Lesson Observations

Introduction

A suitable monitoring and support programme must be put in place for the NQT (newly qualified teacher), personalised to meet their professional development needs. This must include:

  • Support and guidance from a designated induction tutor who holds QTS and has the time and experience to carry out the role effectively
  • Observation of the NQT’s teaching and follow-up discussion
  • Regular professional reviews of progress
  • NQT’s observation of experienced teachers either in the NQT’s own institution or in another institution where effective practice has been identified

There are four kinds of meetings that NQTs will experience during induction:

  • Feedback meetings after lesson observations
  • Informal meetings
  • Professional review meetings
  • Assessment meetings

Observation of the NQT’s teaching practice

A NQT’s teaching should be observed at regular intervals throughout their induction period to facilitate a fair and effective assessment of the NQT’s teaching practice, conduct and efficiency against the relevant standards. Observations of the NQT may be undertaken by the induction tutor or another suitable person who holds QTS from inside or outside the institution. Although it is not prescribed, it is advisable that the first observation should take place within the first several weeks of induction commencing.

The choice of focus for the observations should be informed by the requirements of the Teachers’ Standards and the NQT’s personal objectives for career development. Observations should be supportive and developmental.

The NQT and the observer should meet to review any teaching that has been observed. Feedback should be prompt and constructive. Arrangements for review meetings should be made in advance and a brief written record made on each occasion. It should indicate where any development needs have been identified.

Lesson observation proforma against Teachers' Standards

Professional progress reviews of the NQT

The induction tutor should review the NQT’s progress at frequent intervals throughout the induction period. Reviews should be informed by evidence of the NQT’s teaching. Objectives should be reviewed and revised in relation to the relevant standards and the needs and strengths of the individual NQT. The NQT should record evidence of progress towards objectives and agreed steps to support them in meeting their objectives. Evidence should come from practice.

Formal assessments

NQTs should have formal assessments carried out by either the head teacher/principal or the induction tutor. These could be undertaken on a termly basis so that they have three per year. It is for the institutions and NQTs to agree exactly when the assessment dates are set, which should occur towards the end of term and in sufficient time to inform the formal assessment report for sbmission to the Appropriate Body (AB),  Evidence used in assessments must be clear and transparent and a copy provided to the NQT and submitted as required by the AB.

Formal assessment meetings should be informed by evidence gathered during the preceding assessment period and drawn from the NQT’s work as a teacher, from their induction programme and a review of progress against targets previously set. Judgements made during the induction period should relate directly to the relevant standards. NQTs should be kept up to date on their progress. There should be no surprises.

Formal assessment reports should be completed for the first and second assessments. These reports should clearly show assessment of the NQT’s performance against the relevant standards at the time of the assessment.

The final assessment meeting is at the end of the induction period. This will form the basis of the head teacher’s/principal’s recommendation to the Appropriate Body as to whether, having completed their induction period, the NQT’s performance against the relevant standards is satisfactory, unsatisfactory, or whether or not an extension should be considered. This recommendation should be recorded on the final assessment form. Where there are concerns about progress or the NQT is at risk of failing, this should be indicated as early as possible the local authority named contact.

Once assessment forms have been completed, the NQT should add their comments. They should then be signed by the induction tutor, head teacher/principal and the NQT. Once signed, the NQT should be given a hard copy and the assessment submitted according to the arrangements in place with the Appropriate Body.

Lesson observation further guidance and resources for NQTs

Self Evaluation

This proforma is designed to help you evaluate the success of your own lesson(s). Regular self-evaluation is an important feature of induction. You may also wish to design your own self-evaluation proforma with a focus on your own objectives.

Evidence form 1 self evaluation

Guidance for lesson observations

When being observed

  • agree focus of observation beforehand (refer to your objectives)
  • negotiate a date, time and duration
  • agree the role of the observer during lesson
  • agree the time and the place for feedback
  • discuss and agree how the feedback will be recorded
  • be prepared – have resources ready
  • provide a copy of the lesson plan and resources
  • retain the records of lesson observations in your ‘portfolio of evidence’ for discussion at  professional review meetings.

This proforma may be used by your tutor when observing your lessons. A focus for the lesson observation should be identified, which is in line with your own objectives.

