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Introduction Learning and teaching is at the heart of what the school is about and is central to the experience of students. The assessment of learning and teaching is part of the schools selfassessment process and is in tune with the schools commitment to continuous improvement. With the introduction of Personal Review and Development (PRD), lesson observation has become increasingly important. The schools commitment to the induction of Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) and the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) programme has also necessitated formalising of lesson observation. Thus lesson observations are both a mechanism for providing evidence of excellence in the classroom, both for performance management and for the ongoing process of self-examination and the sharing of good practice across the school.


Aims of Lesson Observation For clarification purposes, these are, as we see them, the main aims of lesson observations. To promote the improvement of teaching and learning To provide a robust evidence base for self-assessment, inspection, appraisal, etc To promote the sharing of good practice within school To identify action points for improvement.


General Principles Everyone should both observe and be observed. The least experienced can learn from the most experienced and new members of staff can pass on new ideas to more established members of staff. The lesson observation scheme should produce quantitative as well as qualitative judgements about teaching and learning. Peer observation should be retained within the scheme.


Assessment Criteria The criteria for effective learning and teaching are set out in the ISI guidelines. In the case of peer observations, the emphasis is not only on judging the lesson but also on what the observer has learned in terms of good practice.


Observation Peer Observation All staff will observe one of their colleagues each year. These lessons will not be graded, but still can be used as evidence of teaching and learning in the Self Assessment Report. 1
Lesson Observation Policy SM26 Last amended: 03/10/2012

Top Down Observation Heads of Department will observe staff within their subject at least once each year.


Operational Details Timing Peer observations will take place by mutual agreement. Top Down observations will take place throughout the course of the academic year. Cover Lessons will be covered. Heads of Department may need to leave classes in order to observe lessons, although lessons will be observed when Head of Department is not teaching, as far as possible. Range Heads of Department will observe the range of courses and year groups in their subject area. One-person subjects A Head of Department with no other staff in his/her subject area if asked to join with another Head of Department to peer observe.


Training Training for all staff on new lesson observation scheme will take place.


Procedure for Classroom Observation Prior to the observation, the lesson plan should be passed to the observer and the date, time and lesson with to be observed agreed with the teacher. During the observation, the observer will use the Lesson Observation Guidelines (See Appendix A) and make the appropriate notes. Plan for the feedback/discussion should take place as soon as possible after the lesson and ideally within a maximum of 24 hours. During the feedback session, the observer will discuss the completed Lesson Observation Record (see Appendix B) with the teacher and the teacher will sign to say that a debrief has been given.

A copy of all the documentation will be passed to the Director of Studies. 2

Lesson Observation Policy SM26 Last amended: 03/10/2012


Guidelines for Observing Lessons Prior to the Observation Give notice to the teacher to be observed and mutually agree a time. Decide which group and which lesson. You might ask to see: The scheme of work Assessment Records Examples of students work Decide a time and a suitable place for your feedback session. This should be within 24 hours. Agree which part of the lesson you will observe and whether you will simply arrive and sit down, whether the teacher will introduce you to the students, etc. If possible, arrive before the students. Remember that any external presence has an effect on class dynamics. You should attempt to put both staff and students at ease. Agree a procedure for ending the observation session whether you quietly leave, or excuse yourself with thanks. It is a requirement that every lesson is planned therefore there must be evidence of planning. However, the style of lesson plan may vary according to the type of session. You should also see a copy of the record of assessment. Agree the role of the observer in the session passive or active. Decide where you will sit, whether with the students or not. In a workshop session you should agree whether you will join in the activities and/or talk to the students. Discuss whether observation of students work is relevant, and if so when, where and how. (It will be an exceptional case if no work is available). If you do this, you should see a range of work/students files. Agree whether this should be as part of the session, or at another pre-arranged time and place. The Observation Session Arrive on time. Make sure you join the class at the point you agreed. Keep to your agreed role. Do not join in if you had agreed to be a passive observer. Take care not to interfere with the progress of the session.

Lesson Observation Policy SM26 Last amended: 03/10/2012

You are a guest in the classroom and the member of staff being observed will have gone to considerable trouble to prepare the session. Avoid the temptation to team teach, take over, answer or ask questions. Do not assume a single model of good practice. This will be a learning experience for the observer. One of the main aims of the exercise is to encourage good practice. 10. Feedback to the Member of Staff Observed Feedback/discussion should be provided as soon as possible after the observation session, though you will need to give yourself enough time to reflect and complete the Lesson Observation Record. The time and place should be agreed with the teacher. You need to be able to talk in comfort and in private. Matching free time slots will be difficult but make sure no-one is put in the situation of being late for a class. Set a time limit. Try to limit the feedback session to twenty minutes maximum.

