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One teacher, 20 observers

Your front-page story about "spies in the classroom" (TES, April 7) reminded me of a recent study visit I made to China.

In a country garden school in Guangdong, southern China, classroom doors are rarely closed. It is not unusual to see 20-plus teachers using their version of planning, preparation and assessment time to observe a colleague teach, take notes and then provide feedback. One of the school mantras is to promote "competent individuals who are diligent learners".

Self-evaluation in a supportive, rather than threatening, culture is essential. First and foremost teachers must be professionally accountable to themselves and their students. Twenty observers may be a bit too supportive, and in England impractical. However, it does enhance the dialogue about teaching and learning that can ultimately have a positive impact on our profession.

George Ford Headteacher Federation of Abbey Schools Darlington

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