Metacognitive Strategies 

Metacognition is a set of skills that enable learners to become aware of how they learn and evaluate and adapt these skills to become increasingly effective at learning. ‘Curriculum Intent’ explains why a course exists, what skills it will develop and what possible destinations students could acquire. By developing metacognitive skills, successful learners will have a greater opportunity to reach their chosen goals, utilising newly acquired skills to significant effect.


Courses will typically have some scheme of work or learning plan identifying the order of delivery. Sequencing has become a key Ofsted buzzword that describes how the ordering of activities can better retain information due to a logical cognitive approach. For example, one may teach health and safety before students moving into the engineering workshop or teaching lower-order thinking skills before building evaluative skills. These planners should identify the content being delivered and the embedding of the relevant skills as specified in the course ‘Intent’. 


Three key stages of metacognition:

1) Planning Before a Task

We must stress to students the importance of preparation. However, do we assume they know how to? Good preparation involves:

  • Thinking about similar tasks already completed and the skills and strategies used.
  • Setting clear goals to complete the task.
  • Working out how long a task may take to complete selecting appropriate strategies

If done effectively, individuals will be able to allocate their effort more efficiently.

2) Monitoring During a Task

Students need to assess how they progress on a task to ensure they are on the right path. This self-monitoring is more straightforward if students spend time on the planning stage and know what they want to work to achieve.

3) Reviewing After a Task

After completing a task, students should reflect on what went well and what they would do differently next time. Therefore, ensuring that students learn as much as possible from experience and develop both content knowledge and relevant skills.


Metacognitive Strategies

Metacognitive strategies facilitate learning how to learn. As previously stated, we need to consider whether the skills relevant to the subjects are also developed and the subject content. Below are a series of approaches that can enable the development of metacognition. 

1)    Ask Questions – At the beginning, middle and end of a lesson, ask questions that allow students to reflect on their learning processes and strategies, not just questions on what content they have recalled. We want to create reflective students who question their learning approaches.  

2)     Encourage Self-reflection – Emphasise the importance of personal reflection during and after learning experiences. Please encourage students to critically analyse their assumptions and how this may have influenced their learning. 

3)     Encourage Self-questioning – Enable independent learning by asking students to generate their questions and answer them to enhance comprehension. The questions can be related to meeting their personal goals but also their skill development. 

4.     Take a timeout – It’s very easy to be consumed by getting through a task without thinking about why we are doing it and what we are learning. It’s helpful to stop and reflect on what strategies we are using and their impact on our learning. In addition, whether the lesson is meeting the objectives and overall course intent. 

5)     Teach Strategies Directly – Teach appropriate metacognitive strategies as a part of an induction programme so students can be armed with various approaches to apply to a given task. Also, enabling a greater review of how successful those strategies were. You might share what methods past successful students have used and what positive destinations they have moved onto. 

6)     Promote discovery Learning – When students have some basic knowledge, encourage participation in challenging learning experiences. They will then construct their metacognitive strategies, which they can subsequently review how effective they are. 

7)    Modelling excellence – It’s key to provide experiences where novices can observe the proficient use of a skill from a mentor and then review the metacognitive strategies used. This modelling of excellence is a great way to try what works for others to see if it has the same level of success for us. It is interesting to note that it has become autonomous over time when one is excellent at something. Consequently, they may struggle to articulate what they do so well, believing by now it’s just something that happens. By breaking a strategy down step by step, it should be possible to model and try yourself. 

8)     Solve Problems with a Team – Discussing possible approaches with team members and learning through different methods can help enhance metacognitive strategies.

9)     Think Aloud – Teach students to think aloud and identify their thoughts while performing a difficult task. A knowledgeable partner can then point out errors in thinking, or the individual can use this approach for increased self-awareness during learning. Another approach to thinking aloud is the ‘Walking, Talking Mock’ where the teacher and students work through exam questions, which can help students improve their comprehension of a complex subject.

