Due to changes in the way OFSTED carry out Inspections, there has been a shift towards managerial self-evaluation. Middle Managers are expected to evaluate the successes and needs of their departments/faculties as well as their own performance. As middle managers assume greater responsibility for teaching and learning within their Department they are increasingly under scrutiny from Inspection teams. This appears to be a new emphasis whereby middle managers have potentially become the latest targets for Inspections.

Roles and Responsibilities of Middle Managers (a check list):

The most effective Middle Managers:

Are expected to share the vision of the school and its leadership.

Set the level of quality of teaching in a department/Faculty.

Keep their lessons and Departments/Faculty focused on teaching and learning.

Build an environment whereby good ideas are shared.

Encourage teachers to observed good lessons

Identify weakness  - for development and discussion.

Give full and detailed feedback.

Sharing the Vision of the School and its Leadership

Heads of Department must implement the vision of the school. They must ensure that Departmental staff have an understanding of the mission statement and aims of the school. An effective Head of Department/Faculty should send a clear message  to all staff as to how the Department/Faculty aims to support the Leadership of the school. This should be clearly laid down in the Departmental Policy Document.

Set the Level of Quality of Teaching

The Head of Department/Faculty must be an example of professionalism. He/she should deliver quality lessons and be prepared to discuss achievement as well as the need for improvement. This should focus on teaching and learning. The Head of Department must be prepared to observe lessons regularly and allow him/her to be observed by staff. The Head of department must encourage (if not demand) that staff do not remain within their ‘comfort zone’ but always strive to ensure lessons are interesting, stimulating and promote active learning.

Focus on Teaching and Learning

The Head of department must ensure that departmental staff are actively involved in the development and promotion of teaching and learning. The structure of a Departmental meeting should contain ample evidence that teaching and learning is high on the agenda. There should be plenty of reference to teaching and learning on the minutes. For example;

Include a slot at each meeting called ‘Teaching and Learning’. Encourage staff to talk about a successful lesson they have delivered or a successful aspect of a lesson. Discuss barriers to good teaching and learning. Arrange for informal or formal observations. Encourage hard work and good practice at all times. Include one specific aspect of teaching and learning on the agenda that will be discussed in detail.

Head of Department Self-Evaluation Exercise

1.     Do I constantly challenge poor and ineffective teaching? How?

2.     Is ‘Teaching and Learning’ the focus of Departmental Meetings and departmental discussions?

3.     I understand what is a poor, satisfactory, good, very good or excellent lesson? Give detail.

4.    Are members of the Department/Faculty clear regarding the definition of a poor, satisfactory, good, very good or excellent lesson? How do you know?

5.    Departmental staff implement changes to their teaching based on feedback from the Head of Department and other staff. How do you know?

6.    As a Head of Department/Faculty I am happy to receive feedback (positive or negative) on lessons Departmental staff have observed?

7.   Staff within the Department understand that teaching and especially pupil learning is the number one priority. Give detail to your answer.

8.     I am prepared to critically exam a colleagues lesson and give honest and direct feedback.

9.     I have helped the Department/Faculty build a system for the sharing of good practice and ideas. Give examples.

Lesson Observation – Guidance to Heads of Department

1.   Focus on the quality of pupil learning rather than the extent of teaching.

2.   Record the observation by using notes and then produce a full and detailed document immediately after the lesson.

3.    Try to identify any link between quality of teaching, learning and behaviour. It may be that poor pupil behaviour is aggravated by poor presentation, inadequate lesson content or poor organisation. Conversely, there may be a link between good teaching, behaviour and good organisation.

4.     Do not follow a check list, let the observation flow with the progress of the lesson. Do not spend the lesson making notes rather than observing what is happening.

5.     Do not consider the way you would have taught the lesson but rather the way the existing lesson could be improved. Unless the lesson is a complete disaster (this is an unlikely scenario).

6.       Always consider: What have the pupils learned? and what evidence of learning in the lesson has been found?

Lesson Observation – Feedback

1.     It is essential that feedback take place within twenty-four hours of the lesson observation. If not the direct link between lesson and feedback loses effectiveness.

2.     The feedback should take place in a quite uninterrupted room.

3.      Feedback should be clear and direct.

4.      Encourage the teacher to talk about his/her feelings relating to the lesson.

5.      Emphasise teaching and learning techniques. Never comment on personality or the personal characteristics.

6.      Feedback on the structure of the lesson. Give details of the amount of time spent on aspects of the lesson such as, the introduction, demonstrations, conclusion etc….

7.      Do not ignore problems you have observed. Discuss them.

8.      Suggest strategies relating to improving the lesson.