28th September 2007 at 01:00
Selwyn Ward draws on years of inspection experience. The views expressed here are his own. To ask him a question, contact him at regularly answers your Ofsted questions on our forums at

Q) I am the information technology co-ordinator in a primary school and would appreciate some advice on what inspectors will ask and want to look at. Do information technology co-ordinators have an interview? I've never had an Ofsted so have no idea what to expect.

A) Don't think of it as an interview you've already got the job but inspectors may want to meet you.

Whether they do or not will depend on the circumstances of the school: gone are the days when inspectors routinely met every subject leader. They are more likely to want to meet you if technology has been identified as a notable strength, or if it was flagged as a weakness in the previous inspection report.

If they do meet you, there should not be a checklist of standard questions. The discussion should be focused and that focus should generally be evident from the pre-inspection briefing (PIB) prepared in advance by the lead inspector.

Inspectors will want to see that you know how well pupils are doing and how you identify and follow up areas for development. They may have questions about consistency and progression. They will probably want to know how your role dovetails with others in terms of the school's leadership and management.

Q) What type of work scrutiny do the inspectors do for foundation subjects? I am concerned that my RE books show little work, but this is because we tend to teach through discussion.

A) Although, in previous inspections, you will have had a report from inspectors on each subject, individual subjects are no longer inspected on an "ordinary" Section 5 inspection. Inspectors are quite likely to look at books, however.

They may not call in formal work samples as they used to but they will almost certainly want to look at pupils' books across a wide range of subjects, including RE.

They may do this to get a clearer picture of the breadth of the curriculum, or they may look at foundation subjects for examples of pupils' extended writing, or they may, for example, be looking at the consistency of marking.

If they come across a subject where there is less evidence of work than they expect, they may ask questions about that. They may talk to pupils about what they have learned.

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