10)  Provide Opportunities for Making Errors – Allowing students to make errors in and outside of class stimulates reflection on the causes of their mistakes. In addition, because a safe culture is apparent, it helps develop a growth mindset as students won’t fear making errors.


Learning is about experimenting and understanding what works. As teachers, we need to create learning environments that inspire creativity and trial and error learning—ultimately building the necessary metacognitive strategies. If this is successful, we will have a more significant impact on lifelong learning as students will be able to face challenges with an array of tools to navigate their way through successfully. If they are unsuccessful, they know they can try a different strategy next time. 

Author: Dan Beale


Follow Teaching Matters on LinkedIn

Stay up to date with our latest communications by following us on LinkedIn. Click on the button below to view our latest news:

Teaching Matters LinkedIn Profile   LinkedIn Logo

5 ways to ensure the success of your Trainee Teacher.

As a manager, you will understand the importance of recruiting and maintaining good quality teaching staff. By taking on an apprentice, you will have the opportunity to help develop them as a teacher whilst they complete their apprenticeship training. 

Ensure that your apprentice understands your expectations whilst studying and give them regular feedback on how they are performing in their new role. By making sure your apprentice is clear what their role and responsibilities are and outlining any key performance indicators (KPIs) they should be aiming for, you will help support them in their role, giving them support for their role apprenticeship. Ensure that you monitor how they cope with the extra work associated with their apprenticeship and take care of their general well-being.

It is likely you will naturally offer your member of staff support, but here are five ways to ensure the success of your trainee teacher:

1. Giving them time to learn and develop

There are many ways you can give support, but the most significant one is supporting them in completing their 20% off-the-job training, including checking if they are logging enough 20% off-the-job hours. Ensure that the timetable allows time for their off-the-job training, for instance, adjusting the timeframe so that your apprentice has 30 minutes to prepare before their lessons start. Ensure that you have enough staff to cover the hours your apprentice will need to carry out their 20% off-the-job when you are doing your curriculum planning.     

2. Allocate a mentor

It would be best if you allocated a mentor so that trainee teachers have someone experienced that they can share any concerns they may have.

This person should also be someone they can trust to give them good advice and steer them in the right direction.  

3. Offering training opportunities

Try to give them opportunities to carry out training in areas where they would not usually be involved to broaden their knowledge and skills further. 

You could look at ways to shadow other teachers to gather tips from them and benefit from some more experienced teaching practice; this will also help other teachers share good practice. Find ways to suggest different training opportunities such as attending conferences, taking part in meetings, and generally giving them exposure to areas within your organisation which could give them a valuable insight into how it works.  

You could set up workshops to assist your apprentice in developing schemes of work and how they should plan for learning. You might also support them by giving them opportunities to build their presentation skills. This will help to prepare for their presentation at their end-point assessment.

4. Help to develop knowledge, skills and behaviours

Your apprentice will have to learn a range of new knowledge, skills and behaviours and any support you can give to them whilst they develop these will help them along their journey. Ensure that you are familiar with the Standard they are working towards to discuss areas where they might need additional support. They will also have to undertake two teaching observations, and helping them prepare for these will help build their confidence in the classroom.

5. Attend and engage in progress reviews

Ensure that you take part in their regular progress reviews to see that they are on target and not falling behind. Remember to give feedback if you see them doing something well. It’s important to build self-confidence in your apprentice and help them grow in their role and take ownership of their work tasks.  

You may be able to help them with hints and tips on practical study skills that will assist throughout the programme and when they are preparing for their end-point assessment. You will have an important role to play when agreeing when your apprentice is ready to finish their practical training and enter the gateway in preparation for end-point assessment.  

Your apprentice is investing a lot of time and energy to develop and progress in their career; try to be the best you can to support them at this vital time. Make sure that they have the best possible experience, which you and your colleagues have well supported.


