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My school is about to start the yearly performance management observations.


I was wondering if your Head/SMT uses a different pro forma for Early Years observations? Previously I have always been observed by my headteacher and he uses the same sheet he uses for the rest of the school, e.g. formal, whole-class lesson observation including details of the starter/introduction, group activties and plenary. This is never really relevant for the way we teach in Reception. I have often found myself planning a specific lesson that he is able to observe, rather than the usual freeflow, small group activites and continuous provision we provide the rest of the time.


How does it work in your school? Do you have an example you could share?


Many thanks,



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  • 1 month later...



We have been through the same process and it not being EYFS appropriate. Our Head now comes in over a whole morning for 15/20minute slots - main tecahing input - children at adult directed/initiated activities then plenary. This works much better.


As EYFS Leader and Deputy I write a proforma that is appropriate using development matters etc for each area of leanring the obs fits with. What are you being observed doing?

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Thanks for your reply.


A time hasn't been set for my observation yet, but it is usually during Phonics. I remember last year I was disappointed that I was observed for an hour, during which time I taught three differentiated phonics groups. I would have liked the observer to go and look at the activities the other children were doing and take note of how I was using the other adults. Maybe I could suggest that other areas are looked at.


Perhaps once I know what area of learning I will be observed in I could make my own proforma.


Thanks again for your reply.



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Our lesson observations are using a pro-forma which is used for the whole school - I have limited experience of observations in Early Years but I don't think what we get is inappropriate. Our Head doesn't divide the proforma into chunks of a lesson - it has the following headings with prompt questions for each one and some statements. I think the statements are related to outstanding/good/satisfactory from Ofsted inspection criteria.






Pupil response including behaviour

Planning (use of assessment)


Subject Knowledge

Learning dialogue

What are hte adults doing?

Use of other adults

Agreed next step(s) - these are for us, not the children!

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At our school we have started using the same observation criteria as Ofsted so it fits everyone.

I can't remember off the top of my head what the headings are but it's things like pace, evidence of learning, use of technology etc and if it's a lesson where one of the boxes isn't applicable (e.g. use of technology in a PE lesson) it just gets an N/A in the box.

The observers write notes under the different heading throughout the lesson then afterwards they compare it to the Ofsted guidelines to decide what grade the lesson was.

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I teach in Plymouth, and like you, our school also uses the 'one observation fits all' forms! At a recent training event we were informed that Plymouth was introducing an observation form that was more suited to the Foundation Stage. More recently I did a joint observation of my nursery unit with the EYAT; the new form was used and I found it to be much more appropriate. It has not yet been used for performance management as it came too late for this year, but will be used in the future. The forms can be found on the following link, which contains many other useful documents. Hope you can make use of them!


Observation tool - version one [73KB]

Observation tool - version two [92KB]

Prompts for effective practice [91KB]




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Guest LornaW

How interesting and all very subjective!

The focus of the obsservation should be related to the targets in your performance management and also should be agreed before the observation takes place.


I can see the reason for the Plymouth files and for the use of the Ofsted criteria but really they are for making jusgements on the quality of teaching and for me performance management is about professional development. I am NOT an ATL memeber but on their website they have this recommendation:-


Good practice in lesson observation

The performance management regulations require that schools meet a certain standard of good practice.The essence is that classroom observation, and the performance management cycle, should contribute to a teacher’s professional development and therefore should be conducted in a manner that equates to a professional dialogue.

The regulations underpin overall good practice and state that:

• the number and length of observations must be proportionate to the teacher’s needs, but may not exceed three hours over the school year

• the amount of observation, with a clear focus agreed between the teacher and reviewer, must be recorded in the planning and review statement

• classroom observations may only be undertaken by persons with QTS

• written feedback must be received within five working days.


You can see the whole pamphlet here:- http://www.atl.org.uk/Images/ADV19%20class...observation.pdf



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Thanks so much for your replies and the links! I think I will have a discussion with my headteacher and see what he thinks. I haven't mentioned it to him yet. I just wasn't happy with my PM last year.


Carrots x

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