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Are lesson observations a lottery?

20 March 2014

A report by the think-tank Policy Exchange has suggested lesson observations undertaken as part of an Ofsted inspection are not a valid or reliable way of assessing teacher performance and is recommending that Ofsted inspections should be focussed on data. The report also criticises the level of outsourcing by Ofsted to independent companies to undertake inspections and suggests schools should be inspected for one day every two years. In response Ofsted have highlighted a number of areas of agreement but state that given inspection of teaching is at the centre of their work, there is an expectation that lesson observations perform a key role.

Inspections must have a wider focus than data in the same way schools should be more than just exam factories. Inspections must continue to cover the full range of activities undertaken by a school which may not be reflected in data and that will include the enthusiasm and expertise of teachers and their relationship with students. That forms a key part of the education experience and will not be reflected in a spreadsheet.

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