#OfstedMaths roundup

It was a pleasure to host the #OfstedMaths twitter chat the other night. Thank you to everyone who submitted a question beforehand, who contributed on the night and to @harfordsean and @janejoneshmi.

If you come away with one thing it should be…

Ofsted don’t have a preferred lesson style, marking approach, differentiation approach, pupil grouping arrangement, textbook, lesson activity, assessment system or curriculum. So long as you can evidence how your school’s choices on all of these impacts your students’ learning, there is no need to “do it for Ofsted”.

Quick! Get that message to all headteachers and SLT!


  • Next-step marking – school policy needn’t stipulate next-step marking in maths.
  • Differentiation – it may be subtle in maths.
  • Verbal feedback – it needn’t be recorded unless you think it’s going to benefit your pupils.
  • Lesson plans – not required by Ofsted.

Questions and Answers

Download all the responses to the pre-chat questions you submitted, including ones we didn’t have time for.
Please bear in mind that #OfstedMaths was not able to comment on individual inspections nor able to give advice on which textbooks to use, whether to opt for mixed attainment groups, how to assess without levels, etc. For that reason you may find your question was not included in this document.

The main thing I think Ofsted needs to work on is consistency

It’s fantastic that Sean and Jane are so open and common sensical but a small number of you has shared with me instances where you felt the current inspectors had given feedback that was almost in contradiction with the maths part of the handbook and possibly in contradiction to what you’re reading on this page.

That is a problem and Ofsted knows this, none moreso than Sean and Jane. To address the issue of consistency Ofsted is letting go 1200 inspectors, they have put in place compulsory additional training of the remaining inspectors (more to come on this soon) and they are making the move towards bringing more practicing headteachers on to the inspection teams.

We have a role to play during inspections too – Jane made it clear to me in a conversation that inspectors are “not to be feared”. Go and speak to them, she said, their evidence is only as good as what the school provides so if there’s something you feel they should know about what the school/department does then tell them.

If, during an inspection, you start getting feedback that is contrary to what you read in this summary post, ask for clarifiation. Without sounding defensive, bring this post to the inspectors’ attention. Schools will be the sharpest way we can calibrate inspectors’ views with the handbook across schools.

Please do not bombard the comments section with cynicsim, rants, specific cases and finger-pointing.
If there is a complaint to Ofsted to be made, use their formal procedures.
Instead, share the constructive ways you’re going to bring this to the attention of your SLT or department.

This post may have stirred some strong reactions – more than anything, I hope it provides some reassurance and a direction of travel.


View all tweets

For the full run-down of the chat, you should read the #OfstedMaths hashtag but for convenience I’ve summarised it using Storify, below:

Essential Reading
Ofsted and mastery of maths – direct from Jane Jones
Ofsted handbook maths section
Ofsted does not expect…myth-busting doc from schools watchdog
Changes to education inspection from September 2015
Characteristics of a mastery approach in maths (NCETM)

What do you think of this post?
  • Like (1)
  • Dislike (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *