The state of Suffolk’s marking, feedback and response (according to Ofsted)


The following excerpts come from recent Ofsted reports in Suffolk. They are from a range of school types including a PRU and primary & secondary providers. All have been taken from

What is highlighted as good practice (school category in brackets)

“Teachers mark students work regularly and give helpful feedback on how to improve it. Students appreciate that teachers also give additional verbal feedback and support to individuals and groups of students. Students make very good use of this feedback to improve their work.” (Oustanding)

“Teachers mark work regularly. Their marking is at its best when they tell students how well they are doing and what they need to do to improve the quality of their work” (Good)

“Teachers’ marking is extremely good. It nearly always gives pupils a very clear picture of how well they are doing and what the next steps in learning are. Pupils are very clear about what their targets are, and most follow teachers’ guidance on how to improve their work. However, some do not and this occasionally slows the learning of these pupils.”(Outstanding)

What needs to be improved (school category in brackets)

“….give feedback to students by talking to them about their work in relation to that of high achievers, using marking to record what they are doing well and what they need to improve” (Requires Improvment)

“The quality of marking is inconsistent. There are some good examples, such as in English and in the sixth form. However, not enough teachers provide comments or examples showing how work can be improved. Students are not always clear about the standard of their work or what they can do independently to follow up teachers’ marking or feedback.” (Requires Improvement)

“…give pupils clear points for improvement when they mark their work, and give pupils time to make improvements.” (Inadequate)

“Although teachers are good at making sure students know what they need to do for their long- termsuccess, not all of them make sure students know exactly how well they have done in their written work and what they need to do to improve it.
Marking in books varies in quality and sometimes gives limited information to students.”(Good)

“The marking of written work is too variable. Sometimes workbooks go for long periods of time before they are marked, and this leads to a lack of pride in their presentation. Good examples of marking exist, often in English. However, the wider correction of poor spelling, grammar and basic handwriting skills is weak despite recent efforts to monitor these important aspects of learning.”(Inadequate)

“Discussions with students and a scrutiny of their books show that targets to help them improve are set in some subjects but not in others. Some teachers refer to expected target grades in their marking, others do not. Only a few teachers provide students with good quality advice on how to improve their work to attain a higher grade. Some teachers do not mark students’ books regularly enough.” (Inadequate)

This post is part of my preparation for #TeachMeetMMW (Mark my words) which is happening in Suffolk in November 2013. We have deliberately focussed our #TeachMeet on marking, feedback and response as it is something that can have significant impact on a child’s learning, is something fairly uncomplicated for a teacher to master and is commonly raised as a school’s area for development.

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