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Last Friday, in conjunction with the Sutton Trust, Professor Robert Coe of Durham University published his report What Makes Great Teaching? Sutton Trust Report His aim was to answer that apparently simple question and try to identify ways in which schools could promote the best possible learning for their pupils.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a number of Professor Coe’s findings might appear counter-intuitive to some observers. By linking teaching to the progress of pupils, Professor Coe is explicit that any judgement of the effectiveness of teaching must be checked against its impact on pupils’ outcomes. However, departing from those who have tended to believe that effective teaching can be measured by how well a teacher’s practice conforms to a set of ‘objective’ criteria – in layman’s terms ‘ticking boxes’ – Professor Coe values ‘consequential validity’. What he means...

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