For the last few years I have spoken with each pupil in a one to one meeting which have become known as ‘the daily dozen’. The topics covered in the junior years have normally concentrated on getting to know a little about the pupil and in checking to see how well they were settling or integrating onto school life. In the senior phase conversations concentrate on courses and programmes and plans for destinations beyond school.
In past years the target has been to see each pupil at least twice during the year and with the possibility for a third tracking and target setting meeting for pupils taking National 5 or Highers.
It is clear from their feedback that the pupils value these conversations and I would envisage them continuing.
Gathering Information about the school
In the term ahead I would like to alter the format of the ‘daily dozen’ conversations slightly so that I could more directly canvass pupil opinion about the school and about the part they play in it. The areas to be explored would be similar to those delved into by the HMIe and shown below.
|Pupils thoughts about themselves
1. I am getting along well with my school work. (PW12)
2. I enjoy learning at school. (PW16)
3. I feel safe and cared for in school. (PW1)
4. I have adults in school who know me well (PW2)
5. I know who to go to if I am upset or worried about something. (PW3)
6. I have a say in making the way we learn in school better.
7. I get help when I need it
8. I find it easy to talk to staff
9. I am happy in school (PW10)
|Pupils thoughts about teachers
10. Staff encourage me to do the best I can.
11. Staff talk to me regularly about how to improve my learning. (PW11)
12. Staff are good at helping me sort things out.(PW4)
13. Staff listen to me and pay attention to what I say. (PW18)
14. Staff expect me to take responsibility for my own work in class.
15. Staff and pupils treat me fairly and with respect. (PW19&20)
16. Staff make sure that pupils behave well. (PW21)
17. Staff help me with my learning when I need it. (PW13)
18. Staff set a good example.
|Pupils thoughts about the school
19. The school is good at dealing with bullying behaviour.
20. The school knows about things I am good at. (PW 14)
21. The school is helping me to become more confident.
22. The school encourages me to make healthy-food choices.(PW6)
23. The school helps me stay safe when I am using technology(PW5)
24. The school helps me become involved in improving my community (PW17)
25. I exercise in school and take part in out-of-class activities and school clubs. (PW10)
26. I know what out-of-school activities and youth groups are available in my local area.
27. The pupil council is good at getting improvements made in the school.
I would also like to begin discussions with pupils about their understanding to the skills they are developing while at school. In particular I would like to see how aware they are of what we are doing to develop their, communication skills, interpersonal skills, thinking skills and employability skills.
Making this happen.
Clearly it would not be possible to discuss these areas with each pupil independently. What I would propose is
- Meet all S1-S3 pupils in groups of about 8 for 30 – 40 minutes.
- Invite a Depute Rector, PTC or another member of staff to sit in on these conversations
- Ask a member of the office staff to attend as a note taker
- Start with a 5 minute introduction of what I believe are the strengths of our curriculum
- Broaden this discussion out and ask pupils to identify what they think we are good at
- Divide pupils into groups to discuss how they would answer some of the HMIe questions. (Possibly include some of the Pupilwise ones as well)
- Amend lists of strengths and create list of areas for improvement.
- Initiate a discussion with pupils to gauge their awareness of their own skills and abilities
- Produce a final paper summarising the pupils views and including an action plan to address shortcomings.
Our interaction with pupils is seen as one of our strengths. The desired outcome of this initiative is that pupils themselves are able to identify and appreciate the qualities of Viewforth.