Sophie Anderson - My Progression

Sophie Anderson has consistently demonstrated outstanding teaching, learning and assessment in her delivery of ESOL classes at learningSkills.

The outstanding tutor and quality champion has been committed to developing her knowledge and practice since receiving an ‘inadequate’ grade in January 2019.


When observed in January 2019, observers identified that learners were not being challenged, with limited progress being made and limited assessment strategies being used. However, by November of the same year Sophie had developed her teaching strategies so much that she was graded ‘outstanding’. Observers particularly noted how engaged and motivated the learners were, how well the learners were assessed and the excellent amount of progress made by all learners.


When lockdown hit in March 2020, that did not stop Sophie from delivering outstanding teaching and learning. Sophie was the first teacher at learningSkills to be awarded Google Level 1 Educator Certified Status and used technology to engage her learners online with Google Classroom. Her latest observation was also evaluated as outstanding, with excellent progress and commitment to developing learners’ digital skills and other skills to help the learners in their everyday life.


Sophie is a Quality Champion and uses her knowledge to give advice, guidance and support to other tutors around embedding digital skills and improving the quality of teaching, learning and assessment. We asked Sophie some questions about her journey:


  1. How did the OTLA process support you in your development to Outstanding?

I started working at learningSkills in November 2018, my first OTLA was in January 2019, so I had only been here around 8 weeks when I was observed for the first time. This felt really nerve racking and in hindsight, I did not prepare myself at all! It was such a different role to my previous teaching positions with private language academies, and I think I was still going about things as if it was the same situation. The OTLA process showed me exactly what I needed to adjust and what I needed to change completely! It was great to have written feedback with a plan and guidance on next steps. It was a big shock to the system, but it was necessary to pinpoint how I could improve.


2.                 What have you changed in your delivery?

I have changed a lot since I started here! If I had a session plan from 2018 next to a session plan from 2021, they would not look like they were created by the same person. It’s also interesting to see my OTLA feedback from 2019 and my most recent as they are so so different. Now I try to have as much variety in the sessions as possible and try to focus on the pace of the lesson. I use a lot more technology and I’m always looking for new ways of doing things. Keeping things new and interesting is so important!


3.                 What made a difference to you?

I got a lot of support from my colleagues. Especially those who are regularly in my sessions. They gave me plenty of reassurance and help! I’m very lucky to be on such a great team. I was also given the opportunity to go to attend college and complete my CELTA. This was something that I had wanted to do for a really long time so I was extremely grateful to have this opportunity. This gave me the chance to really examine how I was approaching my sessions and it gave me lots of new ways of viewing things.