School Visits 2

As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post I intend to make three school visits each week in the coming session.

The focus of my visits are: leadership; self-evaluation and learning tasks.

At our Quality Improvement Group meeting this afternoon I was asked what I was looking for in relation to the last of these points of focus.

So here goes:


What is the purpose of my classroom visits? – to focus our attention upon the  selection of challenging and appropriate learning tasks by teachers in the learning and teaching process.
Why is this important?  – where children are required to undertake challenging and appropriate learning tasks the quality of their learning is significantly enhanced.
During my visits I’ll be asking:
· teachers to describe the learning task that they have set the class for that lesson.
· teachers to describe how this lesson connects with previous lessons and future lessons.
· children to tell me about their involvement in the setting of learning tasks
· children to tell me what they are doing and what they need to do to be successful in relation to the task.
During my visits I’ll be looking at:
· the level of pupil engagement in the learning task – at all ability levels within the class.
· the quality of children’s work.
· the information provided to children about the task
· the information provided to children about what a successful performance would look like.
Who will I visit?
· I would like to visit classes at random – rather than being directed to specific teachers.  On my arrival in school I will discuss with the Head Teacher which classrooms it will be appropriate for me to visit.
How many classrooms will I visit during my time in school?

· At least two – I will remain in each class for at least 20 minutes.

What feedback will I provide?

· I will write to the Head Teacher with feedback about my visit.

What will I do at the end of the year?

· I will complete a report on visits to schools and reflect upon the issues and good practice that have observed over the course of the year.

9 thoughts on “School Visits 2

  1. I can well understand some teachers might be stressed by the thought a visit from you Don, especially asking such searching questions, but I think they should also be pleased that you are getting out there to where it is happening, and in a spirit of shared professionalism.
    In nearly 10 years in my school, I have never seen a Director of Education in our classrooms, far less talking to the children here. Like you say, I am not making any judgement about Director competence here :-p
    Thinking about my own situation though, and having had my new class (of 31 P4s – pause for sympathetic tutting) for 2 whole days so far, (phew! is it only 2 days?) I’d be much more comfortable with someone like yourself coming in after say October, by which time new routines, dynamics and environment have become second nature and we are all more able to think beyond and expand our learning in other areas.

  2. What about the classroom outwith the four walls?

    East Lothian schools are involved in so many things that enhance the curriculum, eg outdoor learning/ eductation, visits, field studies, residentials, work within the school grounds, John Muir Awards, Duke of Edinburgh Awards etc.

    Can this be added to the mix of school/ teacher practise you look at and perhaps encourage?

  3. As a teacher I am very enthusiastic about the proposed visits to schools and in particular classrooms – however unlike Dorothy I would welcome a visit as much on the first day of a new session and or term, as later in the term – time to “settle in” is a luxury none of us can afford. I would not want to underestimate the young people – they are more than able to adapt to a new routine[s] or environment[s] – and I would welcome another colleague/manager supporting and challenging me with regard to how, as a unit, we, a] begin developing and building on our relationships,b] adapt to the learning environment, and, c] realise our potential as individuals and as part of the school community.

  4. Dorothy

    Thanks – it’s really useful to get a point of view from outwith the authority.


    Great idea – I’ll try to build it in


    The reality is that I’m going to have to start my visits next week – if I don’t, some schools will only get a one of visit in the course of the year – I’m aiming for at least two. Wallyford – I’m on my way!

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  6. Actually, I’ve no idea of the politics of this, but if you wanted to extend your action research beyond county boundaries, I’d be delighted to invite you to visit my classroom – not too far from home for you :-)Not that I think that mine is a shining example of good practice, but it would be good to speak with you.
    I realise that your aim of 12 classrooms a week in your own authority is a challenging one, and also that it might be too painful for the delicate toes of the education hierarchy, however, these things aside, you would be very welcome.

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