New Ofsted lesson observation guidelines

Posted by Rosie Neill on November 13, 2014

In an attempt to reduce unnecessary workloads for your school and to clarify exactly what is required of you when preparing for an Ofsted lesson observation, the government body has published new guidelines which detail everything you don’t need to do.

Save yourself and your colleagues some time by reading and sharing this quick summary of the new Ofsted lesson observation guidelines:

teacher showing a pupilLesson Planning

  • There’s no need for you to provide inspectors with individual lesson plans.
  • You also don’t need to show any of your previous lesson plans.
  • Inspectors are less interested in the form of your planning and more concerned with its effectiveness. So, you don’t need to specify how you set out your plans, the length of time your planning takes or the amount of detail your planning contains.


  • There is no particular format that you must use when providing evidence that you self-evaluate your teaching.

Grading of lessons

  • Your inspector won’t grade any individual lessons.
  • Similarly, they won’t give you a grade for the quality of your teaching during an individual lesson.
  • You’re not expected to use the Ofsted evaluation schedule to grade your teaching or any individual lessons.

pe teacher in the classroom with studentsLesson Observations

  • Your school won’t need to provide inspectors with specific details of the pay grade of any individual teachers they are observing.

Pupil’s Work

  • Inspectors aren't looking for a particular amount of work in your pupils’ books or folders. They recognise that the amount of work in a pupil’s book can depend on the age and ability of that student.
  • Inspectors don’t expect to see extensive written dialogue between you and your pupils in exercise books and folders. They will look at how you use different forms of feedback to promote learning.

Evidence for Inspection

  • You don’t need to provide extensive collections of marked pupils’ work.
  • There’s no particular format for you to provide performance and pupil-tracking data in. It should be presented in whichever format your school uses to collect it.
  • You shouldn't undertake additional work or ask your pupils to do work specifically for the inspection.
  • Your school won’t need to provide evidence for each teacher, for each of the bulleted sub-headings in the Teachers’ Standards.

You can read Ofsted’s full clarification for schools here.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) have generally welcomed these guidelines, but have also said that Ofsted need to clarify exactly what it is they do expect schools to do in order to meet their inspection criteria. Do you agree?

Your thoughts?

Do you think the new Ofsted lesson observation guidelines will be useful in reducing the workload your school has in preparation? We’d love to hear from you: please leave your thoughts in the comments section below or share on Twitter.


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