Even as a supply teacher, it’s impossible to escape Ofsted’s influence. With a new and radical framework, we ask what Ofsted might mean to you in 2019.
What are the big changes?
There are three big changes. First, there is going to be extra focus on behaviour. There will be a new “behaviour judgement” for a school, so you should know exactly what the behaviour of a school is like before going in (Ofsted currently lump behaviour with personal development and welfare when inspecting a school). Second, there is going to be a move away from data. What’s known as “internal performance data” will no longer be used as a benchmark for an Ofsted grade. Instead, there will be greater interest in the breadth and nature of the curriculum. Finally, teaching to the test will be discouraged and the off-rolling of students to be “investigated”.
How might the changes affect me as a supply teacher?
This raises the bigger question, does Ofsted matter at all to a supply teacher? The short answer, yes.
The school curriculum, in line with the new emphasis on a broad and rich curriculum, may be adapted. This will be true for all key stages. This isn’t going to involve a reinvention of the wheel, but may result in fewer summative assessments. The arts in particular, might get a little more weighting. Breadth and variety is back on the menu.
Supply teachers may notice a change in school culture. Ofsted helps set school culture. A focus on tests and outcomes is going to lead schools to focus on tests and outcomes. A move away from this might mean more freedom for a supply teacher. Lessons will be no less important, but we might not see the same fixation in test preparation and cramming. Whether you’re doing short or long term supply work, you might be able to be a bit freer in lesson planning and delivery.
As many supply teachers know, behaviour isn’t the challenge it’s popularly assumed to be. However, the fact that it’s going to be under greater scrutiny from Ofsted might make a supply teacher’s job easier. Ofsted will particularly be looking for “a calm, well-managed environment”. By us and pretty much every supply teacher, this sounds good.
A quick note. This is a framework. There is a consultation period which may see this change. And as always, we’d love to know your thoughts.