Aim: To explore the role of lesson observation in improving teaching and learning within the school to achieve 100% of lessons graded as Good to Outstanding. Good practice to be shared across the school, Trust and Teaching School Alliance.

Background: AGGS was designated as a cohort 1 Teaching School in 2011. It is a high achieving school whose staff and students set extremely high expectations for their performance.


Year 1: The project focused on developing the role of the coaching teachers and the teaching and learning group. The coaches were identified early in the academic year and time was given to these colleagues to work with those teachers requiring support. The teaching and learning group met once per half term to discuss ideas around sharing practice and collaboration.

Year 2: The coaching offer was re-launched to encourage involvement of all teachers, not just those perceived to be “failing”. The school also invested in the IRIS Connect system to enable teachers to reflect on their own teaching and easily observe others. These were monitored regularly by the Assistant Vice-Principal (Teaching and Learning).

Year 3: Grades were removed from lesson observations to develop the professional dialogue during feedback. This involved a long process of consultation with teaching staff in order to ensure that lesson observations positively supported the development of teaching and learning whilst also providing information for the appraisal process. Many teaching staff, middle leaders, SLEs and senior leaders were also engaged in similar coaching work in Trust and Alliance schools.

Evidence: Lesson observations, exam results, staff feedback.

Impact: By Year 2, 60% of lessons were graded Outstanding and 40% of lessons graded Good.

By Year 3, again the milestone was achieved with the following data recorded:

Term 1: 54.3% of lessons graded Outstanding, 45.7% graded Good

Term 2: 70% of lessons graded Outstanding, 30% graded Good

In Years 2 and 3, 11 colleagues accessed regular formal coaching compared with 3 the previous year. Their evaluation of the impact was very positive. IRIS Connect usage data (September 2016-2017) demonstrated that the system had been accessed by 33 members of the teaching staff for a variety of different purposes.

The main impact on teaching and learning was the maintenance of outstanding student outcomes through outstanding teaching and learning.

Reflections: We have learnt that teachers at our school are passionate about teaching and learning, and that building a process whereby teachers can engage in positive professional dialogue will bring about the greatest change. When aspects of the project were not successful we quickly acknowledged this based on feedback from staff and invested time in other areas.

Contact: Nicola Walker,; Stephanie Gill,