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Achieving excellence through a licence to observe
Organisation: Chichester College
Type of Organisation: College of Further Education
Curriculum: Whole Organisation
Level: Non-Level Specific
Implementation Year: 2015
Funding Source: Internal
External Recognition: Learning Consortium Report
Further Information:   Applicability 

Links to External Resources:

PDF document Licence To Observe.pdf

PDF document Excellence in Teaching, Learning & Assessment.pdf


After an overhaul of the observation process, teachers earn a ‘Licence to Observe’ as a means of promoting excellence in Teaching, Learning and Assessment

In 2010 Chichester College determined to make all teaching, learning and assessment outstanding. As part of this focus they designed a new lesson observation process made up of 5 modules which formed a Licence to Observe, these were:

1. Changing culture: an introduction to the observation of teaching and learning framework, self-assessment and action planning
2. Observation of teaching: gathering the evidence, report writing and moderation
3. Making key judgements: providing feedback based on collected evidence
4. Feedback using a coaching model: developing oral feedback skills; providing support for teaching that requires improvement or is inadequate
5. Setting SMART targets and action planning

All observers were required to train and all modules were mandatory in order to gain the licence. The Licence to Observe has also been adapted to meet the differing observation needs for Initial Teacher Training (ITT), Work Based Learning, Assessor observation, Learning Support observation and Student Tutor observation. In addition, a unique module was developed for the Student Executive to become trained observers, resulting in the involvement of students in lesson observation and, a powerful learning experience for them.



To make all teaching, learning and assessment outstanding


What Worked Well:

Benefits for Learners: The student survey in July 2014 found that 95% of learners felt their teaching was good or better – in comparison to 86% at the start of the programme

Benefits for Staff:

  • Confident and well trained observers who are respected and trusted by their observees.
  • The observers are seen as supporting all staff to promote better teaching and learning.
  • The training ensures that observation is based on evidence based judgments (both in lesson observation documentation, report writing and self-assessment) helping inspire confidence, removing any ambiguity associated with impressionistic judgements.
  • Staff have a greater insight into the process of observation.

Benefits for Organisation: In March 2014 the college was awarded Grade 1 for ‘overall effectiveness’ at inspection, with contributing grade 1 in all 3 key aspects. In Feb 2015 the project was awarded the TES Best Teaching and Learning Initiative.


Further Information: 

For Further Information:

Who is it for?

Managers and those involved with TLA improvement



Classroom practice


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