Observing for Impact

Training materials aligned to the 2019 Ofsted Inspection Handbook

Managing the observation process

How do you define and manage the observation process across the school?

Agreement of Protocols Activity 14

Outcomes: Teachers understand and accept the observation process because they have been involved in designing the way it works and know what to expect from it. Activity 15


Teachers need to engage with the different purposes of observation.

For each type of observation staff need to know what will happen before, during and after the lesson including:

  • The amount of notice they will receive of an observation
  • How the focus of the observation will be defined, for what purpose and by who
  • The role of the observer in the lesson for each type – ‘what s/he will do’
  • Understanding what will be recorded, in what format and what will be retained
  • Understanding the nature of ‘feedback’ or professional dialogue that they will be engaged in after the observation
  • Understanding what type of further development will be defined, by who and how it will be recorded
  • Understanding what follow up there might be after the observation
  • Knowing what the recorded evidence will be used for and who will have access to it
    Activity 16

Organisation and models for observations Activity 17

Outcomes: There are different accepted models of observation in the school that can be used for different purposes. Activity 18


The purposes of observations need to be understood so that an appropriate model or strategy can be selected to fit the relevant purpose, e.g. if the purpose is to evaluate how much learners are enjoying maths then an observation of part of a lesson combined with talking to a group of learners might suffice

‘Observation’ models include:

  • Full lesson observations
  • Part lesson observations
  • ‘Drop ins’ or ‘learning walks’, i.e. 5-10 minute visits over a sequence of lessons or across lessons for different teachers

What preparation will there be before the observation?

  • Link this to protocols re: notice and clarity of focus
  • Will the observer and teacher meet before the observation to explore the forthcoming lesson in a larger context?
  • Has the nature of the outcomes that are being sought been shared and understood?
    Activity 11 and Activity 12

What is the nature of the conversation after the observation?

  • Is it ‘feedback’, and if so, how is this structured and what ‘judgements’ will be made?
  • Is it ‘professional dialogue’ and if so how is this structured and what outcomes are we seeking?
    Activity 13

How do the school models comply with current legislation and guidance?
Activity 19

Leadership of the process to ensure staff confidence Activity 20

Outcomes: Teachers have confidence in the leadership of the observation process and believe in its value for themselves, the learners and the school, both for improvement and inspection purposes. Activity 21


How do the school’s observation models generate appropriate evidence for Ofsted inspection?
Activity 22

To what degree have teachers been involved in designing the process? How fully do they understand it and share its values?

What training has there been for observers, how are they supported and moderated?
Activity 23

How are the outcomes shared with staff and relevant stakeholders?

How are the outcomes used to identify further development needs and how are these also shared with staff and relevant stakeholders?
Activity 24

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