25th January 2008 at 00:00
Q: What happens if inspectors come into a school and there is a teacher who doesn't plan, record, assess or report and cannot work programmes of study? What if he also cannot get on with female staff and handles the pupils in a rough way?

I work in a small school, and one of my colleagues falls into this category. We are due an inspection very soon, and I am concerned as to what they will say. Will they slate the whole team because of this one teacher?

A: I'm conscious of the fact that in a small setting, one teacher, for good or ill, can have a huge impact on a substantial proportion of the pupils.

If the effect of the shortcomings you list are that pupils are losing out, then you could expect this to have an adverse effect on the inspector's grade for teaching and learning.

If there is a member of staff with such apparent shortcomings, I'd expect the headteacher to be aware of the situation and to be taking action to improve things. They will want to explain this to the inspector, so that heshe is assured that improvements are in hand.

Q: How would you expect evidence to be displayed for the arrival of inspectors? In particular, what would you want to see with regard to special needs?

A: That will vary between inspections, because the focus will differ according to the circumstances of the school. You can expect to get a Pre-Inspection Briefing (PIB) from the lead inspector the day before the inspection.

That should give a clear indication of what it is that inspectors will be particularly focusing on.

If, for example, the PIB poses concerns about how well pupils with learning difficulties are doing, or flags up that some seem to be doing notably better, then inspectors are likely to want to find out more.

They may well want to look at how these pupils are supported, how you track their progress, how you set targets for them, and how these are shared with the pupil, parents and support staff.

It is likely that inspectors will sample any individual education plans and they may well want to know how these are drawn up.

Inspectors won't expect to see all this "displayed", but it is all information that you will almost certainly have readily to hand, so there is really no need to worry over it.

Selwyn Ward draws on years of inspection experience. The views expressed here are his own. To ask him a question, contact him at

Selwyn regularly answers your Ofsted questions on our forums at

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