Teach in the UK• 3 Min read

27th September 2021

What is Ofsted & How Do They Affect Teachers?

What Is Oftsed?

Ofsted’s job is to inspect and rate schools. The acronym stands for Office For Standards in Education. There currently isn’t an Australian equivalent, although there are some organisations that collate and share school data such as MySchools. As well as reporting to the government on the effectiveness of education services, the reports that Ofsted provide are useful for parents when choosing schools – in the UK, Ofsted reports are the second most important factor for parents choosing schools, with the first being location.

What Do Ofsted Do?

At it’s core, the role of Ofsted is to report to Parliament on the performance of all types of education institutions. While people may think of schools when Ofsted is mentioned, they also regulate services that care for young people, such as social care and day centres.  All new schools are inspected within 3 years of opening and then on a regular basis afterwards, with timings depending on the current rating.

What Happens During An Oftsed Inspection?

Schools usually get 1 day’s notice that an Ofsted inspection will be taking place. Inspectors will enter the school, observe lessons, talk to pupils and teachers and look at work being produced. They will produce a report, which will be made available to both the school and parents.  Ofsted inspectors look at four key areas:

  • Quality of education
  • Behaviour and attitudes
  • Leadership and Management.
  • Personal Development

Personal Development was added to the inspection framework in 2019 and looks at how schools encourage personal and academic growth in pupils, focusing not just on their academic performance, but the success of the school in preparing pupils for a successful life after education.

How Do Ofsted Rate Schools?

Based on a comprehensive framework, schools are given a rating in each of the four areas and an overall rating for the school.

  • Grade 1 (outstanding)
  • Grade 2 (good)
  • Grade 3 (requires improvement)
  • Grade 4 (inadequate)

Schools that are rated inadequate are subject to more regular inspections and can be put into special measures, where they will be given extra support to bring about required improvement.

How Do Ofsted Inspections Affect Teachers?

The thought of an impending Ofsted inspection can be nerve-wracking, as a throughout inspection will shine a light on issues within schools. If you are working in a school when an Ofsted inspection is taking place, you might feel as though your teaching or leadership is under a microscope, but it’s the school that receives the rating, not individual teachers. It’s important to remember that for the most part, teachers have confidence in Ofsted rating:

“Six out of 10 (61%) teachers whose school has been inspected by Ofsted feel that the final judgement reached by the inspection team was a fair and accurate assessment” (Yougov Teachers Awareness and Perception Of Ofsted)

Although they do highlight issues within educational facilities, they also highlight areas for development and provide the catalyst for change in schools that have managerial, teaching or organisation issues.

We hope this article has given you an insight into Ofsted. Working in a UK school can be a fantastic experience for Australian teachers, offering a chance to explore a new country whilst gaining valuable experience teaching in a new environment.

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