Contributions from:
Louise Doyle (Mesma), Brenda Robson and Joanne Roulston (Sunderland College), Paul Miller (VEO)

What about the planning? do you give the staff notice of which session or number of sessions?  

Joanne - "We give two days’ notice of a one week window for observations, weak staff to identify any sessions that wouldn’t be suitable, e.g field trips or a written assessment. However, all other sessions we expect to be prepared according to our College expectations." 

How did you ensure staff bought into the self-evaluation questionnaire? Some staff may see it as a management tool and not give truthful answers?

Joanne - "The self-evaluation questionnaire was launched on two fronts, via SLT and with teams via the Curriculum managers, (I provided a short power point presentation).Curriculum managers had received training prior to the launch. Also prior to the launch, I asked three members of staff from different faculties across the College to complete the questionnaire to identify the amount of time it would take, which was 20 minutes.All three reported that once they had started they really enjoyed identifying all the good practice they had developed and the achievements of their learners. I used this feedback within the presentation used when launching the questionnaire.I also suggested that members of teams could support each other prior to completing the questionnaire, by reminding each other of the good practice developed.This again proved to be a positive step to take and achieved more ‘buy-in’."

Please can you clarify if you intervene during the actual observation to advise on different practice?

Joanne - "We don’t intervene in any of our scheduled activity that is badged as an ‘observation’, only if there was a safeguarding issue.The only time that intervention is accepted is when it is part of the coaching process.The action plan for a member of staff may include the option of ‘informal participant observation’ this would only take place with the coachee’s agreement.I have implemented this on a number of occasions, it allows the coach to give advice within the session, prompting immediate changes and therefore immediate impact, helping staff to take a leap of faith that they may not have been confident to take on their own.I then produce a written narrative of the session, which is very different to any observation paper work and is for the eyes of the coachee only.Staff I have done this with have found it very useful, they don’t find it threatening and it has resulted in the development of their practice, I would say that results are more rapid when this approach is taken."

How does the video work with GDPR for learners?

Paul - "Video works in the same way as other learner images and data.If the institution already has consent systems for image data then video would fit in with these. GDPR actually provides greater clarity on what can be done with such data, as well as how to go about it.In brief, consent must be gained to use personal data (images) for specified purposes, with information on the audience and any time periods for storage.This consent can be gathered for a period of time (e.g. an Academic Year).Consent is gained from learners or parents depending on their age.
We have fuller guidance on GDPR available at which has been put together by our legal team."

Questions answered on webinar (in recording)

Can you share a link to the professional standards please?

We sent this out to delegates

Can the purpose of obs be also about identifying areas for professional development? (Answered at 59:30)

Brenda gives a full answer.

This works with Colleges, however how does this fit within independent Training Providers? (Answered at 1:02:00)

Louise - "In principle there is no difference but size and resource can be a factor." Joanne - "By and large we adopt the same approach for work-based learning. It may be implemented in a slightly different way but the aim is the same - to improve what is being planned and delivered in the workplace. Paul - We have found that video enhancement in work-based learning helps to share what happens across multiple sites. Getting everyone on board with it is important."

As long as we can justify our approach to observations (whatever they may be) is this ok? (Answered at 1:05:40)

Louise – "Your approach to observations is entirely up to you. During inspections you will be asked to talk about the impact of what you have put into place for observations."

If we don’t grade observations, what metrics do people use to feedback to SLT? (Answered at 1:06:30)

Joanne – "On our observation form we have a space for the narrative feedback. We also have a range of expectations that observers have either seen or not seen in the session and we have extended this to planning. We have some key teaching a learning themes such as - high expectations, use of ICT, equality and diversity. For SLT - we can quantify information based upon these themes."

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