Best Practice

Lesson observations: To grade or not to grade...

With Ofsted having told its inspectors to end the practice of graded lesson observations, surely school leaders should follow suit? Matt Bromley looks at how lesson observations need to change.

Ofsted’s national director for schools Mike Cladingbowl has written a document pithily titled Why do Ofsted observe individual lessons and how do they evaluate teaching in schools? It does exactly what it says on the tin. It is a pragmatic, common sense statement of intent.

The highlight, for me, is this – “inspectors should not give an overall grade for the lessons” they observe as part of a school inspection because it would be “nonsensical to suggest that an inspector could give a definitive validation of a teacher’s professional capacity” based on such short-term and superficial evidence ... in much the same way as “we would not expect a surgeon to be judged on a single 25 minute observation of their work”. Sceptical? Read on...

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