Follow Teaching Matters on LinkedIn

Stay up to date with our latest communications by following us on LinkedIn. Click on the button below to view our latest news:

Teaching Matters LinkedIn Profile   LinkedIn Logo

Announcing the launch of our new teaching jobs vacancies webpage!

Great news, we have launched a new teaching jobs vacancies page on our Teaching Matters website, as a free value-added service to clients of FE Associates. We created this webpage as a way of thanking our clients for their ongoing custom and support. 


The new teaching jobs vacancies webpage is a free advertising platform that allows our clients to source bettered suited candidates in their recruitment ventures and fill their vacancy roles. Likewise, our Teaching Matters website traffic has grown by 8% week on week since it launched a few weeks ago, ultimately providing our clients with a high traffic platform to fill their teaching vacancy roles.


We spent many hours on the design of the teaching jobs vacancies page to ensure end-users had all the relevant information they needed while on their pursuit of a new teaching role. To view our new webpage, click on the link below to view our new value-added service.


Our Jobs Page


We have made it easy for existing FE Associates clients to get their jobs listed on our new teaching jobs vacancies webpage. Ask a member of your HR team to complete the proforma linked below and return it to our Marketing Manager, Jack Moriarty –


TM Job Request Details


The job will then be uploaded, and you will be notified when your vacancy has gone live on our website, simple!


We are delighted that we can provide this valued added service to our existing clients, and we look forward to promoting your teaching vacancies. 



Follow Teaching Matters on LinkedIn

Stay up to date with our latest communications by following us on LinkedIn. Click on the button below to view our latest news:

Teaching Matters LinkedIn Profile  LinkedIn Logo

Why you should log your 20% off-the-job hours

Have you ever considered why it is essential for you to log your 20% off-the-job training as an apprentice? 

Maybe you think it isn’t important and it is just another task that you have to find time to complete? This is a rhetorical question since you will have to find time to do it anyway.

How great is it to be able to reflect on the new skills you are learning whilst you log your off-the-job hours? This time has been given to you by your employer to learn new skills and behaviours associated with your job role. Why run the risk of failing your course because you haven’t taken the time to log all of the hours of hard work you have put into your training and list the new incredible skills you have developed?

This time taken away from your day job is designed to set you up for success in achieving gateway and your final end-point assessment. You don’t have to be physically away from work; the hours only need to be separate from your everyday role. Being meticulous about logging these hours is essential for you to achieve your apprenticeship and, therefore, your goal of becoming qualified.

It is good practice to complete a training log to remember all of the valuable things you learn on your apprenticeship journey. 

This can then be reviewed by your tutor to establish whether you have any gaps in your knowledge and skills so that they can work with you to address any shortfalls. Your tutor should have shared with you the types of activities that count towards your 20% off-the-job hours. A few of these can include:

  • Researching and writing assignments
  • Revising for your end of point assessment (EPA)
  • Attending online training sessions

You could also develop a reflective log that gives you some private time to write down your thoughts about your new knowledge and skills and work out how you will put these into practice. You may want to share some of the skills you are developing with other people in your team.

As part of your training log, try breaking the overall number of hours needed into a monthly target so that you can add these up as you go along. This way, you will be able to see if you are achieving your target. Remember, 20% off-the-job is the minimum you will need to achieve overall success at the EPA and using a log to track your progress is an excellent discipline to adopt.

You have an excellent opportunity to study for your apprenticeship. 

Your employer has invested time and money to enable you to progress your career. They have even given you time off to study! By logging the hours you are taking to learn, you can track your progress and work towards your EPA, knowing that you have everything covered to show that you are occupationally competent in your chosen career. 

Take the time to make your apprenticeship work for you, record the steps you have taken along the way to success and take pride in the new knowledge and skills you are gaining.


Follow Teaching Matters on LinkedIn

Stay up to date with our latest communications by following us on LinkedIn. Click on the button below to view our latest news:

Teaching Matters LinkedIn Profile   LinkedIn Logo

Great news, our new website is live!

