Monday, 24 March 2014

Section 48 Inspection - Part 3: Outcome, Feedback & Reflections


Following the Section 48 inspection, we are delighted that, once again the school was rated as ‘Outstanding’.

The inspectors were highly impressed by the quality of teaching in the RE department as well as the learning outcomes for pupils. Furthermore, they praised the prayer life of the school, the sense of community and strong family ethos and the high quality of pastoral care that the girls receive.


I know OFSTED are currently moving away from rating individual lessons, and indeed I have blogged about it <here>, but I hoped to get at least some feedback from the Section 48 inspectors about my teaching. Unfortunately this wasn't to be. I have no idea what I did right, or indeed how I could have been better. However from the comments made to the Subject Leader during the feedback meeting, all three of my lessons were rated as Outstanding. This is obviously pleasing but I have no idea what I did particually right. Of course, I must have 'ticked all the boxes' of their criteria (found <here>):

"Standards pupils achieve in Religious Education are very high. Attainment indicators for the final key stage are almost all significantly above average. Progress is at least good in each key stage for different groups and is exemplary in most. Most pupils concentrate very well and are rarely off task even in extended periods without direction from an adult. They have developed an enthusiasm for tackling challenging activities. Their keenness and commitment to succeed and ability to grasp opportunities to extend and improve their learning are exceptional."

That is obviously pleasing to know, BUT, I always want to be better. I want to know what wasn't quite perfect so I know how to move forward. I'd even swap this for the 3 shiny Outstanding badges. To be observed for 3 lessons and get not a word of feedback is frustrating.

I hoped the report may give further insight after 7 lessons were observed, yet of the 6 page document, this was the only paragraph dedicated to it:

"Progress in religious education is outstanding. Pupils work with application and interest. They enjoy their religious education lessons and work very well together. They are eager to participate in activities and keen to do well. They have a good knowledge of the Catholic faith appropriate to their age and abilities. Workbooks are very well presented, show coverage of the curriculum and indicate a varied range of tasks. Standards of attainment exceed national expectations."

Again obviously very pleasing but after such preparation and the hours spent ensuring lessons, lesson plans, data, marking etc were ready for the inspectors, it feels a little short of the mark. The feedback in the meeting was that marking was "not bad" but could be further improved with more student feedback on marking. This basically echoed our OFSTED Section 5 report. They then made it clear that our marking was good, but could be "even better".


I was obviously incredibly pleased with the outcome of the inspection, as was the subject leader and the rest of the department, as well as SLT. However I do personally feel the report nor feedback fully appreciates the hard work that went into the inspection. At least with OFSTED some time is set aside for inspectors to meet with staff, even if the feedback varied. I felt like someone came to my lesson, made copious notes, and I have no idea what they say... good, bad or ugly! I presume I can write to the Diocese and make a request under the Data Protection Act like I did with OFSTED, but I think that wouldn't be great for me or my school politically.

Many staff, as they congratulated us, said there is no way their department would have survived such intense scrutiny and come out well. I'm not sure if Department OFSTED inspections still happen, it's hard to keep up, but they can be the only thing that comes close. Additionally so many of the outcomes are whole school, yet so much falls on the shoulders of the RE Department. 

My thanks do go to the inspectors for recognising our hard work; we are an outstanding department in every respect. We constantly challenge ourselves, keep moving forward and work incredibly hard. It is great that has been formally awarded the Outstanding badge, but I still feel a little short changed.

NB I may add to this later... plus report has been published but is not online anywhere yet. I will link as soon as I can! 

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