Ofsted: ‘don’t use lesson observations to label teachers’

Performance management systems should not be focused too narrowly on lesson observations, according to Ofsted’s lead official for further education and we couldn’t agree more. That’s why we created our Triangulation Tool for our performance management system Standards Tracker. This allows schools and colleges to choose what evidence they want to collect and create their own bespoke forms to capture it.

Educate’s 18 years of experience in performance management

We know from eighteen years of experience that most schools and colleges are different and there is no standard form in use for capturing evidence, so we gave our users the freedom to create and use their own forms. In order to make the forms more powerful each question can be linked to a performance standard which allows the evidence to be automatically stored in the relevant part of the staff member’s performance record. Lessons can still be graded in part or in whole because we know that staff find this feedback useful and they also know that evidence is gathered over time from multiple sources.

“Off the shelf” lessons

This removes the pressure to deliver the “off the shelf” lesson simply for observation. The whole process becomes iterative and collaborative and less stressful for colleagues. One of our schools uses lesson observations from the previous three years (with grades) but gives a higher weighting to the more recent observations. In this way they capture performance over time but also recognise the rapid improvement that staff can achieve and reward it appropriately. Others gather evidence through the forms but make no judgments at all simply recording comments for improvement and what went well. This is all down to choice and the style of leadership and management.

Schedule lesson observations and other forms

Our Triangulation Tool also has a calendar function which schedules dates for capturing evidence either through lesson observations, mark book scrutiny or any other form chosen. In this way appraisers and the senior leadership team can see how complete the evidence record is for each and colleagues can see when observations, etc. are coming up. This means there are no surprises and staff are kept fully informed.

By linking all of this evidence to a performance framework schools and colleges can make objective pay progression decisions backed up by evidence. Furthermore they can report to Governors or to Ofsted on the quality of teaching and click through to show evidence to support their judgments.

Standards Tracker saves hours of time and helps automate many of the tasks of appraisal setting and performance management. To find out more visit www.standardstracker.co.uk or better yet email us at info@standardstracker.co.uk to arrange a demo.