What are the Ofsted Lesson Observation Criteria?
Overall they are what is outlined within the descriptors in the School Inspection Handbook. They are not over helpful because they are not broken down into observable sections and as of 2013 there is no actual exposition of what “Requires Improvement” looks like (not useful when giving feedback).
More helpful are the grade descriptors from the suplementary subject-specific guidance used by inspectors in subject inspections. They are also useful because they are published alongside the generic descriptors and they describe what “Requires Improvement” looks like.
Creating an observation framework for your school..
The following is a sample from the English Guidance. The full document can be found on the Ofsted Resources Website along with a similar document for maths.
|Outstanding (1) Generic||Outstanding (1) English|
|Even these are difficult to implement in the classroom during an observation and need to be developed into usable documents.|
|Much of the teaching in all key stages is outstanding and never less than consistently good. As a result, almost all pupils, including disabled pupils, those with special educational needs and those for whom the pupil premium provides support, are making rapid and sustained progress.||Teachers make imaginative use of a wide range of resources, including ICT and moving image texts, which address pupils’ language needs and their interests in literature and other media.|
|All teachers have consistently high expectations of all pupils. They plan and teach lessons that enable pupils to learn exceptionally well across the curriculum.||Pupils are fully engaged through innovative classroom approaches, including well-planned drama activities.|
|Teachers systematically and effectively check pupils’ understanding throughout lessons, anticipating where they may need to intervene and doing so with notable impact on the quality of learning.||The teaching of phonic knowledge, skill and understanding is systematic, highly enjoyable and quickly enables pupils to read fluently and write with confidence and accuracy.|
|The teaching of reading, writing, communication and mathematics is highly effective and cohesively planned and implemented across the curriculum.||Teachers demonstrate high standards in their own use of English. They model the processes of reading and writing powerfully to help pupils make real progress in their own work. They make English highly relevant to the world beyond school.|
|Teachers and other adults generate high levels of engagement and commitment to learning.||Teachers’ expert knowledge of texts is used successfully to extend and deepen pupils’ understanding. Questioning frequently probes pupils’ understanding of language, elicits their personal responses and challenges their thinking about literature and other texts.|
|Consistently high-quality marking and constructive feedback from teachers ensure that pupils make rapid gains.||Teachers’ very good understanding of the English language ensures that the technical features of language are very well taught, including the differences between talk and writing.|
|Teachers use well-judged and often inspirational teaching strategies, including setting appropriate homework, which together with sharply focused and timely support and intervention, match individual needs accurately. Consequently, pupils learn exceptionally well.||Systematic approaches to target-setting, marking, feedback and peer- and self-assessment, support and challenge all pupils to make precise improvements to their written or oral work.|
How can you ensure you meet them and make secure judgements?
Design your own criteria check list ensuring that you have specific descriptors for all grades and for all aspects, preferably for teaching and for learning. If you want to be Outstanding or Good for teaching you must use up to date criteria.
Ensure all staff are familiar with the judgement criteria in use and understand how they are being used to develop teaching.
We have developed The Practical Handbook for Improving Teaching and Learning for schools to use and be sure that all observations can results in secure judgements with clear development points or improvement if needed.
Collecting and collating your evidence from observations
Observation is the primary source of evidence and you must have a comprehensive record of observations which contain judgements, areas of strength and points for development. You should also be able to demonstrate the impact of professional development support arising from observation both on individuals and on the quality of teaching generally over time.
We can help here, because our Lessons Learned Lesson Observation Analaysis System will do all of these things for you.
“We have found Lessons Learned so powerful for demonstrating not only how we are observing teaching and learning, but also what teachers are doing to develop as a result of those observations. Our Ofsted Inspector loved it!”
- Essex School Headteacher
Five things to avoid in a teaching session
Ofsted identify the following concerns with regard to teaching practice and provision:
- over-use of worksheets
- over-reliance on a narrow range of resources
- too much talking from the front
- not enough pupil interaction
- poor monitoring of progress
Click here for our top tips to follow during Lesson Observation
Don’t forget the Teachers’ Standards
Teaching performance must also be judged against The Teachers’ Standards (2012). These apply to all teachers, regardless of their role and seniority. See another of our recent blog posts for a synopsis of the Teacher Standards