Ofsted will no longer grade teachers’ individual lessons during inspections from this week, in what has been described as a “major change” for the inspectorate.
As of tomorrow, the watchdog will give general feedback following lesson observations and look at lessons across the school, rather than dishing out grades on individual lessons. The move follows a trial involving 250 schools in the Midlands area, which according to Her Majesty’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, “proved incredibly popular”. “From September, from next week when all schools are back, when inspectors go into schools they will not grade individual lessons,” Sir Michael said.
“That’s a major change for Ofsted. What we will do is look at lessons across the curriculum, across the school, and make a judgement of the strengths and areas for development. And most important we will see if the headteacher agrees with us.” Sir Michael was speaking to TES in an exclusive interview, which will be featured in Friday’s edition. The decision to drop grading individual lessons will mean inspectors will no longer aggregate scores on lessons in their feedback to the headteacher, but instead will say where teaching was good and where it will need improvement. Ofsted’s policy of grading individual lessons has come under increasing scrutiny in the past year. In March, right-leaning think tank Policy Exchange recommended that they be scrapped. And Sam Freedman, a former policy adviser to Michael Gove who is now head of research at Teach First, went a step further last month by calling for Ofsted to no longer judge overall quality of teaching. “When you look at the data, the teaching grade is the same as the attainment 97 per cent of the time,” he told TES. “So for that 3 per cent where there is a difference, is it worth the upheaval it causes within schools, the misery it causes for individual teachers when they get their teaching graded as a 3 or 4? I don’t think so.” The full details are contained in Ofsted’s newly slimmed down inspection handbook, which was published earlier this month.