Observation of Learning, Teaching and Assessment 2012-13

Please find the resources and information to support the 2012-13 Observation of Learning, Teaching and Assessment (OLTA) detailed below.

Practitioner OLTA Briefing PowerPoint.

The PowerPoint plays quite quickly, to pause the show ‘hover’ the cursor at the bottom left hand side of the viewing window and pause as necessary. The screen can also be maximised by clicking the [ ] symbol at the bottom right hand side of the screen.

Link to the PowerPoint which can be downloaded and saved.

Observation briefing 2012-13

OTL Practitioner Guide

OTL Guide 2012-13 Final 1.0 without hyperlinks



1. The Process for 2012-13

2. Formal Observations

3. Outstanding Learning, Teaching and Assessment

Criteria for Outstanding Learning, Teaching and Assessment

The following grid is based on the Ofsted 2012 Common Inspection Framework (CIF) and is a handy reference tool for assessing the quality of learning, teaching and assessment.

Observation of Teaching LCC Revised

Observation Form

The form below will be used by Observers to assess and provide feedback on the learning, teaching and assessment.


Supporting Documents

1. Example Session Plan 1

Support Document 1 – Eg Session Plan 1

2. Example Session Plan 2

Support Document 2 – Eg Session Plan 2

Although there is no formal requirement to write a session plan, two examples of session plans are provided as exemplars of best practice. It is up to practitioners to determine how they evidence planning for session delivery; further guidance can be found in Support Document 15.

2012-13 Session Plan Template

2012-13 Session Plan version 2.0

3. Example Scheme of Work

Practitioners are required to provide a detailed Scheme of Work to show how the learning required for the qualification/unit/subject has been scheduled for delivery. This allows observers to assess the stage of learning of the learners, prior and subsequent learning etc. Where the learners are required to complete formal assessments, these need to be shown in the Scheme of Work. It is recommended that if available, evidence of assessed work is readily available for observers.

Support Document 3 – Eg Scheme of Work

Blank Scheme of Work 2012-13

SOW Template 2012-13

Please note, if SOWs are completed on the old template, there is no requirement to re-write the scheme on the new template.

4. Observation Tutor Questions

Some examples of the questions that observers may ask practitioners following the Observation.

Support Document 4 – Observation Tutor Questions

5. Observation Learner Questions

Questions the Observer may ask learners during or following the Observation

Support Document 5 – Observation Student Questions

6. Learning Walks

Learning walks are a way of sharing good practice and supporting the development of teaching on a particular topic or of measuring the impact of CPD. The “walkers” might include staff from across the college and include members of SLT and ELT. The focus of a learning walk is always supposed to be positive and developmental and is not part of the formal observation process.

Support Document 6 – Learning Walks vers 2 0

7. Professional Practice Squares

Professional Practice Squares often referred to as ‘Teaching Squares’ provide a form of peer observation. They comprise 4 colleagues who:

  • visit at least one session taught by each square partner (a total of 3 observations each)
  • reflect on their observation experience
  • share reflections with their square partners
  • share their experiences as a group and reflect on the overall experience

Those involved can be from the same faculty, curriculum area etc or be from different areas.

Support Document 7 – Professional Practice Squares

8. The Perfect Session

This resource is based on the work of Jackie Beere and is adapted from a TES resource. It aims to provide practitioners with current best practice ideas for learning, teaching and assessment.

Support Document 8 – the perfect session final version

9. Guidance on the Observation of Technology Enhanced Learning

Support Document 9 – Technology Enhanced Learning v2

10. Guidance on the Observation of English and Maths

The development of English and Maths skills feature prominently in the new 2012 CIF. Along with developing learners’ skills in discrete classes, there is a focus on ensuring learners are provided with the opportunity to develop and practice English, Maths and oracy in the main vocational/academic classes. Observers will look for evidence of practice and development of English and Maths when the carry out the Observation.

Support Document 10 – English and Maths

11. Guidance on the Observation of Health and Safety and Safeguarding

Support Document 11 – Health and Safety and Safeguarding

12. Guidance on the Observation of Equality and Diversity

Support Document 12 – Equality and Diversity

13. Bloom’s Taxonomy Teacher Planning Kit

This TES Resource is a useful guide when writing learning outcomes or ‘success criteria’ for a session. It also provides a handy list of questions which could be used to check the learning taking place in the session.

Download a PDF version of the document from the link below.

Support Document 13 – Bloom’s Taxonomy Teacher Planning Kit

14. Revised Bloom for 21st Century Learning Skills

During the 1990’s, a former student of Bloom’s, Lorin Anderson updated the taxonomy to add relevance for 21st century students and teachers. Published in 2001, the revision includes several seemingly minor yet actually quite significant changes. Several excellent sources are available which detail the revisions and reasons for the changes. A more concise summary appears here. The changes occur in three broad categories: terminology, structure, and emphasis.

Terminology changes – note the change from Nouns to Verbs [e.g., Application to Applying] to describe the different levels of the taxonomy

Structural changes in that the top two levels are essentially exchanged from the Old to the New version, Evaluation has moved from the top to Evaluating in the second from the top; Synthesis has moved from second on the Old version to the top of the New version as Creating.

Source: http://www.odu.edu/educ/roverbau/Bloom/blooms_taxonomy.htm

The new terms are defined as:

  • Remembering: Retrieving, recognising, and recalling relevant knowledge from long-term memory.
  • Understanding: Constructing meaning from oral, written, and graphic messages through interpreting, exemplifying, classifying, summarising, inferring, comparing, and explaining.
  • Applying: Carrying out or using a procedure through executing, or implementing.
  • Analysing: Breaking material into constituent parts, determining how the parts relate to one another and to an overall structure or purpose through differentiating, organising, and attributing.
  • Evaluating: Making judgments based on criteria and standards through checking and critiquing.
  • Creating: Putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganising elements into a new pattern or structure through generating, planning, or producing.

(Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001, pp. 67-68)

Support Document 14 – Revised Bloom for 21st Century Learning Skills V2.0

15. Cohort profile & Learner Starting Points

Cohort Profile

There is no need this year to write a detailed pre-amble, unless practitioners choose to do so. Summary information which shows a basic profile of the cohort can be generated through WebSTaR.

Learner starting points and progress-in-learning


Although a formal extensive documented session plan is not mandatory, practitioners need to be able to evidence that planning has taken place.

Example Session Plans are provided in the Supporting Documents, but it is up to the practitioner as to what they want to use and show as evidence that planning has taken place.

There are four general considerations that you must take into account when selecting the method of teaching and the structure for your teaching session:

  • the learning outcomes of the teaching session – use Bloom; see Support Document 13 and Support Document 14
  • the characteristics of the learners
  • practical requirements
  • the interactions between the practitioner and learners – and amongst the cohort as a whole

Learner Starting Points

Know your learners:

  • What individual needs do learners have?
  • Where are these recorded and monitored – ILP and tutorial/progress review records? Are they regularly reviewed? How can you demonstrate the distance individuals have travelled?
  • How does your delivery need to differentiate for these needs?
  • What are individual learners’ English & Maths needs? How are you developing and embedding these in your delivery?
  • If ALS is provided, how does the session accommodate and meet the needs of these learners?
  • Are there any sensitivities you are aware of? These will probably only be known to staff, but they may need sharing with an observer if an opportunity arises and you have the learner’s permission to share these.


You should know for each learner:

  • at what level is the learner achieving?
  • is the learner on target?
  • what is their attendance and punctuality level?

Two ideas from Jackie Beere (2012) and Claire Gadsby (2012)

Further information is available in Support Document 15

Support Document 15 – Cohort Profile FINAL2

2012-13 Observation of Learning, Teaching and Assessment Policy

Observation of Teaching and Learning Policy 2012-13

Ofsted Documents

2012 Common Inspection Framework

Common Inspection Framework for further education and skills from September 2012

2012 Inspection Handbook

Handbook for the inspection of further education and skills from September 2012

Creative Teaching – Innovative Learning

Innovative ways of teaching Pythagoras

An maths teacher turns the perennial challenge of teaching Year 8’s Pythagoras into fun. An Observer John Bayley analyses the unorthodox pedagogy of 2009 Secondary Teacher of the Year Dan Walton as he takes the children of St John’s in Gravesend, on a fast paced and imaginatively planned double lesson. Discarding lesson objectives, the students are engaged in a series of activities, which lead them to discover the formulae of Pythagoras for themselves. Dan uses golf to explore right-angled triangles, introducing the hypotenuse by solving a dog-leg hole in one. By playing games with numbers the children discover a numerical solution to their problem. We see how their new-found knowledge is put into practice as the class compete to solve a murder using the answers to a series of Pythagoras problems. Dan keeps the momentum going using praise, games and even the children’s mobile phones to ensure the class are engrossed to the end.


Frequently Asked Questions vers 1.0

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS vers 1.0 as at 5-11-12

Advanced Practitioners

List of Advanced Practitioners as of October 2012


5 thoughts on “Observation of Learning, Teaching and Assessment 2012-13

  1. Howard – this is a fantastic resource and I would expect that everybody can take something from it that will help their teaching. (CREAM for me.) It’s a monster though (in terms of content) and I wonder if we need a dragon-slayer to occasionally ensure that smaller part sof this are made more available (I’m thinking of 20CBloom for example given the overt link to OTLA documentation now.). I still think that we are a long way from a culture of “active cpd” – many tutors are struggling to manage their day to day workloads and often have little left in the tank at the end of another manic week in FE. I certainly feel drained come Friday and barely have the energy to pull a cork!

    • Thanks Gordon, yes we need to abridge, ‘chunk’ or whatever else is necessary to make it easier for staff to use. I m really hoping the new portal will do this! Working name is ‘Arcus’. hopefully ready within the next 10 days.

  2. A comprehensive set of resources which are readily accessible. They complement and support those on the staff intranet although I think that there is a danger of overload here. With the best will in the world busy and harassed tutors are unlikely to find time to look at these in the detail that they probably deserve. Maybe some time in the January OD event could be found for some individualised CPD around them. I particularly like the Bloom’s planning kit.

    • Thanks Gordon, yes agree we need to encourage staff to look at these as part of SD day in Jan. I m hoping that as opposed to staff having to find time to attend a briefing, they can self-learn using these resources?

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