After weeks of research, planning and many hours of hard work, we are proud to announce the launch of our new website.

Our goal is to provide visitors with an easier way to learn about our unique suite of innovative and ambitious National Training Programmes, funded by the Levy for Teachers and Quality Professionals in Further Education and Skills.


Our current and prospective clients can find helpful information about our programmes on the homepage of our new website. We have also included further information for employers, a webpage to provide clarity on apprenticeship funding and how this applies to your organisation and a link to the blog section on our homepage, so that you can keep up with the latest Teaching Matters news.

Our Pledge

We endeavour in the pursuit of developing the highest standard of Teachers, Leaders and Quality Professionals in the Further Education and Skills sector. Our Teaching Matters Coaches, Lecturers and Support Team work around the clock to deliver programmes that develop Trainee Teachers and Quality Professionals to be more employer-focused and inform their working practices. Our Quality Practitioner Level 4 Apprenticeship is a personal highlight of our programme offering to develop individuals skills as a quality professional through training with a national network of quality experts. Throughout the apprenticeship, individuals will develop a range of knowledge, skills and behaviours and learn:

  • How to contribute to the formulation of the quality strategy
  • The management of learner and employer satisfaction activities
  • Deployment of quality policies and governance
  • How to guide teams to improve quality, competence and performance
  • To plan and conduct audits and other assurance activities
  • How to develop quality control plans for outstanding practice
  • To guide the use of methods and tools to improve quality performance
  • To solve problems such as non-conformance and overcoming challenges
  • Practical application of quality risk management and mitigation

Click on the image below to find out more:

A middle aged woman reading an educational book


Social Media

We have included an integrated social media button to our Teaching Matters LinkedIn profile to foster improved communication with our clients. We will constantly update our website content with helpful information, blogs, opinion pieces, testimonials and much more.

Teaching Matters LinkedIn Profile LinkedIn Logo

We hope you find the new website fresh and modern; we worked hard to make sure it contains valuable information to assist you with your enquiries and needs. If you have any questions on any of our programmes, contact us via the enquiry form linked below or call 01454 617 707.

Contact Us Button

Rethinking Teacher Training in Further Education

As colleges and training providers face the challenges of responding to a post-Covid-19 world and the development and delivery of the skills that are going to achieve the ambitions of the Build Back Better agenda, it has never been more critical to invest in the skills and training of teachers and trainers in further education (FE). Teaching staff need the skills, confidence, and commitment to advance learners’ skills, aspirations, careers, and high quality, expertly informed teacher training is crucial to this.

The recently published Skills White Paper makes a compelling case for supporting outstanding teaching and ensures that initial teacher education in FE is driven by quality, attractive and accessible training routes. Therefore, colleagues new to teaching in FE and serving teachers needing to upskill need to have access to contemporary programmes of teacher training that build the knowledge, skills and behaviours that ensure outstanding classroom practice.

Therefore, here at FE Associates (FEA), we launched the first national Level 5 Learning and Skills Teacher Apprenticeship Standard, bringing teachers from across the sector to learn and develop collaboratively and confidently. Through our new  Teaching Matters division, this new innovative approach to teacher development in further education focuses on building the skills of dual professionals through the expertise of leading teaching and learning experts such as Deborah McVey and Annie Pendry, who work with trainees to hone their teaching skills through the development of a national community of teaching practice.

In addition, individualised coaching support provided by leading practitioners, many of whom with current inspection experience, ensures trainees are supported by those at the forefront of quality assurance and improvement.

Many levy paying sector employers are not fully utilising their apprenticeship levy, so this is a golden opportunity for colleges and training providers to build their talent pipeline, drive excellence, and utilise their levy.

The development of FEA’s Teaching Matters division and the introduction of the nationally offered Level 5 Apprenticeship Standard for trainee teachers in FE is the brainchild of FEA Commercial Director Dave Sykes, who commented: “All of us at FEA are passionate about driving the quality of teaching and learning across the sector. We have a well-established track record in training and development and Teaching Matters, and apprenticeship delivery was very much a natural progression for us at FEA.”

