Research shows two thirds of schools have changed their approach to observing lessons in the last two years

Research from BlueSky Education has revealed that two thirds of schools (68%) have changed their lesson observation practice and more than half of schools (59%) no longer grade observations or use grades rarely.

Whether inspired by Ofsted’s decision to no longer grade lessons or simply driven by a desire to move away from the high-pressure, make or break nature of observations, 44% of schools also reported doing fewer formal lesson observations than they did before. These are often being replaced with learning walks, work scrutinies and informal drop ins.

Stephen Rollett, curriculum & inspection specialist, the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“We are entering a new phase with many schools changing the way they look at standards, monitor what is happening in the classroom and support their teachers’ continuing professional development.”

Nearly two thirds of schools (64%) still reported doing some form of formal lesson observation regularly, but many of those interviewed for the study reported a more collaborative approach, where the teacher is involved in setting objectives.

BlueSky Education’s managing director, Denise Inwood, a former senior school leader, said:

“The high-stakes, graded lesson observation of the past is thankfully being assigned to the history books. Schools are finding more supportive ways of developing their teaching staff, which often put the teacher in the driving seat.”

Ben Hill, deputy head of Parrs Wood High School, said:

“We haven’t graded lessons for a number of years. The teacher rather than the observer often comes up with the development points, which we feel is a more useful way of working.”

The research is published today in a report entitled, ‘The quiet uprising: A report into the changing shape of lesson observations in schools’ which also includes examples of best practice from schools. It can be downloaded at https://www.blueskyeducation.co.uk/quiet-uprising-report. Paper copies of the report will also be available at Bett on the BlueSky stand NN57.

In summary

The key findings:

  • 59% of schools have moved away from grading observations or use it rarely
  • 94% of schools carry out informal drop ins regularly or some of the time




Notes to the editor: 

  • The survey was undertaken by BlueSky Education. 204 state and independent schools were surveyed from both the primary and secondary sectors.
  • Denise Inwood, BlueSky’s managing director and a former senior school leader, is available to interview on this topic.
  • An infographic image representing these statistics is also available. 

About BlueSky Education 

BlueSky Education supports organisations in the education sector with staff development, professional learning, and quality assurance. With members in over 26 countries and portfolios worldwide, BlueSky’s modules integrate seamlessly to create the definitive solution. 

BlueSky Education is an ASCL Premier Partner. 

Media contact: 

Alesha Allen, Catherine Lane PR 

Tel:  07960 166 988 Email:  alesha@catherinelane.com