lesson observation

Should Ofsted observe lessons?

2019-01-24T10:51:21+00:00May 31st, 2018|Featured|

As you may have seen, Ofsted have published a report which lays the ground work on how they might start observing lessons once more: Six models of lesson observation: an international perspective. Most people will probably accept that if Ofsted are going to inspect schools then should almost certainly observe lessons as part of the inspection process. And, as someone who spends a fair bit of time visiting schools around the country, it’s clear that you can learn a lot about a school from seeing how lessons unfold. But when I observe lessons, I do so informally. I’m not attempting to make [...]

Can we improve school interviews? Part 3: The interview lesson

2017-05-11T17:48:54+01:00May 11th, 2017|psychology|

In Part 1 of this series I reviewed some of the evidence on what makes for effective interviews, and in Part 2 I looked specifically at creating a less biased, more structured formal interview. In this post I'm going to lay out my thoughts on the usefulness of the interview lesson. One of the peculiarities of teaching is that teaching a sample lesson has become a ubiquitous part of the interview process. The received wisdom is that we can work out a lot of what we want to know about a prospective employee's teaching ability by watching them teach a class [...]

Can we improve school interviews? Part 1: A brief review of the research

2020-02-27T09:05:58+00:00May 9th, 2017|leadership|

Recruitment for most employers is straightforward: you advertise, read through applications, invite the people you like in for an interview, think about it for a bit and then enter into negotiations with whoever you most want to employ. In education it's different. Schools are weird. When I was first told how school recruitment works on my PGCE I couldn't believe it, "They do what?" For any non teachers, school recruitment works like this: All candidates for the job are invited in to the school on the same day. Candidates have to plan a lesson for a class they know almost nothing about [...]

You can’t teach an old teacher new tricks…so sack them.

2014-07-23T19:43:43+01:00July 23rd, 2014|Featured|

I rarely reblog posts on my site, but in this case I wanted to make an exception for two (make that three) reasons: 1. This is @cazzbooth's inaugural post I'd like to do my 'umble best to help her build an audience. 2. This post speaks precisely to the style over substance nonsense that is regularly enacted in many many schools all over the UK. The sooner we can move to a system where teachers who get great results are allowed to teach as they see fit, the better. 3. Because it's well written and it confirms my biases. When I recently [...]

5 questions to guard against availability bias and made-up data

2014-08-18T20:41:15+01:00June 8th, 2014|myths|

The cost of bad data is the illusion of knowledge - Stephen Hawking What's more likely to kill you? A shark or a hot water tap? We've all heard stories of killer sharks, but as yet Spielberg hasn't made a thriller about killer plumbing. We reason based on the information most readily available to us. We assume that the risk of dying in a plane crash is greater than the risk of dying on our sofa because plane crashes are so much more dramatic. But we're wrong. This is the availability bias. We make decisions based on the most readily available information [...]

Ofsted: The end of the (lesson grading) affair

2014-06-04T22:11:27+01:00June 4th, 2014|Featured|

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. Ralph Waldo Emerson Back in 2011 I started to decide that grading lessons was wrong. I wasn't exactly sure how to justify this decision beyond the fact that I could see how it warped teaching, made lessons unbearably superficial and put everyone thought an awful lot of completely unnecessary stress. Since then I have put together, what I feel is a pretty convincing case on why it is wrong (on every conceivable level) to grade individual lessons. In December, after sharing these views with the thoroughly charming, 'right-leaning' chaps at [...]

Should Ofsted judge 'quality of teaching'?

2014-05-26T13:23:05+01:00May 26th, 2014|Featured|

We all know, that as well as giving an overall grade, Ofsted give schools an individual judgement against 4 criteria: attainment, behaviour & safety, leadership & management, and quality of teaching. Theoretically it would possible to possible for a school to different grades for all four areas in one inspection. To my knowledge this has never happened. The correlation between some judgements is a lot stronger than others. There is fairly weak correlation between the behaviour grade or the leadership grade with a school's overall grade. It's reasonably common for schools to be awarded one grade higher than their overall grade in either of these categories. But [...]

Ofsted inspectors continue to do whatever they like

2014-05-21T16:34:37+01:00May 21st, 2014|Featured|

A few days a go after reading and retweeting this blog post from @cazzypot on the ongoing vagaries and inconsistencies of Ofsted, A head of MFL at a school in Hounslow got in touch to let me know how dissatisfied she was were here recent experience of the inspectorate. What follows is an edited version of the email she sent me. Ofsted visited my new school in April this year, a week after they had 'done' my previous school. Former colleagues told me of unfair grading despite the fact that inspectors have been instructed not to grade individual lessons. The first day of the inspection just came and [...]

Ofsted's Evaluation Form: the next skirmish!

2014-02-22T10:23:54+00:00February 22nd, 2014|Featured|

The 'do they/don't they' buggers' muddle of whether or not Ofsted inspectors are supposed to grade lessons hasn't really been put to rest. Schools' National Director, Mike Cladingbowl's attempts at clarification have only really served to underline some of the inconsistencies. The crux of the situation as it stands is that while inspectors are not supposed to judge the overall lesson "it is still possible for an inspector to record a graded evaluation on an evidence form under one or more of the four main judgement headings, including teaching". This clumsy compromise is encapsulated in the Evaluation Form used by inspectors to [...]

Are we any clearer? Ofsted explain what they do and don't do

2014-02-21T19:42:02+00:00February 21st, 2014|Featured|

The story so far... On Tuesday I, and four other education bloggers met with Ofsted's National Director of Schools Mike Cladingbowl to discuss, among other things, now and why lessons are graded by Ofsted. We were told, "Inspectors must not grade lessons," and announced this to a jubilant public. Then, questions started popping up and inconsistencies began to emerge. Various inspectors expressed their confusion about what this meant as, it transpired, Ofsted's evaluation forms (EFs) contain a box within which inspectors record a grade for teaching quality. So, what were we to believe? Were inspectors meant to grade lessons or not? [...]

What I learned from my visit to Ofsted

2014-02-21T16:26:14+00:00February 19th, 2014|blogging|

Before reporting on my impressions of the conversation Tom "behaviour guru" Bennett, Ross "the most followed teacher in the UK" McGill, Sheena "Clerk to Governor" Lewington, Tom "head guru" Sherrington and I had with Ofsted's Director of Schools, Mike Cladingbowl, I first need to make a few things clear. I blog about education in no capacity other than as an individual. I am beholden to no one. I have no constituency. I represent no one other than myself, and I am in no way an ambassador for the teaching profession. That said, I've been writing about education for almost three years [...]

Still grading lessons? A triumph of experience over hope

2014-03-17T11:21:08+00:00February 8th, 2014|Featured|

Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper. Francis Bacon To paraphrase Rob Coe's seminal research, yesterday's National Teacher Enquiry Network (NTEN) conference at KEGS in Chelmsford was a triumph of experience over hope. just hoping we're doing the right things is potentially worse than useless: it might be downright damaging. This was a gathering of teachers and school leaders from a wide range of settings, all of whom are focussed on trying to move from a 'hopeful' approach to improving teaching and learning to a more expectant one. Finally there might the first faint glimmers of a new [...]

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