When surveyed a significant proportion of our pupils (e.g. 43% of S4) indicated that they are “uncertain about the progress they are making in their learning” (Q11). In addition over one third of S4, S5 and S6 told us that they were unsure about “what they can do to improve” (Q12). In response to these concerns we piloted and have now implemented a programme of “Learning Conversations” designed to allow class teachers to discuss current attainment and specific steps for improvement.

HGIOS4 Quality Indicator 2.3 Learning, Teaching and Assessment exemplifies very good practice where “learners receive high quality feedback and have an accurate understanding of their progress in learning and what they need to do to improve”. Similarly, QI 2.4 Personalised Support illustrates very good practice as places where “Our young people have frequent opportunities to discuss their learning with teachers helping them to set appropriate next steps”.

The calendar identifies weeks during the session where Learner Conversations should take place with specific stages and year groups. These are designed to tie in with other activities, e.g entry of tracking grades, course choice etc. During these weeks class teachers should speak with pupils individually or in small groups to;

  • “give learners high quality feedback so that they have an accurate understanding of their progress in learning”
  • “agree with pupils what they need to do to improve”
  • “discuss learning and set appropriate next steps”.


Learning Conversations Class Organisation

  • Class teachers should speak to class members individually or in small groups where the conversations are likely to be similar, about where they judge the pupils to be in their learning; the targets they are aiming for and on progression routes through subsequent years in school and beyond school.
  • These conversations should be done in a spirit of optimism remembering that research shows that our pupils perform best when they believe;
      • Their efforts are valued and that their work has a purpose
      • The work is comprehensible, meaningful and manageable

Many will see teachers as adult role models and will look to us for support so it is crucial that we convey the message of hope thus giving their studies meaning and purpose.

  • Pupils should record their own notes on targets set etc in their diary or subject notebook. Targets should be specific rather than more general instructions such as “work harder, attend study support and buy a revision guide”.


There is undoubtedly much to be gained by having our pupils more aware of where they are in their learning and knowledgeable about what they need to do to improve. There is also little doubt that much can be gained from extending our expertise in this area.

A Watt


Categories: Bulletins