Why developing a system for peer observations is important
For peer observations to be effective, it is important to involve team members in developing a system for peer observations. Involving the team in the process will help them understand how and why these are to be conducted.
When discussing with the team about peer observations, it is the managers responsibility to ensure the team is fully aware of the level of confidentiality and what they should do if they observe poor practice and identify safeguarding concerns. It is paramount that any areas of concern are reported straight to the manager especially if these are related to safeguarding.
Before setting up the system for peer observations it is best practice if the manager conducts peer observations initially with less qualified practitioners. This can help both role model how peer observations are carried out and also to identify if the system works. By implementing peer observations with a less qualified practitioner, it will help develop their confidence and provide a level of consistency throughout the provision.
Peer observation proforma
Some settings use proformas that contain useful prompts for the observer. These prompts can give the observer indicators as to what to look out for, e.g., are practitioners using effective body language when talking to the child.
The peer observation system will need to include information such as when and how practitioners will share observations with the managers. As discussed in the previous article this can be done during the employee’s supervision.
It is important that managers make this system very clear and ensure it links in with other systems, e.g., supervisions, monitoring the quality of the provision etc. It can be worthwhile creating a policy and procedure about peer observations or include this within another policy.
As well as having a peer observation sheet to fill out it is just important to have a feedback form. This can be as simple as information about the practitioner’s strengths, weaknesses, and targets set. It can also be beneficial to include any training that has been undertaken. This information can then be fed into employees individual training records.
How are peer observations carried out in your setting?
Read more about Giving constructive feedback after a peer observation