Donna Clifford, Programme Director, considers the Teaching Matters Level 5 Apprenticeship Standard unique. It identifies the opportunities trainees have to learn from true experts alongside teachers from across the sector and the chance to gain a view informed by a wide range of practice.

Since launching Teaching Matters and securing a place on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers, the Teaching Matters offer has been extended to include a sector-specific Level 4 Apprenticeship Standard for Quality Practitioners and a broader range of teacher development programmes.


If you have any questions about Teaching Matters programmes, contact us via the enquiry form linked below or call 01454 617 707.

Get in touch button


Or click on the images below to find out more about our programmes:

Two women collaborating making notes on a whiteboard    Woman writing notes while using her laptop and drinking tea


Teaching Matters LinkedIn Profile

We have included an integrated social media button on this website to foster improved communication with our clients.

Click on the graphic below to see our latest update:

LinkedIn Logo

FE Associates Vlog 2 Objective Setting

Objective Setting

Setting objectives is an opportunity to inspire students. I  look at objective setting like a trailer, its an opportunity to inspire students as to what they will be learning in the lesson.

I am very consciously not looking at lots of underpinning theory. Instead I explain how to look at objective setting as four levels of quality.

FE Associates Vlog 1 – Ofsted Framework

In this first VLOG I make refence to the new Ofsted Framework (EIF) and some key changes. Pilot organisations have spoken very highly of both its look and feel, so this seems like a very positive step forward for the sector.

In my 16 years in FE I have remained a passionate believer that all students have the ingredients for success, and perhaps any barriers they may have are attributed to a lack of effective strategies and study habits. In this VLOG I refer to effective learning strategies as a way to build positive attitudes and behaviours in students (a key judgement in the EIF). I believe all students can develop strategies and habits in order to be successful, and these are a product of trial and error and a lot of practice as opposed to simple luck from the gene pool. I also believe if a strategy works for one student, then it can be modelled and shared with others who may benefit from these too. In fact, it could be the moment that unlocks their potential.

At the end of this vlog I refer to a series of questions called ‘Strategy Elicitation Questions’ which can be found on the Teaching Tips & Resources page. These questions are designed to capture strategies from highly successful students, as it can be difficult for people to articulate what they do so well. After all, when one is ‘excellent’ it requires little thought as it is so well-rehearsed.

I hope this vlog inspires you to investigate how and why some students are successful, and what strategies you can capture, model, and share in order to develop positive attitudes and behaviours in all our students.

Considering Leadership in FE

As a teacher, you may be considering the next step in your career to your first leadership position. And for current leaders, you are probably reflecting upon how successful you were in your approach and what key learning points you will be taking forward. As a current senior leader, I devote a significant amount of time reflecting on my values and behaviours and whether I am having the positive impact I would like.

The recent Department of Education research report in 2018 by Prof David Greatbatch and Sue Tate ‘Teaching, leadership and governance in further education’ identifies the need to actively develop FE leaders as the current age profile of senior leaders suggests many are nearing retirement. The literature postulates that the sector must identify future leaders and support these individuals on their career path.

Greany et al. (2014) identify a series of skills necessary to be an effective leader. “Personal effectiveness and self-awareness – including the ability to recognise the impact of behaviour on others, modifying it where needed and working under pressure”. This skill resonates with me and highlights the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership. The following points highlight what I continue to learn to ensure this skill is developed.

Being comfortable with being you
Gaining a leadership role does not mean you have to adopt a new persona, nor do you need to digest and regurgitate a book on management theory every day. You have earned the position for being you, for demonstrating skills and qualities that the organisation want to invest in with the hope that you will go on to inspire other staff to adopt the same values and behaviours. Yes, some relationships will change as a result of moving to an elevated position, however, integrity is key, and staff will respect this.

