Diary of an NQT: The Big O

Written by: Diary of an NQT | Published:
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The call has come and Ofsted arrives in our NQT diarist’s school for a short inspection – and our NQT is on the inspector’s ‘to see’ list...

The call finally came. The big O.

In fact as I sit here writing this, the inspectors are meeting in the headteacher’s office to discuss our fate.

The call came yesterday lunchtime and the staff quickly gathered in the staffroom to await more information.

There was, rather bizarrely, almost a buzz of excitement in the air – although I think that was more to do with the fact that everyone was grateful it had finally happened and it would soon be out of the way. We seem to have been waiting for this moment for most of the year.

We were given our orders: lesson plan front sheets, seating plans in place, assessment front sheets filled in – the tick-list continued.

Thank goodness we have been waiting for this for so long, otherwise the tasks would have felt mammoth and daunting.

As a department, we have been doing all this for months now in the knowledge that Ofsted was around the corner, so we all looked a little smug in our corner of the staffroom while some others bustled about.

Some staff were sending desperate notes to students asking them to bring their books to them ASAP so they could mark them quickly and get up-to-date.

Luckily for me I was not caught out with my marking. I’d just given the students their books back so they were all up-to-date.

As the afternoon of preparation drew to a close, my head of department calmly sent us all an email telling us to just keep doing what we were doing and that we were all amazing. At this point, I did genuinely feel calm!

At 5:30pm, pizzas were ordered and caffeine-filled drinks were poured in the staffroom. We were told the school would close at 11pm. I stayed to get the pizza, but I definitely didn’t stay until 11pm!

The next morning, I was told that my name was on the list of those the inspectors wanted to see during the second period. Apparently they wanted to see evidence of stretch and challenge and someone thought my bottom set year 9 class would be a good place to find it...

I didn’t have to spend time planning the lesson as it was already sorted, but I did put together some details about the context of the class and the differentiation needed.

During the first period, the student teacher was taking my class and I began to feel the nerves kicking in. Even though I knew they would only come in for five minutes, I still felt my stomach churning. When the year 9s started filing in, I had my plan, seating plan, and context ready and I tried hard not to stare at the door as the lesson progressed.

I waited and waited – but they didn’t come to my lesson. Apparently they got to the classroom next door and mine was next, but they got distracted and went to science instead. There’s a small part of me that was a little disappointed, but I quickly reminded myself that I was being crazy. Who would wish to be seen by Ofsted?!

Now I have finished all of my lessons for the day, I have to sit and wait to find out if they are coming back tomorrow. The headteacher is pushing for “outstanding”, but word on the grapevine is that we’ll get a solid “good”.

As much as I would love for the school to get outstanding, the thought of another full day of inspectors roaming around doesn’t sound too appealing.

We shall have to wait and see...

  • SecEd’s NQT diarist this year is a teacher of citizenship, RE and humanities at a school in England.


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