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Teachers should only be observed in accordance with their performance management planning statement. Teachers should not agree to any observations, including learning walks, that are not in their statement or that take them over the three-hour lesson observation limit.
However a headteacher has a duty to evaluate the standards of teaching and learning and has a right to use ‘drop-ins’ to inform their monitoring of the quality of learning.
Where the headteacher genuinely operates a drop-in of a few minutes and this does not involve formal observation of teaching but focuses on pupils’ learning, it would not be classed as a lesson observation.
However, if the headteacher focuses on the teacher or makes notes on the teacher’s performance or uses the visit for any other purpose the visit would be classed as a lesson observation.