Setting out educational ideas for high achieving girls

The top 10 rules for successful teaching.

We are very aware as a school that we are vulnerable to judgements made by outside inspectors, and we have worked with professional advisers, working with staff and with outside agencies to try to ensure that we keep our Outstanding status.

In this “top ten” of Teaching and Learning, the italics refer to the Ofsted 2012 standards and guidance for the judgement of Teaching.

 Quality of Learning

 This is the key phrase that you will see repeated over and over when describing judgements about teaching. Clearly it is a rather nebulous, subjective phrase, and this document tries to provide you with a structure  to achieve this goal. Anything you do in the classroom will be judged on “how well does it help the pupils to learn”. The biggest thing to stress is that if you have good information, which shows what you are doing, don’t assume any inspector would notice it. Have it to hand and be ready to pass it on: lesson plans, mark books, progress trackers, pupil analyses of learning etc. If it’s good and you do it, be ready to show it.

 The observer should be aware of the need to make judgements that centre on the impact on the quality of learning


 Your lesson must show challenge. Think how to achieve this. Your questioning must be rigorous and stretch their learning. If everyone is doing the same questions, are some of them bored? Or are questions not appropriate for the level of the group? Trio work, performance management, learning walks: get people to come and have a look and advise you about how much you’re helping them stretch their learning. Use your colleagues to help you with this. Let us know how else we can help you.

 “All teachers have consistently high expectations of all pupils”


 Your pupils must show progress. There must be a mechanism somehow built into what you are doing that allows a pupil to see how they are moving forward. If they can’t, then neither will an inspector. Plenary, baselining, AfL – there are many techniques that will do this. This clearly ties in with other areas – marking especially. As with challenge, get your departmental leaders and your colleagues to help you develop techniques. This is such a huge part of the judgements that will be made about you.

 Teachers systematically and effectively check pupils’ understanding throughout lessons, anticipating where they may need to intervene and doing so with notable impact on the quality of learning

 The standards of attainment of almost all groups of pupils are likely to be at least in line with national averages for all pupils with many above average


 You must be aware of the individual needs of your classes. Who has an IEP/ Who has high target grades? And where do you have that information? Could you pass it directly to an inspector if they came in? It would be in your interest if you could. Do you need to ask departmental leaders for help in finding this information? When I come into a lesson to observe it, if the teacher immediately presents to me a sheet that shows progress tracking then I can much more confidently assume that they know what different pupils are doing appropriate to their potential.

 “They use well judged and often imaginative teaching strategies that, together with sharply focused and timely support and intervention, match individual needs accurately

 When evaluating the quality of teaching in the school, inspectors must consider the quality of teaching and other support provided for pupils with a range of aptitudes and needs, including disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs, so that their learning improves


 Your pupils’ books must be clear. The marking in them has got to show the pupils how to move forward, and we need to be consistent across the school. This will need working on by us as a school, and a more consistent approach across the school will be essential so we can claim that marking helps pupils understand how to improve their work. If you show feedback in some other way, you need to be clear how you can show that the pupils know how this works for them.

 How well pupils understand how to improve their learning as a result of frequent, detailed and accurate feedback from teachers following assessment of their learning

 Marking and constructive feedback from teachers and pupils are frequent and of a consistently high quality, which enables pupils to understand how to improve their work, encouraging high levels of engagement and interest.  


 Track a pupil. Pick the quietest or brightest, or someone who has distinctive learning qualities. Every few minutes check them and judge how they are learning – moving forward and being engaged. An inspector will do exactly that – in fact he or she will question them. At the end, keep them back and see what they’ve done and ask them what they’ve learned. Remember pupil voice could be your most powerful supporter – if you have departmental or personal evidence keep it safe if it supports the quality of your teaching

 “When evaluating the quality of teaching in the school, inspectors must consider the extent to which teachers enthuse, engage and motivate pupils to learn and foster their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning

 Independent Learning

 You must provide opportunities for the pupils to learn for themselves. The problem with didactic teaching is that it fails to do this. Technology is good if used to support learning. It can stimulate the learners and give them a chance to learn, often independently, and often using mechanisms that they instinctively understand more than us. You mustn’t use it unless it supports the learning, but if it does it can work wonders for you.

If you read the observation guidelines:

 How well are they developing independent learning skills,

  • Note-taking,
  • Research ,
  • Working with others,
  • Speaking-listening-reporting,
  • Making smart choices appropriate to task.
  • Making good use of ICT and other resources.


 Didactic teaching can have its place if it develops the quality of the pupil learning, so does discussion, so does group work: you need a variety of teaching techniques, and you need to be able to provide a range of stimuli for the learners, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can be a ‘one style’ teacher because others will do the other styles.

 “When evaluating the quality of teaching in the school, inspectors must consider the extent to which teachers enthuse, engage and motivate pupils to learn and foster their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning


 SMSC (Spiritual. Moral, Social and Cultural education) has now become part of the judgement form. It’s been there since the 1988 ERA, but did not feature so explicitly before. If you do something that touches on some aspect of this, you will be expected to draw it out – we’ll provide guidance on what that means, as this won’t be clear to everyone.

 Other, broader aspects of achievement, such as is reflected in the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils, should be observed and taken into account when reporting on the overall effectiveness of the school.

 Literacy, numeracy

 Finally, another old issue that has always been there since the 1988 act, which has again been restressed. We need to revisit the support we provide for staff, but as teachers you need to be aware that you will be judged on how you help the pupils develop their ability in these areas

 “When evaluating the quality of teaching in the school, inspectors must consider how well teaching enables pupils to develop skills in reading, writing, communication and mathematics


One comment on “The top 10 rules for successful teaching.

  1. Pingback: April 12 2013 – Start of Summer Term | wirralgirls

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This entry was posted on April 9, 2013 by .
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