Teacher wins battle to publish observation notes

A teacher has successfully published Ofsted’s observation notes of a lesson following a lengthy battle between the inspectorate, the Information Commissioner, and the National Archives.

Harry Fletcher-Wood, a former history teacher at Greenwich free school, used the Data Protection Act to request the notes after an inspection last year, but was told that crown copyright banned him from sharing or publishing the information.

In October, Schools Week reported that Ofsted was unable to say if copyright could be waived and that the decision rested with the controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. The controller told
Mr Fletcher-Wood that he could publish the information.

Mr Fletcher-Wood, now associate director of knowledge development at TeachFirst, quoted the controller on his blog: “There would be no objection from a crown copyright point of view, it all depends on whether the data subject is content or not.”

He said: “I think it’s extremely important that we promote transparency about the processes and consequences of inspection, so I’m glad that all teachers will be able to publish their lesson observation notes freely in future.”