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Pencils over a maths exam

Ofsted Inspections, GCSE Maths and Academies

16 January 2024

Last week was an exciting one here at Teacher Tapp Towers – we launched the Event Feed ๐Ÿ“…!

This dedicated space on your app hosts an extensive list of CPD opportunities, with more being added all the time. We’d love to hear your feedback on this new experiment: what you like, don’t like and everything in between!

If your app hasn’t updated yet, then head to the app store where you should be given the opportunity to get this exciting new feature!

But that’s more than enough about us…what have you said this week?


Sir Martyn Oliver, the new Chief Inspector of Ofsted, paused school inspections to support a period of mental health awareness training for lead inspectors. (He has now said they will restart on Jan 22nd).

When the pause was announced, the vast majority of you, 98% agreed with the action – possibly the most popular move he could make at the start of his tenure.

When inspections resume, the focus on curriculum and its ‘intent’ will remain. You are increasingly confident in the ‘intent’ behind your curriculum – with one-in-three of you now completely confident in your ability to explain it if asked. This is up from 27% back in January of last year. (Less experienced teachers are the ones with the lowest confidence).

This week, we also dug up some of our older questions on Ofsted, which we last asked about in 2018, based on unusual stories of what happened during inspections.

Fewer teachers now say they’ve worked in a school where children have been sent off-site or kept at home during an inspection. It’s just 15%, down from 22% in December 2018. The practice still appears more common in secondary schools, although it has fallen in both phases.

Our other questions showed little change. 11% of you had been called into school during an Ofsted inspection even when you were supposed to be off and 8% of you have been drafted in to teach another class as the main teacher during an Ofsted inspection – both very similar to 2018 scores.

GCSE Maths and English

Over the Christmas break it was suggested that teachers shouldn’t need a GCSE in Maths in order to become a teacher. It was theorised that removing the requirement would help the recruitment crisis. However, we should clarify that you don’t need a GCSE to train, you just need a GCSE-level qualification.

All that said, 97% of teachers agreed that trainees should have a GCSE-level qualification in English to start their course. Slightly fewer, 90%, felt the same about Maths qualifications.

Feeling part of your academy

Like it or not, more than half of teachers now work in academies, with a large chunk of those working in a school that’s part of a multi-academy trust. However, 41% of classroom teachers say they don’t feel part of the academy trust they work in.

Teachers in larger academy trusts are more likely to say they feel part of their trust, compared to small ones, but it’s still not that common.

Classroom teachers were also likely to be unclear about the vision of their academy trust. Just 52% said they know what it is and less than a third felt the vision was meaningful! Naturally, headteachers were more confident of their trust’s vision.

If you’re a leader in an academy trust and want to know more about how you can ask these questions to staff in your school, then don’t hesitate to get in touch about our School Surveys.

Ups and Downs

On the rise

๐Ÿ“ˆ Give us proof! 87% of teachers want clear proof that EdTech works before using it in their classroom, up from 79% in December 2019

Heading down

๐Ÿ“‰ Clean air? Just one-in-three teachers have a COโ‚‚ monitor (remember them?) in their classroom now, down from one-in-two in January 2022.

๐Ÿ“‰ Speed read. Only 21% of headteachers said they have ‘properly read’ all of their school emails in the past week, down from 29% in January 2023

Daily Reads

The most read article from the last week has been: Don’t do stupid stuff!

And here are the rest for your reference: