Tracking Teaching Skills: using a ‘success criteria’ to observe lessons

In a previous post, I have discussed using a tracking system to show development against the skills covered in my CPD programme.  This worked really well for my first year trainees who were attending all of the weekly CPD sessions that I held, but worked less well for 2nd year trainees who did not attend all the sessions, nor for members of my department (with whom I am also working to develop teaching and learning ).  This was because the list of skills was quite limited, simply those I deemed necessary for training in the first year of a teachers’ development.

As such, I developed what I considered to me a more exhaustive ‘success criteria’ for a lesson that could be used for the same purpose.  This criteria was not supposed to be a complete list, nor was it to be used as a weapon against teachers, for example by saying that because they had failed to include group work in a lesson they could not get an ‘Outstanding’ grade.  It was simply designed to help track areas in which classroom practice was strong and areas in which teachers could use extra training and support.

The categories that I broke this criteria up into are:

  1. Planning and task design
  2. Assessment for Learning
  3. Questioning skills
  4. Behaviour Management
  5. Literacy

With each of these broken down into further constituent skills:


My idea, which I am currently using with my NQTs, is that instead of an Ofsted grading they receive two to three targets (successes are not limited) from an observation.  Their next observation is then ‘judged’ against whether they achieve these targets; they are being observed specifically to see that they have put into practice the targets from the previous observation, helping, I think, to provide some extra impetus for working towards meeting targets that I think is missing in the traditional Ofsted rating observation system.

I would also note that this list is not at all supposed to be fixed or exhaustive: there is an ‘other’ column to add any I missed, but also the whole list is up for argument and alteration.  My version is in large part responding to development priorities (i.e., literacy) that were set by my school.

I use a spreadsheet to track this, so that, for example, everyone in my department has a leaf / series of columns that show their development through their observations over the year.  My department have responded really positively to this, and many people feel that the system works better for them than getting a number from the Ofsted rating system.

Please find the observation proforma and tracking spreadsheet below:

Skills Tracking Spreadsheet 2

Observation Skills Tracker 2

I hope that there are some useful ideas for how to track the development of  teachers here.  The topic of lesson observation is one of the most divisive within teaching at the moment and, as within any divisive issue, people tend to have different strong opinions about the right and wrong way to proceed.  This is just one possible way.

Thanks for reading,


  1. The CPD Paradox: Addressing educational disadvantage through improving professional development in schools | Teacher Development Trust

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