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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-education-and-skills-inspection-handbook/ofsted-inspections-myths
The purpose of this document is to confirm facts about the requirements of Ofsted and to dispel myths that can result in unnecessary workloads in colleges. It should be read alongside the Further education and skills inspection handbook.
This document is intended to highlight specific practices that are not required by Ofsted. It is up to colleges themselves to determine their practices. Leadership teams should justify these on their own merits rather than by reference to the inspection handbook.
1. Teaching style
Ofsted doesn’t prescribe any particular teaching style. We know that different things work for different teachers and trainers. Inspectors are only interested in how much progress students make.
2. Lesson plans
Inspectors will not expect to see lesson plans. They will judge overall how well lessons are planned, but aren’t interested in the specific form of that planning. They’ll evaluate the impact of the planning, not the paperwork.
3. Equality and diversity
Inspectors don’t expect all aspects of equality and diversity to be promoted as explicit features in every lesson. Inspectors want evidence that, during a student’s time at college, they will benefit from equality of opportunity. There should also be evidence that they learn about the complex multicultural world they’ll live and work in.
4. Limiting grades
Ofsted doesn’t regard English, mathematics and work experience as limiting grades on study programmes.
Inspectors don’t expect work and tasks in all lessons to be tailored to meet each student’s individual abilities. This is an unrealistic expectation. However, teachers should make sure that all students have opportunities to fulfil their potential, regardless of their starting points or abilities. Inspectors will expect to see evidence of this throughout the course as a whole.
6. Information and learning technology
Ofsted doesn’t expect to see information and learning technology (ILT) being used in every lesson. Inspectors, like teachers, see the potential impact that ILT can have on students’ learning. At the same time, we see no particular benefit from the use of ILT for its own sake.
7. Observations and grading
Ofsted doesn’t expect all teachers to be observed and graded by their colleges, to inform self-assessment and staff training. It’s entirely up to college leaders what mechanisms they use to improve the quality of teaching.