E4: Review of Teaching and Learning

1.   Observation of Teaching and Learning

  • As part of our commitment to the Quality Assurance process and to support tutors in their professional development, ORMS will regularly assess teaching, learning and assessment across its provision through a programme of Observation of Teaching and Learning.
  • The purpose of the Observation Programme is to:
    • Support tutors in their professional development by identifying their needs and offering the opportunity for improving and developing their practice through a programme of Staff Development
    • Ensure that the same high standards of provision are delivered across the service
    • Provide evidence of the quality of teaching and learning for Annual Self-Assessment reports
    • Raise the quality of teaching and learning across all provision with improved outcomes for learners
  • We aim to observe:
    • new tutors during their first term of teaching
    • those tutors who may give cause for concern
    • all tutors annually, dependant on the outcome of their last observation
    • teaching on courses that are being delivered for the first time
  • Observations will cover all aspects of delivered provision
    • Classroom based teaching
    • Online teaching including forum work, conferencing and group work
    • Practical training sessions
    • Coaching sessions
    • Assessment activities
    • Provision of services to clients including support, advice and guidance
  • The observations will be carried out in accordance with current HM Inspectorate guidelines regardless of whether the course is internally or externally validated, is being delivered online, or is classed as higher education provision.
  • The Quality Manager will plan a cycle of observations to ensure that observations cover the whole provision and that some courses and tutors are not overloaded with visits
  • Tutor Observation Programme
    • Observations will be conducted by either the Quality Manager or a Director (all who hold recognised teaching qualifications and who have been trained in lesson observation).
    • The observation visit lasts from 45min to 1 hour in length and the tutor will be given feedback and have the chance to discuss the written report.
    • Video cameras may be used in situations where the presence of the observer may impact on the quality of learning, teaching or assessment. Pictures will be processed in accordance with ORMS’ data protection policy.
    • Annually, tutors will be reminded of what is expected from them. Observations are conducted on a ‘no notice’ basis to capture an accurate picture of the quality of learning, teaching and assessment. A copy of the current Tutor Observation Report Form and the Guidelines will be sent to them.
    • The Quality Manager and the Directors will meet to moderate the process soon after a round of observations and feedback to the tutors as soon as possible after the observation visit. This provides the opportunity to identify any staff development, training or support needs tutors may have. The observed tutor and the Quality Manager hold completed forms but a completed Action Plan is sent to the Quality and Standards Committee at the end of the year.
  • Protocol following observation
    • The purpose of the Observation of Teaching and Learning process is to support tutors in their professional development and to ensure that services to clients are at the highest standards.
    • Depending on the grades awarded, the following follow-up procedures apply

Grade 1: Excellent: Low Risk

  • Many strengths, including significant examples of sector-leading practice.
  • No further observation for that year. Tutor may be asked if new or training tutors may come to visit their sessions and observe good practice in teaching and learning and/or support them in a mentoring capacity

Grade 2: Good: Medium Risk

  • Many strengths and no important areas requiring significant improvement.
  • No further observation for that year. Staff Development suggested to encourage Professional Development

Grade 3: Adequate: High Risk

  • Strengths outweigh areas for improvement.
  • Additional observation(S) in that year. Staff Development agreed to address specific weaknesses

Grade 4: Unsatisfactory: High Risk

  • Important areas for improvement outweigh strengths.
  • Re-observation within 1 month to monitor progress and then every 3 months. Appropriate support and Staff Development put in place with mentoring by experienced tutor and line manager


If a tutor is unhappy about the way in which their observation was carried out, or with the grade awarded, an appeal is to be made in writing, within a week of the report being received. In the case of the observation being undertaken by a Director, the appeal is to the Quality Manager and vice versa.