Outstanding Lessons

What makes outstanding?

Engagement Lessons where there is evident engagement from all students for most of the time in the learning activities presented. They will be self directed and while the teacher’s presence is critical the students complete the work at pace and with care. They want to do well and to produce quality work.
Challenge The work will present a learning challenge to the students either in the level of the cognitive demands of the content or in the skill set required for effective completion. Work will have been planned to challenge students as the teacher has secure knowledge of the current levels and capabilities of the students in the class.

There will be secure and robust assessments of the students which will have allowed the teacher to design the learning so that students can progress from where they are currently at a rate which matches or exceeds their prior learning rate. This rate will be better than one might expect taking into account the nature of the students and the nature of the work being undertaken.


The lesson will be structured to make best use of the time available and will support learning very well.


Will be appropriate to the learning expected. Fast or slow does not define outstanding but appropriate, no time wasted, a focus on moving on, does equate with higher quality lessons.


Questioning relates to two aspects of learning. The first is to provide assessment information to allow both teacher and students to recognise what they have learned and how far they have progressed. The second use is to encourage students to think. Without an engagement in thinking about the work little learning can actually take place. Questions that move students through lower levels, knowledge and recall, comprehension and application, to higher order analysis, synthesis and evaluation thinking skills are a feature of outstanding lessons. Questioning needs to be evidenced in the lesson planning. Teachers will also take opportunities that are offered during lessons and will build on students’ knowledge and skills.


The plenary, and lessons can certainly have more than one plenary, secures learning and allows for some assessment. The main learning will have been defined by the lesson’s learning objectives which detail what learning, not just activity, students will engage in.

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