2nd November 2007 at 00:00
Q: I have three pupils in a key stage 4 class that have issues with their behaviour. If I were to remove any of them out of class into another (with assigned work) during an observed lesson, would this affect my grading?

I have also worked with this class for over a year now and I know that any activities that involve pupils moving around or making independent choices always result in an incomplete lesson with insufficient learning. If I were to have boring activities, but clear learning, would this also affect my grade?

A: In most inspections, you would not know in advance which lesson was being observed, so pre-emptive relocation of pupils is unlikely to be a practical option. In any event, what is the point of inspectors being shown a scenario that is very different from pupils' ordinary experience? Pupils may very well tell inspectors that the lessons are atypical. Moreover, if inspectors see very much better progress in your lesson than seems typical from the pupils' work and test scores, you may find them delving further to reconcile the discrepancy.

I think your question is predicated on the mistaken impression that inspectors are there to judge your individual teaching. They are not. They are visiting lessons to gauge the impact they have on pupils' learning and progress.

I am sure you will want to maximize pupils' learning, and that you'd want to do that regardless of whether or not the school is being inspected. If, as you say, movement around the class always results in significant loss of time and insufficient learning, it would seem to me to make sense to keep that to a minimum. The trick is getting the balance right: if activities are so boring that pupils switch off altogether, they are unlikely to be learning.

Q: Do schools get a choice of day for their inspection? A teacher at my school has two days out of class per week. I wouldn't want her to miss out.

A: I am afraid the dates are not negotiable: the school will be telephoned a day or two in advance of the inspection and told when the inspectors will be in. There are circumstances when a school can request a deferral but these are exceptionally limited. They would not include your desire to put the spotlight on the school's part-timers

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

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