Imposter Syndrome
I think this is inevitable and it’s that moment in time when we doubt ourselves and question whether we possess the necessary skills and qualities to lead others. In a study in 2013, researcher Hoang (2013), proposed that intrinsic motivation can decrease the feelings of being a fraud that are common in impostor phenomenon. On occasions I have experienced this and when I do I have a useful strategy that helps me. I keep a folder on my desktop of all the positive emails, messages, tweets, LinkedIn comments I have received. By reading these I am reminded that I do make a difference and that I really enjoy what I do. It is easy to forget past successes – keep a record!

I have found leaders that are comfortable with sharing a vulnerability gain more respect from colleagues as it brings a real authenticity to their leadership. It is ok to be honest with what is a concern and a nervousness around achieving goals. When colleagues see this I find they are more inclined to be on board and share the mission. In addition, staff will be more inclined to share their concerns and this supports an open and transparent culture, essential for effective quality improvement.

It’s essential to know what makes you tick, what motivates you and what gives you a fire in your belly. If your drivers are not being met, this will, in time, hinder your ability to love your work. Take a moment to reflect upon the week that has just passed, did you get enough of what motivates you? If not, what can you change to ensure more of your week encapsulates this.

Never allow yourself to be governed by the limiting attitudes of others. As leaders we can’t put on a cape and fly round the establishment solving every problem, many staff possess all the necessary skills and knowledge to solve problems themselves. Empowering others to find solutions supports a culture of devolved leadership.

With the upcoming shifts in the sector in terms of leadership positions, there’s never been a better time to apply all those excellent skills and qualities you have learned from teaching to leading staff.


Greany, T., Doughty, J., Earley, P., Farrar, M., Grainger, P., Hodgson, A. and Nelson, R. (2014). Leading in Volatile Times: Learning from Leadership Beyond the Education and Training Sector. London: Education and Training Foundation.
Greatbatch, D., Tate, S. (2018) Teaching, leadership and governance in Further Education: Department for Education.
Hoang, Q. (2013) “The Impostor Phenomenon: Overcoming Internalized Barriers and Recognizing Achievements,” The Vermont Connection: Vol. 34 , Article 6

The Power of Language: Progress and Effort vs Gifted and Talented

The terms ‘gifted’ and ‘talented’ are widely used in all walks of life, and can be defined as “having exceptional talent or natural ability”.

In education this implies every learner has a ceiling and their success, or lack thereof, is predetermined.

Effort will not have an impact, and our success in life is attributed to luck from the gene pool. Surely education is about breaking down barriers and instilling a belief that more is always a possibility. If we take all successful people in life, whether it be sport, art, academics – yes people will quickly identify them as ‘talented’ that they ‘have a gift’, but these statements miss the collective constant – effort. A relentless drive to be successful has been the determining factor and a positive trait they all share. I also find this language interesting since organisations actively measure value added i.e. progress from starting point.

Is it right to praise a learner with straight As at school, (or 8s as it is now known) by attributing it to them being clever, or the fact it comes naturally? “Hold on a minute! I worked for hours upon hours for that success!” said one learner. Which learner has acquired the better skillset for future success, the learner who breezed through their GCSEs and achieved straight As without effort, or the learner who worked incredibly hard to achieve the same grades? Employers will certainly be looking at effort and application and one of these two learners has developed a very useful transferable skill to the workplace.

As a consequence, it is essential we praise the process one went through to achieve i.e. the effort. To praise the outcome and then attribute this to ‘being clever’ or ‘a natural’ is not going to promote a growth mindset, but rather a fixed one. And of course, what happens when a learner is not successful? They believe they are not clever, they don’t have a predetermined ‘gift’ and that extra effort will be irrelevant in making further progress. Some of you will be very familiar with Carol Dweck’s 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success where she explores this topic. How many students believe ‘they can’t’ or they are ‘not clever’. I will never forget a student parent meeting where the parents reinforced several times that their child had never been any good at maths! I asked the learner how many times they had heard this from people and how often he said it to himself. “Every day” he said. The root cause of this is interesting – it is a classic example of attributing failure to ‘ability’. We can link the work by Carol Dweck to Attribution theory by Weiner (1974)


