The landscape of education is constantly evolving, and with it, the methodologies we employ to support and assess our educators. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), "Improvement through Empowerment" report, published in November 2023, urges a pivotal shift in educational paradigms, particularly in the area of classroom observations.  

A Fresh Perspective on Classroom Observations 

Historically, classroom observations have been somewhat rigid, often leading to broad and generic judgements based on a snapshot account of what’s happening in the classroom on that day. This traditional approach has not only been stressful for teachers but also less effective in addressing the unique challenges each educator faces. The report emphasises the necessity for change, advocating for assessments that are "separate in each area of the inspection framework" to appreciate the distinct contexts within classrooms​​. 

Traditional classroom observations are also skewed by the Hawthorne Effect, where the presence of an observer or obtrusive video recording equipment influences teacher performance and student responses and behaviours. This phenomenon often results in assessments that do not accurately reflect typical and everyday classroom dynamics. The report advocates for a more authentic and individualised approach to understanding the complexities of classroom interactions. 


Empowering Teachers through Technology 

The findings bring into focus the innovative capabilities of 360-degree video lesson capture and observation solution, a tool that aligns with the report's recommendation to move beyond "overarching judgements" and towards more nuanced, contextual evaluations.  

This technology is a beacon in this shift towards more empathetic and effective educational practices. A 360-degree view of the entire classroom environment allows for a comprehensive understanding of teaching dynamics, enabling evaluators and educators alike to engage in a more detailed and empathetic review process. It embodies the report's vision of creating "a new format for detailed reports to the school and regulator", focusing on the specific nature and extent of improvement required. 

Addressing the Hawthorne Effect, this technology employs discreet yet non-concealed ceiling-mounted cameras, reducing the impact on teacher and student behaviour. It captures a genuine representation of the classroom, enabling evaluators to gain authentic insights into teaching methods and student interactions. 

Putting Teachers in Control 

At the heart of innovative educational technology is the empowerment it should provide to teacher users. This empowerment comes from giving teachers autonomy over the video footage. Allowing educators to select which aspects of their lessons they share, ensures their comfort and trust in the observation process. This level of control is crucial in fostering a positive, reflective, and developmental approach to professional growth.

Enhancing Feedback and Development 

The multi-dimensional feedback provided by this technology transcends traditional, one-way evaluations. It enriches the feedback process with diverse insights over time as opposed to traditional, scheduled lesson observations, facilitating a deeper understanding of teaching practices. This approach resonates with the report's recommendation for narrative-driven, clear, and accessible reports, offering a data-backed foundation for constructive dialogue and development. 

Building Teacher Trust and Continuous Improvement 

Moving away from the conventional 'top-down' observation model, the latest approaches in educational technology foster a culture of empowerment, trust, and continuous professional development among teachers. Teachers should be the ones telling leaders and whomever else that they not only know what they’re doing but are great at it too. Teachers should feel empowered to try things out within a safety net of a school-wide culture of mutual development.  


The integration of ONVU Learning's unique 360-degree video lesson capture solution is transforming lesson observations and is a testament to the evolving needs of the educational sector. It not only aligns with the forward-thinking recommendations of the "Improvement through Empowerment" report but also paves the way for a future where our educators are empowered, and their individual challenges acknowledged. 

You can download the full Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR),"Improvement through Empowerment" report at: 


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An insightful and informative report exploring how schools and multi academy trusts can achieve quality professional development and build a highly engaged teacher workforce.

With contributions from influential education leaders, it’s a read you won't want to miss.

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