You might ask your induction tutor if he/she will use this proforma or one of the school’s own observation proformas. This written record supports future discussions about your progress.

Evidence form 2 - mentor subject tutor observation of NQT lesson

Other useful documents

Professional dialogue following lesson observation pro-forma

When observing another colleague

  • agree the focus and purpose of the observation beforehand (refer to your own objectives, e.g. specific aspects of teaching or specific aspects of learning)
  • share the NQT observation sheet beforehand
  • negotiate a date, time and duration
  • request any relevant documentation that might help you
  • agree your role during the lesson
  • agree the time and place for follow-up/discussion, if relevant
  • acknowledge your colleague’s help.

We recommend observing an experienced colleague at least once each term. This is a suitable activity to undertake in your ten per cent timetable release time. All written evidence of lesson observations should be stored in your ‘portfolio of  evidence’ for discussion during professional review meetings.

Professional progress reviews of the NQT – further guidance and resources

The induction tutor should review the NQT’s progress at regular intervals throughout the induction period. Reviews should be informed by evidence of the NQT’s work, e.g. observation of teaching or scrutiny of lesson plans.

Objectives should be reviewed and revised in relation to the Teacher's standards and the needs and strengths of the individual NQT.

The NQT should maintain a record of evidence of progress towards objectives and any new objectives set within the development plan, as well as identification of the steps to be taken to support the NQT in meeting the objectives. Evidence should come from day-to-day practice e.g. examples of planning and self evaluation

Preparation for professional review meetings and action planning

Checklist for Induction Tutor

  • plan time and venue – record on year planner in advance
  • allow at least one hour of uninterrupted time
  • share the agenda with NQT
  • gather your own materials in advance e.g. previous review meeting record and action plan, lesson observation notes, notes of any other observations relating to the standards, blank proforma for revised action plan, review meeting records and CPD information
  • encourage the NQT to bring their ‘portfolio of evidence’ with all relevant documents to support review and action planning.

NQT preparation for professional review meetings:

  • allow at least one hour of uninterrupted time
  • consider the agenda in advance; plan for points that you wish to be discussed
  • reflect on achievements for the half-term (refer to objectives)

NQT self-review against Teachers' Standards

 

  • update ‘portfolio of evidence’ relating to your achievements towards meeting your objectives recorded on your action plan e.g. planning, pupil records, examples of pupils’ work, examples of marking
  • consider the support or CPD needed for your next phase 
  • reflect on your time management and work-life balance.
 

Formal assessments of NQT progress – further guidance and resources

There should be three formal assessment meetings during the induction period, between the NQT and either the headteacher/principal or the Induction Tutor (acting on behalf of the headteacher). For an NQT working full-time in an institution operating a three-term year, these would normally take place towards the end of each term. However for part-time NQTs and institutions with more than three terms in a year the assessments should be carried out at equidistant intervals throughout the induction period. It is for institutions and NQTs to agree exactly when the assessment dates are set, but the final assessment should occur as near to the end of the induction period as possible. Good practice is to schedule dates for formal assessment(s) on appointment at the start of the induction period/part period.

The induction tutor will, on behalf of the headteacher or principal, play a key role in providing and co-ordinating assessment throughout the NQT’s induction programme. Where more than one person is involved in providing support and/or assessment, individual responsibilities should be clearly specified and agreed at the beginning of the induction period. All parties with a role should have clear arrangements for sharing information so that monitoring and assessment is based on, and Informed by, evidence from the NQT’s teaching and professional development.

The first form is used for the end of the first and second assessment period. At the end of the third term assessment period the NQT induction summary statement proforma should be used. Currently, these assessments should be submitted online through the NQT manager system. These must be:

  • dated and signed by the headteacher, induction tutor and NQT
  • sufficiently detailed: The report must cover the NQT’s strengths; areas requiring further development, even where progress is satisfactory (for example aspects of the Teachers’ Standards which the NQT has yet to meet); and areas of concern; evidence used to inform the judgements; and, targets for the coming term. Comments must be in the context of and make reference to each of the specific Teachers’ Standards

Download the full the Teachers' Standards on the .GOV website.