The New Ofsted Framework for Teaching and Learning
The new framework completes the shift of attention in recent years away from the evaluation of teaching to the evaluation of the learning taking place.
The inspectors will be looking for evidence of the PROGRESS the pupils have made in the lesson (note that this makes it essential to include a good plenary, in which the pupils focus naturally on the learning outcomes). As well as the actual content of the lesson, inspectors will expect the teacher to have appropriately taken into account the pupils’ prior learning, and evidence of consistent achievement in the pupils’ exercise books – a one-off spectacular will not secure a high level.
Levels are awarded 1—7 against four distinct elements:
1. Teaching: what the teacher is doing.
2. Learning: the activities and processes the children go through.
3. Achievement: how much they’ve moved forward during the lesson.
4. Standards: the absolute standard of the class against the national average for the pupils’ age.
Note that it is much more important to succeed with elements 2 and 3 than to be good at 1. The teacher cannot do anything about element 4, and it is quite feasible that a brilliant lesson with a special needs class could score 1,1,1,6.
The inspector may also choose to award (or not award) levels against any or all of the following where evidence in the lesson justifies a comment:
• Pupils’ attitudes, values and personal qualities
• Guidance and support
though these are less about the quality of your lesson, than about gathering exemplar evidence for the quality of these things across the school.
Clear descriptors are provided for the 7 levels, as follows:
2 Very Good:
All pupils are engrossed in their work and make considerably better progress than might be expected. Achievement is very high. Teaching is stimulating, enthusiastic and consistently challenging, stemming from expert knowledge of the curriculum, how to teach it and how pupils learn. There are excellent relationships in the classroom. Teaching methods are well selected and time is used very productively for independent and collaborative work. Activities and demands are matched sensitively to pupils' needs. Well-directed teaching assistants, and paired or joint teaching, reinforce and strongly support learning. Non-classroom-based Key Stage 4 and sixth-form activities such as private study, research and work placements, develop competencies very effectively.
Most pupils make good progress and achieve well. Teaching methods are imaginative and lead to a high level of interest from most pupils. Individual needs are well catered for, and teaching assistants are well deployed and make a significant contribution. Adults relate well to pupils and expect them to work hard, but the level of challenge is realistic and pupils are productive. Staff understand the next steps pupils need to take in their learning and they provide a wide range of activities to help . them learn. Homework is challenging and extended assignments, for example in the sixth form, effectively extend what is learned in lessons.
Most pupils' learning and progress are at least satisfactory. Teaching is accurate; teachers have secure understanding of the curriculum and the teaching of key skills. They seek to make work interesting and varied, and they involve pupils productively. Pupils understand what they are expected to do, and tasks have sufficient challenge to keep them working well, independently or co-operatively. The school provides successfully for pupils who do not respond well to school or who have difficulties in learning. Relationships are constructive and there is sensitivity to the needs of individuals and groups. Support staff are adequately managed and soundly contribute to pupils' learning. Homework extends class learning well. Pupils are given scope to make choices and apply their own ideas.
Learning cannot be satisfactory if any of the following characteristics are evident:
A significant proportion of pupils make limited progress and underachieve. Teaching is dull and fails to capture pupils' interest and enthusiasm. Activities are mundane and, because of limited tuning to individuals' needs, some pupils get little from them. Greater effort is exerted on managing behaviour than learning. Some pupils are easily distracted and lack the motivation to work. Staff have an incomplete understanding of subjects or courses, resulting in patchy coverage. Their sights may be set too low and they may accept pupils' efforts too readily. Support staff provide an extra pair of hands, but little effective support for learning.
Many pupils underachieve and make little or no progress. Teaching lacks challenge and little or no account is taken of what pupils already know. Groups of pupils may not be able to cope, and may disengage or misbehave. Inaccuracies in teaching show insecurity in the subject matter or in understanding how pupils learn. Many pupils are unwilling to work without supervision, and group work is unproductive. Support staff are poorly managed, lack knowledge and skills, and contribute little.
If you read the descriptors, you can see that the inspectors are looking at eight competencies:
1. Progress and achievement
3. Pupil repsonse
7. Teaching assistants
I have split these up into a grid which you are welcome to download and use from <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>www.greenfield.durham.sch.uk/Wordfiles/ofsted.doc</span>. It will allow teachers to rate and improve their own teaching, and observers to evaluate the lesson.
It is not expected that a lesson will achieve at a consistent level throughout the hour – inspectors will be looking to find the ‘critical mass’ which puts a lesson at a certain level, rather than a ‘purple patch’ of the lesson. Note that the inspectors are especially hoping to see interactivity in the learning, together with pace and differentiated challenge.
However, factual errors in the teaching disqualify, and staff’s attention is drawn to the separator statement between level 4: satisfactory and level 5: unsatisfactory – ‘A lesson cannot be satisfactory if ANY of the following characteristics are evident’.
• A school-accepted lesson plan is expected. We have this, and I feel it is still suitable.
• The trigger for special measures is 10% lessons unsatisfactory or worse.