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Warning: If you believe in Santa do not read this update from Ofsted

Warning: If you believe in Santa do not read this update from Ofsted

It has been revealed that as part of Ofsted’s new framework, all Christmases will now be observed for 15 minutes after which they will be judged outstanding, good or requiring improvement.

For a Christmas to be judged as outstanding, the following criteria must be met:

The objective of the day must be clearly displayed on all gifts, mince pies and cracker jokes. Before any present opening can occur, all family members must write down the objective and what they already know about it.

An example objective might be, “be nice to each other”. This will need differentiating so that those members of the family who have issues with “being nice” have more achievable goals and those who find it easy are given a more challenging target. By the end of Christmas:

All family members will have spent at least 10 minutes “being nice” to each other.

Most family members will have “been nice” during all festive meals..

By the end of festivities, progress against the objective must be measured. This can be achieved via a written assessment, individual interviews or deep questioning; questions should be pre-planned and scaled according to difficulty.

Family members may opt for peer assessment but only if this does not risk inducing behaviour that is not in keeping with the day’s objective.

At the heart of the EIF is the new ‘quality of Christmas’ judgement, the purpose of which is to put a single conversation about Christmas at the centre of inspection. This conversation draws together:

*standards of decorations

*brightness of glitter

*sprout feedback

*quality of wrapping.

The framework also states that by New Year’s Eve, all Christmas marking and assessment must be responded to in writing. This can be in the form of thank you letters but may be a single written comment. For example, “You are right, I should not have eaten the entire contents of my sister’s selection box just before lunch. Next year I will hide it until Boxing Day.”

Opportunities must be presented for numeracy challenges. For example, if the Christmas cook has had one glass of wine an hour and the turkey needs to cook for three hours, how many people will be needed to keep them on their feet as they make the gravy?

Opportunities must be presented to make progress against literacy too. For example, if you focus on speech marks it might be a good idea to encourage all family members to make a “speech mark” gesture with their fingers every time they talk. An alternative gesture could be selected for those who prefer to grunt, although grunting may not fit in with the Christmas objective of being nice.

Christmases that fail to meet the required standard will be placed in “Xmas Measures”. They will (within six months or so) be allocated a Super Santa to guide them into becoming a new type of Christmas: an “Xmas”. Smiling throughout this process will be discouraged.

WARNING: Next year’s Christmas requirements will be completely different, you will be notified of the changes on Christmas Eve and expected to act accordingly.


Mike Hodgkiss

Mike Hodgkiss has 36 years teaching experience in the secondary sector, twenty years as a deputy head in an 11-18 comprehensive school in Essex. He was a governor of a primary school for several years. He has led and coordinated training for staff in many aspects of teaching, learning and leadership not just in this country but in Europe too. He has written for EuroSchoolNet on international and citizenship projects and for ASCL's leadership magazine. He is currently editor of @Teachtalks.

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