Chairs Blog (February 2017)

Staying  connected – Ofsted Thoughts…

Dear Members,


Over the past few months, I have been lucky enough to have received a great deal of professional and personal support from colleagues from the amazing network of members in our organisation. This has enabled me to both experience and understand the real benefit available to us as members of engage in their future. I am hoping that over the rest of this year I will be able to visit as many member schools as possible to ensure that I can be even more aware of what the network needs to check that everyone has access to a similar level of support and to promote this as the main benefit for membership.


I am pleased to also share that I have been able to provide support for members and that through the National Committee we have been able to respond to challenges, queries and commentary that members from across the country have raised. This has included advice and support around safeguarding and smoking as well as other issues. The ability to provide a quick and diverse response I think has been very helpful and feedback from members who have benefited has been very positive and I would like to thank all of you who have provided the support when called upon to do so. I would urge you all to share any issues with me or the National Committee, for sure, if the Regional Representatives and Co-Opted members of the Committee are not able to help, they will be able to signpost you to a member who will and the wealth of professional and personal experience within our network is quite simply world class, so please feel free to share and address issues with support.


During our January meeting Richard Berry, Regional Representative from the South West, was kind enough to share some collated thoughts and experiences in regard to recent Ofsted inspections and he has kindly agreed that I can share these as part of my Blog (below). It seems relevant that as the topic for my blog has been the connectivity of our network that this level of ‘up to date’ support is shared with you all. This is a level of sharing I would like to promote further and I will be asking the Regional Reps to contact you all and request similar information in regard to Ofsted and Estyn “themes” to enable us to develop an up to date focus list to help us prepare for our inspections and maintain the focus on standards for our schools. Although there are some expected themes in the list there are some interesting focus areas that I am sure will be of use. If the list leaves you needing some further support, please use that as an opportunity to contact me, your Regional Rep or the National Committee and we will help in whatever way is most practical.


I am writing this Blog while travelling down to London to support some of the final touches for our National Conference in Newport in July. This year will be a larger joint conference with our colleagues from SEBDA. engage in their future and SEBDA have been working in partnership for many years and this first joint conference titled ‘SEMH : Theory into Practice’ brings both arms of research and practical ideas to delegates. There will be opportunities to access both these ‘arms’ within the conference but I can guarantee that the increased quality you all expect from our national conference will be sustained. I would like to urge you all to book your places for the conference as soon as possible, there is a limited number of places, and although it will be a bigger event we are sharing this event with SEBDA members and therefore we are already seeing a high demand for delegate places, so please book early to avoid disappointment and also to make use of the ‘early bird’ rates.


Further details of the conference can be found on the website :


Also, please don’t delay in submitting your entries for the National Awards 2018 and the National Creative Awards 2018: both of these events are now ‘open for business’. These events have grown in stature over the past years and I would like to keep the momentum increasing so we can continue to celebrate the amazing work and achievement of our pupils. I know everyone who entered in previous years will enter again, why not encourage a colleague from another school to join in ?


Finally, in March the National Committee will be meeting to discuss the strategic plan for the organisation and the next 3 to 5 years. I will be writing to you all to ask for your input and any suggestions about how we can further improve our network. Please take some time to think about what you want from engage in their future and I will, of course, feedback on the strategy following the meeting in March.


Stay energised and pick up the phone !


Chair, engage in their future


Ofsted Themes in the South West :

Key questions/outcomes

  • Where are EHCP targets tracked – how do we know students are meeting them?
  • Looking at notes/records of Safeguarding – any child on CP plan – what are you doing? Like examples of emails also being collated in the file e.g for professional challenge
  • Tracking students across their classes and seeing progress in books, if not why not?
  • How do we know EHCP targets are being met?
  • What proportion on old statement v EHCP – what are we doing about the numbers not yet converted.
  • Post 16 provision – Work Related Learning – Leaving care places
  • Attendance – tracking core issues relating to individuals and groups.
  • Team Teach and Behaviour data was analysed to ensure they tie up.
  • HT reports to Govs were looked at re: racist incidents/bullying etc
  • Academic data – one side of A4
  • They ask students about restraints, seen restraints, what are the reasons for restraints – talk to students about this.
  • Know our strengths and areas of development – be honest and open to show you know the school, staff and students intimately.
  • Do an Ofsted style survey for students, staff and parents asap
  • Consider how Middle/Senior leaders are partnered for meetings if opportunities are given.
  • PP, Eng and Maths are significant foci irrelevant of the other school specific areas.
  • SLT are seen entirely separately in all inspections done since January – the TT is constructed by the inspectors to achieve this.
  • We will all be expected to talk confidently about destination/attendance/assessment/behaviour data.
  • If it is really not ok for an inspector to come into a classroom then that can be said to the inspector.
  • Taxi drivers and PAs are spoken with re: safeguarding/training and student views will be sought.
  • The inspectors will most likely meet and speak with staff in the morning.
  • They see lessons – they want to know why things are happening, not looking for a specific format.
  • They check Risk Assessments for everything and go offsite to go with students into the community/on visits/OEd etc
  • Know the bands of students and the provision they access as a result.
  • What intervention is in place where EHCP targets aren’t being met and how do we know it’s working?