The peer review of learning and teaching is a critical component in the quality assurance of apprenticeship delivery. The observation of in-class learning and teaching is at the heart of this scheme for our apprenticeships, but we recognise that the delivery of a high quality academic experience is based on more than this.
The quality of teaching, learning and assessment experienced by students has a significant impact on how well they make progress and achieve and as a result the University aspires to deliver good or better teaching for all students. The peer review and enhancement (PRE) observations framework in place is designed to allow the flexibility to accommodate different contexts whilst not becoming burdensome for individuals and to be rigorous and robust whilst also being supportive of those being observed and driving forward improvements in practice for the benefit of students.
Observation of teaching and learning is an established process which allows us to:
We continue to observe teaching, learning and assessment in a variety of ways, but we do not grade individual sessions, with the exception of performance management.
We want to encourage innovation in the classroom and focus on the learners and the learning - grading can often get in the way of that by encouraging teachers to ‘play it safe’. A grade can become the focus of feedback limiting reflection and professional discussion. Our approach mirrors that adopted by Ofsted.
Delivery areas continue to grade the quality of the teaching, learning and assessment in their annual self-assessment reports, and this is informed by the themes Education Inspection Framework. These judgements are supported by evidence drawn from observations, learning walks, marked work, feedback methods, qualification and other outcomes, learner feedback, information about learner progress and destinations, including value added scores.
Observation reports continue to identify strengths and areas for improvement and inform risk alert monitoring and action plans. We use action plans to record targets for sharing good practice, developing practice and identifying where support is needed. The setting and monitoring of actions following all observations is a key part of maintaining and improving quality.
Staff teaching on apprenticeships must be observed in delivery of learning and teaching in an apprenticeship class at least once annually, subject to feedback which suggests the quality of provision needs improvement.
There are three main type of observation activity which may be conducted as part of the annual review:
In a session observation the observer will attend one session and spend at least 30 minutes observing the teaching, learning and assessment taking place. On this basis they will form a judgement to include feedback on good practice and areas of improvement. At the end of the observed session, feedback will be given to the tutor concerned within 48 hours, with formal written feedback within five days. External and internal observations will take this form.
Learning walks provide a snapshot of the students’ experience and can provide an insight into the normal teaching, learning and assessment practice within an area. During a learning walk, the observer will drop into a number of classes for approximately ten to thirty minutes, in order to observe practice. These observations will not formally audit or written up. Learning walks may be used to investigate a particular theme (e.g. the embedding of equality and diversity or health and safety) or as a means of forming an overview about the quality of teaching, learning and assessment in an area (for example as part of an internal quality review). Outcomes from learning walks can then be used to inform professional learning activities or to support the dissemination of good practice.
Your observations and review will be completed by a peer from within the University. This is a reciprocal process, meaning that you will take it in turns to take the role of the reviewer. Your partner will normally be from outside of your School. Within the partnered dialogue, questions are asked to stimulate reflection and discussion, and where appropriate, to provide each other with feedback and support in action planning and ongoing enhancement.
In addition, we ask that a second review is undertaken focussed on one of the following:
Annual reviews and observations for apprenticeships must be conducted by one of the following roles, rather than by a peer. The nature of the activity being observed will dictate who conducts the review.:
Notice of observation would ideally be given, depending on the purpose of the observation. Observers will provide verbal feedback following an observation and a written report will also be produced. Outcomes will be recorded from learning walks and session observations and theses will be categorised by risk alert with outline feedback provided verbally, via email, or both. These comprise (but are not restricted to):
Active learning activities; student-led
|Character strengths||Demonstration and checking of in-session progress||Employability skills|
|Enjoyment and attitude towards learning||Equality and Diversity||British Values||Behaviours and Attitudes|
|Attendance Levels||Target Session||Lesson Objectives||New Skills, Knowledge and Behaviours|
|Progression||Sequential Lesson Planning||Feedback to Students||Quality of Learning|
|Quality of Provisions||Personal Development||Behaviour Management||New Learning and Links from Previous Learning|
If the observation is on a one-to-one tutorial, the observee should obtain permission from the student for the observer to be present.
|During a co-observation two members of the observation team carry out a simultaneous observation, compare the strengths and areas for improvement observed, together with any suggested actions and agree feedback that will be given to the observee.|
|All observers are expected to take part in co-observation activities. This will usually involve being paired with another member of the observation team and we regularly invite external consultants into help validate the accuracy of our observation judgements.|
|Co-observations are scheduled centrally. One of the observers will be responsible for producing the observation report and the second will be nominated the moderator. Usually, a senior member of the observation team will act as moderator.|
|Both observers attend the session to be observed and complete their reports separately.|
|Observers meet and discuss their observations, identifying strengths, areas for improvement and suggested actions, prior to verbal feedback being given.|
|If the co-observation is to train or validate a new member of the observation team, they will present their feedback to the moderator first. The moderator will confirm that judgments are accurate.|
|The observer will finalise the observation report following the verbal feedback and will release this for the moderator to view prior to releasing it to the observee.|
Themes arising from observations of learning, teaching and assessment will be analysed and used to inform ongoing enhancement work and staff continuing professional development. Observation data and success rates will be compared year on year in order to track improvement and to assess the impact of the observation process in enhancing learner success.
|The Quality of Provision||
|The Quality of Learning||
|Enjoyment of Learning and Attitudes||
|Assessment to Support Learning||
|Equality and Diversity including British Values||
|Employability Skills including Maths and English||
|Peer and Partner||Anytime||Directed observations are a good way to share good practice and support improvement. These can be used effectively as a follow-up to formal observation.||As agreed with Manager. Open Door / PRE Observation Weeks|
|Manager / Quality Assurance/ CELT||PRE Observation Weeks||At least one observation per year. May require additional observations depending on judgment. Verbal and written feedback. Observers will comment on learning, teaching, assessment and key strengths and areas for development will be identified. Actions plans are set and discussed. Actions are followed up within 6 weeks and further observations may be required.||Session to be observed will be announced with notice given on the Thursday of the previous week.|
|Manager / Quality Assurance/ CELT||Throughout the year||Formal observations to validate local judgements and provide further feedback about performance in the curriculum area. Deep dive observations may lead to additional actions, and initiated according to risk.||Deep dive will be announced with notice given on the Thursday of the previous week. Any session can be observed over this period.|
|Manager / Quality Assurance / CELT||Any time||Short visits may be themed (e.g., induction, learner progress, English and Maths development, attendance etc.) Can be referred for formal observations. Will not usually result in an individual report. Focus is on learners and what learning is taking place.||Unannounced, or short notice period given of when learning walks are taking place.|
|Manager / Quality Assurance / CELT||Any time related to the assessment strategy / learning plan.||Observations may be focussed on a particular theme and will be used to gain an understadning of cross-University strengths and / or areas for improvement in relation to learning, teaching and assessment. the internal observation team will undertake regular standardisation and moderation activity and will also undertake some co-observation with an external observation team each year to allow benchmarking of practice within the wider sector.||Announced on the Thursday of the previous week.|
|PgCAP delivery team||Anytime as related to the assessment schedule / learning plan.||
Principally concerned with helping the course participant to reflect on and develop their practice and as a result are carried out within the programme by a member of the course team or an allocated mentor.
Observations are a requirement of AdvanceHE as a validation and authentication of practice.
|As scheduled in the programme.|
We try to give feedback that is constructive and is presented as a coaching conversation. Remember, while it is good to share good practice, this is about the observee, not the observer.
Prompt questions / statements
The feedback you receive should be constructive, but it may not always be positive.