There has been a lot of talk recently (especially from Ofsted to their inspectors – http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/school-inspection-policy-some-faqs) about how observation judgements should not form the sole basis of any judgements made about teaching and learning within a school. For schools, this means that a strong base of evidence needs to include other sources wherever possible.
Lessons Learned has been developed to ensure that it becomes a single place for schools to store all of their teaching and learning data. With Ofsted inspectors instructed to take a school’s own observation data and evidence into account, the days of spreadsheets and word documents and the hours and hours of collating them have to be a thing of the past.
Combinations of evidence banks, frameworks and the option to attach documents, audio, video and hyperlinks mean that the possibilities are endless. Sharing documents ahead of observations or being able to link/refer to past ones means a complete record without having to dig around in folders and printed sheets to get to the information you need.
In this blog post we will cover some of the other teaching and learning data schools are storing with the Lessons Learned system.If you want help setting your system up to do any of what is mentioned below, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0844 963 2242.
Whether you conduct focused Learning Walks or general, whole school ones, and whether you grade them or not, you can use Lessons Learned to share them with individual teachers or keep the information for the senior team to include in development planning and review.
Checklists or banks of evidence to be used upon the Learning Walk can be entered into the system for the observer(s) to use as they make their way around the learning walk. These can be combined with free text comments to give customised feedback for each walk.
Photos of displays and classroom layouts can be combined with video clips and documents to provide a complete picture of what was seen during the Learning Walk. Whole school, subject or individual development points (if appropriate) allow you to give focus to the walk and the option to choose a grade (or not) means you are able to analyse Learning Walks as you would like.
Marking and Work Scrutiny
Marking scrutiny can be a difficult process to administer and requires the observer to give extensive comments in order to explain how a person might alter their marking. Referring to a particular example of marking involves lots of additional paperwork and it can be difficult to interpret what they expect. Many schools will use a method where they record whether a number of features have been met fully, slightly or not at all.
Lessons Learned allows you to continue to record marking scrutiny in the way you have always done but gives you the power to share them, grade them (if you wish) and provide much more detailed feedback to individuals, middle leaders or the senior team. As with other observation types, combining documents and photos will give you the ability to provide a rich, engaging process that means the relevant person knows exactly what they need to do to improve on their marking processes and practices.
Although Ofsted do not expect a lesson plan for every lesson they observe, they do expect to see ‘evidence of effective planning’. This leaves schools needing to be sure that the planning their teachers put into lessons is sufficient and suitable.
Some schools combine scrutiny of planning and marking into one exercise, where the books or work being marked are compared with the planning form prior to the lesson (or set of lessons). Whether they are done as one review or two, Lessons Learned lets staff share the lesson plans they are going to use in advance of the lesson as well as any other information that might support the planning scrutiny feedback.
Whenever a planning scrutiny is recorded, key attachments can be included to provide a clear picture of which planning documents were assessed along with suggested actions.
Pupil voice, in the form of surveys or discussion can be very useful when trying to gather an idea of the quality of teaching. Ofsted will talk to pupils when they visit and the inspector will use those discussions to inform the decision they make of quality of teaching overall and over time.
Whether recorded in the form of paper or electronic feedback forms from pupils or via recording of audio/video, schools are finding great use in recording pupil voice feedback on the system, along with any additional information that might be pertinent.
The data can be attached to a basic version of the form, along with comments and feedback the pupils have provided. You are unlikely to want to grade a pupil voice record, but do have the option should you want to give pupils the opportunity to do so.
Pupil Data Analysis
Pupil test and assessment data can also play a big part when collecting and collating evidence on quality of teaching and learning within your school. Class data can be linked from an external data management system or attached to an observation (in spreadsheet or summary form) to provide a more rounded picture of the lesson being observed.
Some schools will also use the form to keep comments, additional attachments and also make a graded judgement on the pupil data itself, analysing those grades by subject, year group or class so that they have an idea of where pupil data sits in the whole school teaching and learning picture.
As a Senior Team it is essential that you have an idea of the CPD needs of individual staff as well as departments if appropriate. Schools are using Lessons Learned to track CPD needs using development point summaries, before providing a basic version of the form that allows individuals to provide feedback, comments and attachments summarising the CPD they attended and how they found it.
We aim to include even more in the way of functionality around CPD tracking and assessing in future versions of the system. If you have any thoughts on how this functionality might work or would like to help test these additions please feel free to get in touch with us.
Would you like to see what the system could do for your school? Book your free, no-obligations demo of Lessons Learned today.
Our on-line demos typically take 30-40 minutes and can be done from the comfort of your office. If you’d like to learn more about what Lessons Learned can do for your school then call us on 0844 963 2242 or email us at email@example.com.
Alternatively, for more information visit our Lessons Learned microsite: www.lessonobservations.org.uk/