If we attribute failure to ability this is both internal (a reflection of self) and stable (it won’t change). As depicted above. It was very clear this learner had consistently attributed failure to ‘ability’ and had now developed ‘learner helplessness’ – the belief that one’s effort will not change the outcome. It is a sad reality that too many learners develop learned helplessness which leads to a fixed mindset and a lack of belief in oneself. Students are certainly moulded by the influence of parents and teachers so we must be very aware of our use of language. Are we challenging this attitude, or are we facilitating it?

Some examples of self-deprecating language to look out for:

  • If I study hard and fail, I will look and feel incompetent. That is, if I give my best effort and fail, everyone, including me, will know that I don’t have the ability to do well on this test.
  • If I study hard and pass, the hard work will reduce the glory of my success. People, including me, will think I had to work hard in order to succeed. If I were really smart, I wouldn’t have to work so hard.
  • If I don’t study and fail, I can explain this failure by noting that I haven’t even tried. If I haven’t tried, then people, including me, will think that I could have succeeded if I had really tried. I may fail the test, but at least no one will have evidence that I’m stupid.
  • If I don’t study and pass, then people, including me, will know that I’m a genius. The only explanation for my success would have to be that I have really high ability.

Teachers have a wonderful opportunity in their work to re-set any negative beliefs learners may have and stop this becoming their focus. A key question for me is – do we enable our learners to experience early success in their studies? do we strive to instil a belief that they can achieve? and do we praise the process and attribute this success to ‘effort’ as opposed to ‘ability’?

The same principles apply to teachers. All teachers can develop their teaching practice, break down barriers, take risks and be innovative. This will only happen if the organisation invests in CPD and adopts a lesson observation policy which enables staff to own their development and indeed be supported to embed new techniques. A coaching culture and sharing of best practice are key to increasing teacher confidence together with a belief that they can continuously grow and develop as skilled practitioners.

Learner feedback is key to developing a growth mindset in our learners. Below are a series of questions Ofsted will consider when reviewing learner work:

  1. Is the work well presented? Does the learner take pride in their work?
  2. Is the standard of work appropriate to the level and time in the academic year?
  3. Does the feedback make clear how the learner could improve their work?
  4. Is it clear what the learner has done well?
  5. Is it clear what skills the learner could develop to help with future work?
  6. Are errors in relation to spelling, punctuation & grammar identified?

It is pleasing to see Ofsted’s focus on reviewing the quality of feedback and how it aligns to developing a growth mindset, and not feedback which solely focuses on outcome. We recently held a joint work scrutiny activity at college to review the quality of marked work using the questions stated above. It was a fascinating activity and it is certainly very easy to fall into the trap of simply marking to state a grade, of course, time is always a barrier and the sector is actively investing in numerous software packages to make marking less time consuming.

So, Is the use of ‘gifted’ and ‘talented’ positive language in education?

I certainly believe many more students would positively approach challenges if they believed everyone has the tools to be successful and that failure is a part of learning and attributed to ‘effort’ as opposed to ‘ability’. Progress from starting point is an essential measure to review the impact the organisation has had on each learner irrespective of starting point, every learner is on their own journey with their own aspirations, so to pigeon hole learners in a certain category can develop limiting behaviours which is a sad irony considering our role is to break down barriers.

I certainly support the new proposed Ofsted framework which adds focus on the learner experience and less focus on simply academic outcomes. I hope this proves to be the case in reality – it will go some way to developing the student we teach.

Can you imagine a society that didn’t posses limiting attitudes and behaviours, but was collectively aspirational, a society which isn’t governed by what could go wrong, but what could be amazing.

As Henry Ford once said:

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right,”

Language is power.

Kind regards,


Sticky notes on a white board