Observation Policy

Classrooms and workplaces are the most significant physical spaces within which the progress and outcomes of many learners are shaped. BCE has a well-qualified and experienced staff group and it is the methods and approaches planned and taken that primarily enable teaching staff to demonstrate their abilities and set the scene for learner engagement, motivation, attainment and achievement. Effective methods and approaches can enthuse disaffected learners and stimulate others further, and help establish a culture within which learners become cooperative, active, reflective and self-directing.

Scope and purpose

This policy applies to all members of staff delivering learning and teaching for or on behalf of BCE. Staff will normally be expected to engage with no more than two periods of observation during an academic year, this usually consists of at least 1 from BCE and 1 from either a Partner or OFSTED. It is also expected that each member of staff will participate in a peer observation.

The purpose of the policy is to ensure the further and more systematic improvement of learning and teaching. This will be achieved by enabling BCE, the opportunity of more meaningfully and professionally acknowledging and engaging with practice issues. The mechanism of this will be the analysis of strengths, good practice and areas for further development of learning and teaching and setting targets at programme level and above to facilitate quality enhancement.

Strength: practice that significantly promotes effective learning and has a positive impact on a learner or learners

Good practice that promotes effective learning and has a positive impact on a learner or learners

Area for further development: practice that detracts from positive learning.

It is also the purpose of this policy to create a wider perspective and to identify professional development needs in relation to learning and teaching and to facilitate such development where this is appropriate.


The observer will be a member of the quality team or management, who is qualified and has been appropriately trained in classroom observation.

Observation is a period of no less than 30 minutes and no more than one hour during which the observer observes the learning and teaching experience of learners and makes judgements about the lesson’s strengths, good practice and areas for further development The observer will also assess evidence relating to programme and lesson essential skill development.

Roles and responsibilities

Members of staff observed will adhere to BCE policy and facilitate the observations as notified. Observed staff should ensure that any changes to delivery (e.g. start-end times, location, etc.) are made known to the observer prior to the observation. Observed staff should ensure that the observer has the opportunity to observe extended periods of learning and teaching. Observations should not be scheduled during non-interactive assessment.

The team will be given three working days’ prior notice. Using the appropriate pro-forma, a record of classroom observation will be made noting lesson strengths, good practice and areas for further development.

Staff observed will receive feedback where strengths, good practices and areas for further development will be discussed within the context of a professional dialogue. A copy of the record will be provided to the observed member of staff and a copy kept in their HR file.

Observers, as with members of staff in other roles, must report immediately to the relevant manager health and safety breaches and/or professional misconduct.

Access to and of use of information

The specific strengths, good practice and areas for further development of the individual member of staff will, in so far as that is possible, be known only to that member of staff and their observer.

Management of observation

By the end of September and February the observation team will be advised of their schedule of observations. The profile or distribution of observations will be based on a range of factors apparent during any given academic year.

As a team decision, BCE will continue to grade observations throughout the process.

Further observations

If, having discussed the evidence that forms the basis of judgements made:

  • A member of staff would like a further opportunity to be observed, this should be made known to the observer. The observed member of staff should then arrange a meeting with the Head of Quality. The observed member of staff may request the same or a different observer, and the further observation will take place within two weeks of the initial observation.
  • The observer deems improvements are required meaning a further observation is necessary, the observed member of staff will be re-observed within 6 weeks. Following from this observation if there are still actions to be met and action plan will be put in place to support the member of staff in achieving this.