Observing trainees, grading and providing feedback

Our trainees are required to have 8 summative observations of their teaching practice (10 if they are undertaking the ESOL/Literacy pathway) all on University of Bolton ITE observation templates (available on the quick links menu to the right of this page).

You will see from the table below that we ask the mentor to undertake 2 ungraded observations early on in the trainees’ practice – this will enable the trainee to get some essential feedback in the early stages on which to develop their practice. Subsequent observations must be undertake by an ‘approved’ assessor and the final four observations are graded.

Note that observation reports must be completed electronically


Following a standardisation event between University of Bolton Teacher Educators and our partner organisations we produced more detailed guidance for grading and you will see this document in the right hand column. Grading is challenging and we encourage discussion on grading decisions amongst assessors. Remember these are trainee teachers and therefore will usually in the early stages there are a number of areas for development. The key point is that the trainee teacher is listening to and responding to feedback.


Feedback is an essential component of the observation process and is key to trainee teacher development. See our guidance on this page (good practice in observations and essential questions to ask trainees.)

Note: Have you read the trainee’s responsibilities in relation to their teaching placement? See the Programme Handbook and/or Mentor Guide.  

Recommendations for Good Practice in Observing Trainee
Key Questions for and Feedback to Trainees
Guidance for Grading Observation

ITE 14+ Teaching Practice Hours and Observations of Teaching

Stage one (up to 50 hours or 60 ESOL/Literacy)

Stage two (up to 100 hours or 120 ESOL/Literacy)

Unsuccessful observations

  • Mentor completes 2 ungraded observations
  • Trained assessor completes 2 ungraded observations (3 for ESOL/Literacy)
  • Total observations Generic, TLAN and Numeracy pathways = 4
  • Total observations ESOL/Literacy pathway = 5
  • Mentor supports in a formative way
  • Trained assessor completes 4 final graded observations (Plus 1 for ESOL/Literacy)
  • Total observations Generic, TLAN and Numeracy pathways = 4
  • Total observations ESOL/Literacy pathway = 5
  • Mentor supports in a formative way, ensuring the University tutor is aware of the grade
  • Trainee undertakes additional 10 hours of practice for each unsuccessful observation
  • Trained assessor completes additional observations as needed
  • Total successful observations required = 8 Generic, TLAN & Numeracy and 10 for ESOL/Literacy

Observation Reports

Formal written feedback for trainees must be completed on the relevant UoB template. The feedback provided is key to our trainees’ developmental progress, providing a thorough critique of their teaching, which will allow them to develop and act upon essential goals.  Therefore please ensure the commentary on the observation report contains sufficient detail for the trainee, in particular areas of development and areas of strength relating to the ETF Professional Standards.  Examples are provided on this page for you.  You will note that there are different ways of structuring these reports as long as the key points indicated are addressed. Remember you are observing and providing feedback on what is going on in the classroom and how this relates to standards and expectations.