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Lesson observation and feedback (Secondary)

Trainees should receive feedback on every lesson they teach throughout their placement. For the most part this will be informal feedback, but there should be two 'formal' lesson feedbacks per week, one for each of KS3 and KS4.

Formal lesson feedback

Trainees should receive feedback formally via a 'Weekly Lesson Feedback' record on Abyasa at least twice a week by the mentor, other departmental colleague, or PCM.

The feedback lessons should be planned to cover the full range of the classes and key stages being taught and should address specific areas of the Core Content Framework (CCF) whenever possible.

Recording the feedback

Before the feedback lesson:

  • Trainee to add the Weekly Lesson Feedback record on Abyasa and complete the first tab (Preparation) in advance of the lesson.
  • Trainee provides in advance, for the person giving feedback, appropriate documents to support the feedback process (checklist on Preparation tab).
  • Trainee uses most recent Weekly Training Meeting record to provide foci related to the CCF to inform the feedback process.

During the feedback lesson:

  • The person giving feedback should annotate the lesson plan, so that the relationship between the planning process and lesson delivery is made explicit in the learning process for the trainee.
  • The person giving feedback should comment specifically on pupil progress and achievement, in relation to intended learning specified on the lesson plan and the contribution of teaching to this learning.

After the feedback lesson:

  • The person giving feedback and the trainee should record overall strengths in the lesson in relation to the CCF and the agreed foci.
  • The person giving feedback agrees actions and development points, referenced to the CCF, with the trainee and ensures these are recorded on the Weekly Lesson Feedback record as the basis for future planning.
  • Copies of the annotated lesson plan and any other notes are uploaded to the Weekly Lesson Feedback record on Abyasa.
  • If the person giving feedback is a class teacher without access to Abyasa, the trainee can complete all sections of the template, including uploading the lesson plan and notes. The feedback is then confirmed and 'submitted' by the mentor.

Informal lesson feedback

For all other lessons, the trainee should receive informal feedback. We suggest that this is in the form of:

  • WWW: What went well
  • EBI: Even better if

with up to three bullet points for each.

This should be written during the observation and handed to the trainee at the end of the lesson. We would suggest that this is recorded in a notebook reserved for this purpose.

There is no requirement for lengthy discussion following informal observation and feedback.

Giving feedback

It is important to achieve a good balance between positive encouragement and constructive criticism. Please be aware that trainees may only hear criticism of their practice so please ensure they hear the positives as you end your discussion with them.

Being positive and honest

  • Praise and encouragement should be focused in a helpful way. It is more useful to offer such comments as: “You handled the question and answer session really well”, or “The demonstration was clear and everyone could see what you were doing”, rather than to offer general comments.
  • Entirely positive feedback may lead to the trainee becoming complacent and acquiring a false sense of his or her own expertise. Honest feedback given constructively may help to highlight areas to which trainees may need to pay particular attention. Mentors working with a particularly gifted trainee will need to develop strategies to develop thetrainee’s skills further.


  • Trainees find it very difficult to cope with a lengthy list of faults to remedy.
  • Try to define precise short-term priorities for improvement and development and to provide strategies for addressing them in a systematic way.
  • Relate priorities to the ITT Core Content Framework. Once the initial targets have been met, further priorities can be defined.

Being consistent

  • Trainees often receive a good deal of positive reinforcement verbally immediately after a lesson. This may be followed by a written commentary that contains a great deal of critical appraisal. This can be confusing and demoralising.
  • Weak trainees often receive a great deal of advice from a range of colleagues. Confident trainees can assimilate a good deal of advice, evaluate it and work out which strategies may work best for them. Less confident trainees are less likely to do so and can become bewildered by the range of advice being given and resort to trying out one strategy after another and thereby communicate confusion and inconsistency to the teaching groups.
  • The mentor should take an overview and ensure that the trainee is receiving consistent advice with achievable aims.

Being aware of progression and development

Mentors should think through what is reasonable to expect from a trainee at each stage of the programme and consider this when giving feedback.

In the early weeks of the first school experience, the trainee will be focused on establishing a classroom presence and on developing skills in planning and classroom management. It would be quite inappropriate to expect a trainee at this stage to have a detailed knowledge of the assessment arrangements for the subject or to be able to plan extensively for differentiation.

What to write about

  • Mentors are not expected to make detailed comments in relation to each CCF area in any one feedback lesson. However, over the weeks of the placement a body of evidence is built up to show how well the trainee has demonstrated proficiency for every aspect of each area of the CCF.
  • Although classroom management will usually be an element of the feedback, the main focus of the feedback is how well the pupils have progressed as a result of the trainee’s teaching.
  • Trainees also need to have comments about their subject knowledge development, assessment and other elements from the summary sheet.
  • It should always be clear from the feedback record what was being taught and whether the learning outcomes were achieved and pupil progress noted.
  • Areas for improvement should be focused into two or three achievable targets.