspection will be.

Q I started working on a temporary contract to cover maternity leave at the beginning of term. Will Ofsted even bother about me?

A I cannot say with any certainty whether inspectors are likely to see one of your lessons. They will want to know what teaching is typically like in the school, so there is no reason why they should not see a teacher on a temporary contract if they are in school for the term.

Practice will vary according to the circumstances of the school, but I would normally take the view that there would not be a lot of point in observing a very short-term temporary teacher (someone in, for example, just that day to cover a sudden staff absence) unless there was a particular issue in the school over learning being disrupted by pupils having a succession of temporary teachers

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.uk

Selwyn regularly answers your Ofsted questions on our forums at www.tes.co.ukstaffroominspection

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