Not so much from a SENCo perspective – as my area of expertise wasn’t really probed during the most recent inspection – but here is some practical advice on how to be outstanding in an Ofsted inspection that blog-readers may find useful.

1. In the best lessons there are well embedded learning objectives – often linked to NC/GCSE levels.

2. Effective differentiation has a significant positive impact on behaviour – this is often evident in the lessons judged ‘outstanding’.

3. In good or outstanding lessons, differentiation is of high quality and not only through outcome.

4. Effective ‘modelling’ is seen in the best lessons.

5. The use of mini plenaries to explicitly re-visit learning objectives is often judged as outstanding practice.

6. The majority of lessons should include must, should and could as lesson objectives, to ensure all students know what they are aiming to achieve.

7. The best lessons have a pace that is sustained – and a good use of timed activities leading to a positive effect on student progress within the lesson.

8. Positive climates for learning with evidence of excellent relationships are central to ‘outstanding’ learning.

9. The thorough use of positive praise being widespread is essential.

10. Teachers learning together shows strong links to ‘outstanding’ learning.

11. Planning should be thorough and, when effectively delivered, produces high quality teaching and learning.

12. A wide variety of different learning opportunities which cover the whole range of VAK & PLTS allows for different learning styles and skills.

13. High levels of student engagement are observed in the best lessons.

14. A culture of sharing good practice with colleagues is considered outstanding.

15. Staff teamwork – feeling supported and being encouraged to take risks provides a good climate for learning.

It is important to see this ‘list’ not as exhaustive, but as complimentary to Ofsted’s judgements on ‘outstanding’ teaching and learning. To ensure quality provision, Ofsted now have ‘limiting judgements’ and it is, probably quite rightly so, difficult to be ‘outstanding’. However, maybe the list above will help some blog-readers promote high quality teaching and learning within their schools.

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