Feedback should: Start with comments from the person observed. Be on a lesson observed. Concentrate on what you actually saw. Focus on teaching, learning and attainment. Clearly identify good practice and development points. It is essential to specify strengths (of which the teacher may not be aware) and record examples. Critical comments should be constructive and supportive Concentrate on specific points rather than minor details. Small points may not affect the learning experience of the students. Avoid conjecture and be supported by evidence. Be supportive and not judgemental. You are looking for evidence of good practice. Every session will raise some possibilities for improvement or further development, or even an opportunity to share some new ideas. If something did not work, it too should be discussed as a development issue and if issues raised suggest that: o o o o there are resource or accommodation problems; there are student recruitment problems; there are student problems outside the scope of the teacher to address; there are teacher training/staff development problems. 4
Lesson Observation Policy SM26 Last amended: 03/10/2012

Then you should discuss with the teacher what further action should be taken. 11. Appendices

A) Lesson Observation Guidelines

Original document held by: Member of Staff Responsible: Last Reviewed: Review Date:

Heads PA Deputy Head September 2012 September 2015

Lesson Observation Policy SM26 Last amended: 03/10/2012

Appendix A Lesson Observation Guidelines Features of good lessons identified: 1. Setting of clear objectives which are made known to the learners. 2. Enthusiastic and interesting teaching which provides an enjoyable experience for learners. 3. Activities that are suitable for all learners, whatever their age, ability and cultural background, and which are suitably demanding. 4. Awareness of different individuals needs for example evidence of use of MInt and G&T strategies. 5. Effective questioning of learners to check their understanding. 6. Learners demonstrating their achievements through improved knowledge, understanding and skills. 7. Skilful leadership of discussions to ensure that learners contributions are encouraged and valued. 8. Clear explanations, particularly of the links between theoretical knowledge and its practical applications. 9. Accurate and up-to-date technical knowledge. 10. Sensitivity to equal opportunities issues. 11. Clear writing on whiteboards and overhead projectors. 12. Interesting and relevant use of ICT. 13. Good-quality handouts that are well produced, free from errors and which contain references where appropriate. 14. Sufficient coverage of ground in the topic. 15. Effective management of any transition between individual and group work. 16. A crisp end to the lesson, summarising what has been learned and avoiding tailing off. Some other features: 1. Links made to previous lessons. 2. Clear lesson plan and scheme of work. 3. Variety of activities with awareness of different learning styles. 4. Good pace and clear structure. 5. Good relationships allowing contributions from students. 6. Good attendance and punctuality with lesson starting and finishing on time. 7. Good use of student feedback. 8. Lively and positive responses from students. 9. Thoughtful and perceptive responses. 10. Effective working relationships.

The following list constitutes features of good lessons. Please use them as an aide-memoire when writing judgements. TEACHING Planning Lesson is part of a detailed scheme of work.

Clear structure and purpose. Lesson incorporates study skills and is designed to suit individual students learning styles. Resources are planned or organised in advance. Objectives are made clear to the learners. Learners understand the skills, knowledge and understanding they will acquire. Where appropriate content is matched to individual students interest, learning goals and ability levels. Where possible learning is put into real life context.

Managing Learners Poor punctuality and/or attendance is challenged. Positive teacher/learner relationships facilitate progress. Teacher provides appropriate leadership and direction. Learners are clear about what they have to do to achieve. Tasks and activities display pace, variety and appropriate timing. Individual support is given to match students learning requirements and abilities. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning and to become actively involved in lessons.

Managing the Learning Strategies Strategies are designed to enable learners to meet the learning objectives. The different abilities and needs of students are recognised and met. Strategies avoid passive learning and encourage active participation. There is evidence of the encouragement and use of collaborative learning. The use of resources enhances learning.

Assessment and Feedback Appropriate and frequent checks are made on learning. Both informal and formal assessment methods are planned and used. Marking and assessment procedures are explained and easily understood by learners. Methods allow for the progress of individuals to be identified and measured. Verbal feedback and comments on written work are constructive and enable learners to make further progress. Use is made of assessment to inform planning.

LEARNING Motivation of Learners Learners are kept challenged, interested and motivated throughout the lesson. Learners are actively involved in the learning process. Learners skills, knowledge and understanding are developed. Learners take responsibility for their learning. Learners feel confident to seek help when required. Learners use their time effectively.

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Learners understand the assessment methods and criteria.

Meeting Individual Learners Needs Learners are following appropriate course for prior achievement and future aspirations. Learners know and understand the lesson outcomes and course requirements. The individual needs and abilities of all learners are met. Learners can relate new learning to old and make links between them. Learners are aware of action required to improve.

ATTAINMENT Standard of work is appropriate to the qualification. Standard is appropriate to learners own goals. Standard is good in relations to learners prior achievement. Learners are reaching challenging goals and are being extended. Objectives of the lesson are met. Skills and understanding are developed and applied. Students are developing a capacity for critical evaluation, research and analysis. Students are able to organise and complete practical tasks on time and to an appropriate standard. Progress/added value is evident for all students within the lesson and over time.

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