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Subject Leaders...is it our role to give Ofsted style gradings when we observe colleagues teaching our subject?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by becktonboy, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. becktonboy

    becktonboy New commenter

    If such a demand were made of me I would expect training in applying the criteria. It is certainly not standard practice across all LAs.
    Yes and no.
  2. I have not been asked to, nor heard at subject leader meetings of anyone else being asked to do this.
  3. I have been observed by subject leaders and LA advisers using Ofsted gradings. I have also been asked to take part in peer observations using Ofsted gradings. I raised the concerns about the appropriateness of this and was told I was naive and this was now common practice to raise standards. I objected to the peer observations as I am not 'qualified' to judge a teacher's performance against Ofsted gradings. The peer observations didn't take place and were not mentioned again.
  4. I call this stealth inspection. I don't think it's right. It presupposes so much - that the Ofsted criteria is necessarily 'correct' or the only way to observe and 'judge'.
    Headteachers, senior management, subject leaders - surely people with such roles should be there to support professional development - and not 'judge' per se.
    I think that teachers would normarily like to talk about their practice and appreciate some input/suggestions etc. from colleagues - but in some cases teachers dread being observed - not because of minding people in their classrooms, but because visits/observations in classrooms put teachers on the defensive.
    It is my experience, also, that there is insufficient time, or an appropriate slot, allocated to discussion about the lesson, or general practice - and teachers in a sense have no 'right to reply'.
    If a teacher does respond to an observation, it can present as if the teacher cannot accept criticism - and yet the teacher may feel the need to explain his or her rationale and the overall components of their teaching.
    The bottom line is that teachers are too often 'done to', because there is no upwards evaluation or 360 degree feedback processes in the teaching profession. I think this is very wrong in this day and age.
  5. What is the world of education coming to? There is so much mis-information flying about. Think of a 2-form entry primary school with 14 teachers in addition to all the subjects that would have to be monitored and all the verbal and written feedback that would have to be given. Also it's too expensive for schools to release all teachers to do these observations. Ridiculous and totally counter-productive.
    Subject Leaders should look at planning and undertake work scrutiny, but not as a way of judging colleagues. Its purpose is to make judgements about the provision for their subject in the school. This enables them to identify where training support is needed, where there is a gap in resources and what the standards of achievement are in their subject. In their reports to the Leadership Team they should not refer to individuals but to areas for school development. It's purpose is to inform school development planning, It is not their job to monitor teachers. They are not sufficiently well trained to use Ofted ratings and without lengthy training it would be open to misuse.
    Monitoring teaching is the job of those on the Leadership Team who have those specific responsibilities written into their job descriptions and who should receive quality training to undertake that role.
    Peer group observations are about teamwork, personal development and support and should be confidential between the two colleagues. It is something that also needs training and should only be done in a school where teachers are valued and can therefore trust each other. The person being observed would choose the focus of the observation because it would be an area they themselves want to develop further. If schools have enough money to spend on releasing techers to do observations they should spend it on this.
    ThanK goodness I've retired!
  6. Of course the purpose of observations should be developmental, but they also have to carry an element of judgement.(Not only because one of the first Qs an inspector tends to ask is " what is the standard of T&L? And how do you know?)
    I do not think, in primary observations by subject leaders should be focussed on anything other than the learning and progression of the subject. They should not be focussed on the quality of teaching in a particular class per se. That is the job of leadership, who should be trained in how to judge lessons properly.
    Nor should a teacher be condemned on the basis of one observation! We all have off days and in spite of the best planning and prep, a lesson can go pear shaped.

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