What Ofsted don’t want


With a new framework coming into play this month, clearly there are some senior leaders starting to worry about if they meet what they think Ofsted are looking for. People then start to come up with ways of evidencing this. Unfortunately, along the way, things are misinterpreted or made up creating a whole load of work for teachers and middle leaders. The aim of the blog is to address a few of these things with evidence from Ofsted themselves.


“There’s no need to write new statements, adapt websites or restructure staffing to cover intent.” (3)

“Ofsted does not advocate any particular curriculum model” (3)



2. Lesson plans

“Ofsted does not require schools to provide individual lesson plans to inspectors. Equally, Ofsted does not require schools to provide previous lesson plans” (1)

3. Books & book scrutinies

“Ofsted does not expect to see a particular frequency or quantity of work in pupils’ books or folders. Ofsted recognises that the amount of work in books and folders will depend on the subject being studied and the age and ability of the pupils.” (1)

“Ofsted does not expect to see photographic evidence of pupil’s work” (1)



4. Feedback

“Ofsted does not expect to see any specific frequency, type or volume of marking and feedback; these are for the school to decide through its assessment policy. Marking and feedback should be consistent with that policy” (1)

Ofsted does not expect to see any written record of oral feedback provided to pupils by teachers. (1)

5.Creating paperwork


6. Data & exam results

“My biggest observation was the sheer joy – both for inspectors and for school leaders – of the move away from detailed scrutiny and analysis of internal data.” (4)

“…what is not a worthwhile use of inspection time is for inspectors to try to dive into your own particular style of collecting and recording data, especially as so many schools use so many different systems….It’s enough for inspectors to know that this is your analysis of what’s happening in your school – they don’t need to see the spreadsheets!” (5)

“We need to help parents, schools, and policy makers with information that is not just about exam results, but is about how those results are achieved.” (7)

7. Key stage focus



8.’What Ofsted wants’

“the lucrative industry that sells schools consultation into ‘what Ofsted wants’ and ‘preparation for Ofsted’ seems to thrive. ‘Save 5 hours staff time a day’ they promise. ‘Dramatic results in just 10 weeks’ are offered. ….. Please, do not hand your silver to these Mystic Megs” (6)

“If you’re doing something because you think we want to see it and it does not benefit your pupils, then please, do not do it.” (10)


(1) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-inspection-handbook-from-september-2015/ofsted-inspections-mythbusting

(2) @HeatherBellaF

(3) https://educationinspection.blog.gov.uk/2019/07/01/busting-the-intent-myth/

(4) https://educationinspection.blog.gov.uk/2019/07/19/inspecting-under-the-eif/

(5) https://educationinspection.blog.gov.uk/2019/03/08/testing-the-draft-education-inspection-framework-our-early-findings-from-pilot-inspections/

(6) https://educationinspection.blog.gov.uk/2018/12/18/the-myth-of-ofsted-consultants-do-not-buy-the-snake-oil/

(7) https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/hmci-commentary-the-roles-of-accountability-and-autonomy

(8) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/830378/School_Inspection_Report_Sept2019.pdf

(9) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/814685/Inspecting_the_curriculum.pdf

(10) https://educationinspection.blog.gov.uk/2019/07/19/schools-out/

Other sources



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