Black woman writing notes


Excessive classroom observation is one of the biggest sources of stress and does not of itself lead to better practice.

Observations are part of the appraisal process and, when carried out as part of a process of constructive engagement within an atmosphere of support and co-operation, can be beneficial.

However, excessive numbers of observations can be counter-productive and do not necessarily lead to better outcomes for pupils. There are other ways of supporting staff development, for example through a school’s CPD programme.

There is no statutory limit on the number of teacher observations but NEU policy is for a maximum of three per year for all purposes, not exceeding three hours in total. An annual limit of three hours’ lesson observation was previously included in the Education (School Teacher Performance Management) (England) Regulations 2006; however this legislation was repealed by the Coalition Government in 2012.

Your workplace should be committed to ensuring that classroom observation and learning walks are developmental and supportive, and that those involved in the process will:

  •  carry out the role with professionalism, integrity and courtesy;
  •  seek to reach agreement in advance on how classroom observations are to be carried out;
  • evaluate objectively;
  • report accurately and fairly;
  • respect the confidentiality of the information obtained.

Download our classroom observation model policy.

Related information

Young man looking worried

Performance management

The NEU has produced a guidance, including model policies and checklists, to help you with performance management in your workplace, including appraisals and capability.

Stressed man in an office

Your rights at work

NEU members have access to a wealth of expertise advice which addresses common employment workplace issues.

Back to top