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@TeacherToolkit, Ofsted

The @OfstedNews headlines

Since 2009, inspectors have been instructed not to grade the overall quality of a lesson they visit.”

Here are the headlines clarified from Ofsted’s, Mike Cladingbowl’s article, published today. If you are a teacher – who has received an observation judgement in your career (particularly since 2009) – and do NOT read this document; then all the hard work to communicate on this issue, will be fruitless!

What has happened so far?

As a result of this blog; I then received an invitation to attend a meeting at Ofsted headquarters during the half-term; unaware that other bloggers had also been invited. Following the meeting, I posted my feedback in an edu-blogger mandate for @OfstedNews. You can also read what other bloggers have said too. We actually raised a number of points; but the issue that seems to have spiralled out of control – and quite rightly – is the unclear issue of judging individual lessons!

Left to right: @TomBennett71; @LearningSpy; @ClerkToGovernor; Mike Cladingbowl; @headguruteacher & @TeacherToolkit (18.2.14)

Left to right: @TomBennett71; @LearningSpy; @ClerkToGovernor; Mike Cladingbowl; @headguruteacher & @TeacherToolkit (18.2.14)

Last night, I received a further email from Mike Cladingbowl – Ofsted’s Director, for schools in England. Mike gave a summary of our meeting and its headlines. He then sent a further email containing information to be shared with our community. I felt very *privileged to have been given a chance to read this document; comment on any ‘grey-matter’, before Mike re-read it again; edited and published.

“Cladingbowl seems like an utterly reasonable man who is firmly on the side of common sense.” (@LearningSpy)

Bill Lord has written a good post: ‘Blimey, where did that come from?’ on the need for primary teachers to also be represented. Can I just add here, that Mike has promised further meetings and representations from other groups.



So, not much else here in this blog to report, other than what has been published. I have included the summary from discussions in the original meeting 3 days ago; included conversations with MC last night; and finally from the document published today.

‘There are many misconceptions about why, and how, inspectors observe and gather evidence about teaching, and how that contributes to the overall judgement on the quality of teaching in a school.

In this document Ofsted’s national director for schools Michael Cladingbowl provides further clarity on Ofsted’s approach to lesson observation and evaluation of teaching in schools.’

Published 21st February 2014

Published 21st February 2014

In short:

Do take this information back to your school next week:

  • Inspectors should not give an overall grade for the lesson and nor should teachers expect one.
  • If asked, inspectors will provide feedback to individuals on what they have observed, including the evidence they have gathered about teaching.
  • Evaluation Form is shown below:
Evaluation Form

Evaluation Form

  • They can share the grade for the evidence gathered about teaching, or other aspects, with an individual teacher. In most instances, it should include evidence about what is routine rather than one-off.
  • Inspectors must ensure that this feedback does not seem to constitute a view about whether the teacher is a ‘good’ teacher or otherwise, or if they ‘taught a good lesson’ or otherwise. The feedback they give is confidential.
  • Teachers need to understand this too, as they often clamour to know what ‘grade’ they got. I understand why they want to know, and it can be difficult to differentiate between a grade for teaching and a grade for the teacher. I accept that we may need to do more here.
  • Evidence gathered directly or indirectly about individual teachers by inspectors should never be used by the school for performance management purposes.
  • Inspection is about evaluating the quality of education provided by the school, by considering a range of evidence, and not about evaluating, individually or collectively, the performance of teachers through short lesson observations.

“Too often, it seems to me, inspectors’ visits to lessons are confused with the ones carried out by headteachers whose purpose may be to identify professional development needs or performance management. This is particularly the case with newly qualified teachers, where inspectors and course tutors or mentors are not gathering evidence for the same purpose. Inspectors need to know what the quality of teaching is like across a whole school, and how teachers are supported. We have set much of this out in in our inspection handbook and guidance to schools and inspectors alike. But, if needed, we will revisit this in the next few weeks to make it clearer still for inspectors, teachers and heads.” (MC)


In video:

Further reading:

Read the full report from @MCladingbowl and Ofsted – published today – by clicking here. I am certain Mike is keen to make Ofsted much more transparent and receptive of teachers’ views.

*we (the bloggers) were all given this opportunity. And I do hope if you are reading this, that you will too.


About @TeacherToolkit

Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, a Twitter account which soon evolved into and rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on Twitter in the UK'. He is an award winning teacher and experienced school leader who curates one of the 'most influential blogs on education in the UK'; Onalytica ranks McGill's blog as one of the 'Top-50 Ed-Tech Brands on Education' across the world! In 2015, he was nominated for '500 Most Influential People in the Britain' by The Sunday Times and one of the most influential in the field of education. He is a former Teaching Award nominee for 'Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School in London' and has also written 3 books on teaching.


8 thoughts on “The @OfstedNews headlines

  1. Is this going to remove the kind of comment that I had from OI last time around where I was told that I required improvement because not enough progress was seen in the last 20 minutes of the last lesson of the day on what was recorded as the hottest day of the year when I had spent the first third of the lesson dealing with behaviour issues due to said heat? I really don’t mind people being in my class room so long as they are fair in their feedback and don’t make inane, sweeping comments about something they really have not thought through!

    Posted by Craftyteacher | February 21, 2014, 5:02 PM
  2. A huge thank you to you and your colleagues for your work on behalf of all in the profession. I have felt that I have constantly been playing catch up, trying to find out what I should, or shouldn’t be doing; sometimes getting it right, often getting it wrong. In December I entered the world of Twitter. I think it’s a line from a hymn that goes “I’ve seen the light, I’ve seen the light and that’s why my heart sings” well that’s exactly how I now feel. I feel empowered, confident and ready to further develop my school as a place where the best possible outcomes are sought, and delivered for all. Sure I still have anxieties, who wouldn’t? Yet I now feel part of a much bigger team, all sharing the same anxieties and seeking to do the best by one and all. So thanks, once again for helping me to ‘see the light’.

    Posted by Nicola Wood | February 23, 2014, 2:42 PM


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