Celebrating the difference

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I had the great pleasure of visiting Ercall Wood Technology College before Easter in my capacity as tutor for the LTSS project. I had not been for a while and I was wondering how things were going for this school. Quite soon into the meeting the dreaded Ofsted word was mentioned! Despite the fact this was said with a very straight face I had nothing to worry about for very quickly smiles broke out and they handed the report to me, from which I will quote directly:

“Some teachers use excellent questioning skills that promote thinking and discussion among their pupils. Pupils enjoy thinking creatively and contributing to class discussions, and learn from the contributions of other pupils. For example, in a science lesson, pupils justified how they had classified different species of fish. Other pupils in the class identified strengths and weaknesses in the ideas presented, and pupils took action in the light of the feedback they had received.”

As part of a lesson feedback session we could not have got off to a better start! I include this quote here as it highlights very clearly what we are trying to do with the approach we call Let’s Think – it might be worth viewing our vision for Let’s Think in the light of this comment. I personally struggle with Ofsted and its manifestation within schools and I often find myself cringing when I drive past a school, that have paid for an Ofsted banner, displaying the results of their latest inspection. One school near me have placed their banner near a very busy road that proudly declare that ‘Safeguarding is effective!’