Inspection done ‘with us,’ not ‘to us’ at St John Fisher

Three things that may benefit others around our recent Ofsted inspection:

  1. The 90 minute was more straightforward than we had anticipated.  It was a joint discussion about the inspection and what to expect and we felt we had the opportunity to share information about our school.
  2. The inspection from the start was done ‘with us’ not ‘to us.’  We led the deep dives, which were Reading, Science and History.  Subject leaders had to know their subject curriculum across the school, including the rationale behind why we teach what we do, what we teach and when we teach it. Our evidence of curriculum intent, implementation and impact for the subjects in the deep dives was analysed.
  3. Much of the inspection was about the learning in classrooms and the knowledge of subject leaders – other subjects were observed in addition to the deep dives and each class had a minimum of three different visits.

Areas of strength identified were our early reading and phonics as well as guided reading throughout the school.

Aspects that made these strengths stand out were:

  • There was a consistent approach to the teaching of Phonics across EYFS and KS1.
  • Lessons were seen to be well planned, monitored and assessed  and interventions  were well targeted. There was a high success rate for Year 2 phonics screening.
  • Leaders and teachers had strong subject knowledge.
  • Reading books going home matched each child’s phonic knowledge well and parents understood their role in supporting early reading.
  • There was a consistent approach to teaching guided reading across the school.

Inspectors were able to identify this strength because:

The school shared its normal daily practice for phonics teaching and guided reading across the school.  Inspectors listened to children read who had differing reading abilities.  The children were confident and able to articulate that they read in every subject not just in English and there was evidence of ‘a love of reading’ throughout the school through displays and the joyous way the children spoke about reading.