Perfecting Progress Reviews

Is this a still from a film of a rare event: an outstanding work-based learning progress review? Can you remember the last Ofsted report you read that highlighted grade 1 reviews? Actually, it doesn’t matter at all that I filmed a WBL provider, this would be a great progress review whatever the remit. Or is it? I originally filmed Olga and Tanyia to provide material for a session on lesson observation for the WBL audience, but soon realised its value for a session on individual tutorials or progress reviews in any setting.

It’s a great shame that ‘Outstanding progress reviews’ isn’t a more common judgement, as it’s a central opportunity to identify any early signs of cracking in our learners’ façades, help them understand what might have caused any slippage with their progress, and to use our years of experience with other learners to help them mitigate the challenges we know they’re about to face. And then there are all the fillips we can create too, of course..

It’s a shame, because all you have to do is to sit down and decide what an outstanding progress review might look like – more specifically, how a learner would ideally be ‘different’ by the end of one. Too often, it feels like the ‘ideal’ that’s been set down in the quality manual is no more than an audit – that all the required boxes have been ticked.

The ‘Perfecting Progress Reviews’ session takes delegates through an efficient model for writing a Quality Standard for review work, and then shows how to use one to evaluate Olga’s impact on her learner. Then you’ll be able to make the decision for yourself about whether or not the session had an outstanding impact on Tanyia.

The next open session is Thursday, February 11th from 13:00 to 16:30 UK time. Hope you can join us. More details here:

And in the spirit of impact evaluation, here’s how some delegates said they were different after the session (I particularly like the one about sprouts):

“I like the idea of helping learners to fly.”  Blackburn with Darwin Borough Council

“The difference between being locked on a rigid train track with a single destination and a scenic, pleasurable journey where the details on the way are just as important.”  Blackpool Adult Learning Service

“A road map to outstanding.”  Bolton College

“An eye opener on what we could do better.”  City College Coventry

“Clarified the notion of considering the IMPACT that the process can make and that all discussions and interviews should be conducted with positive change in mind.”  Hills Road College

“It was like eating a sprout – I like sprouts, they are good for you, but not everyone gets them.”  Newcastle College

“I will create more space to develop the story/narrative, to develop the context of the tutorial.”  Northern College

“Mega lightbulb moment :)”  Preston’s College

“Insightful. I want to put these new skills into practice. Our review paperwork is clearly not fit for purpose.”  Solihull College and University Centre

“A candle being lit.”  South Downs College

“Like the barn door being opened and being let out into the sunny meadow.”  The Learning Foundry

“Target setting on its head. I love the way Tony always turns things upside down and inside out and makes me think outside the box.”  West Thames College


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Perfecting Progress Reviews

The Perfecting Progress Reviews session is designed to enable staff to:

  • produce an aspirational quality standard for progress monitoring
  • set out the data with which to identify the very first signs of underperformance
  • use an understanding of the difference between differentiated learning outcomes and the differentiated support required to achieve outstanding learning outcomes to challenge current teaching and tutorial practice
  • evaluate the tutorial practice of others
  • set out development priorities for their own practice.
Resources for use during the session

To support delegates in their post-session conversations and the embedding of the practice discussed, please find all of the session resources below:

Support resources
Other resources you may find useful
Related sessions
Have your say:

Did the session help you understand how commonplace teaching habits can reduce or deny the development of learners’ independent learning skills? Are you now able to see how you can constructively review your own practice? Please use the comments form to the right to leave us your thoughts. Are you experimenting with learners’ independent learning skills, and would you be willing to share your ideas for the benefit of others? Please use the email address on the Contact page and we’d be delighted to add your example to our growing resource.


  1. John Invernizzi
    February 10, 2021 @ 04:04 pm

    Enjoyed the session! Lots to take in!

  2. Jules E Lowes
    October 7, 2021 @ 12:12 pm

    Really enjoyed today, it brought up some thinking points and discussion topics for our group.
    Very helpful.

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