Pupil Learning Team

Today I sat in on a pupil learning team meeting. l was blown away by the quality of the discussions, and by the fantastic job Lara Neri (Depute Head) did as chair of the group.
They began by sharing great lessons they had experienced this week. They spoke eloquently and thoughtfully about their learning, and identified key factors such as choice, relevance, active participation and revisiting of prior learning. So much more than just "it was fun".
They then discussed starter questions in maths. They confirmed that all maths teachers use starter questions, and identified two benefits: getting actively engaged in doing maths at the start of the lesson and having the opportunity to revisit prior learning, to consolidate their learning. I was delighted that they had picked up so clearly the purpose of starters. They also felt that starter activities sometimes went on too long; they reckoned about 10 minutes was long enough.  That exactly matches the advice in maths department documentation!
This group is made up of pupils from S1 to S6 and is definitely not hand-picked, but they were always respectful of each other's contributions.
Lara asked them if they felt that they were being listened to by staff, and they said that they definitely did. For example, they had commented earlier in the year that PowerPoint presentations were being overused in some classes, and they had noticed a reduction in their use since then.
This group is a brilliant model for developing the pupil voice. I wonder how we can open this up to allow more pupils to take part in such discussions.


  1. This is something I didn't know you had, but sounds very valuable for students and staff. I'd be interested in helping if you want to explore potential ways in which technology could support this process. I've often thought we use reps on councils because it's impractical to involve everyone; but technology does open up that possibility, as the involvement can be asynchronous,from anywhere, and anonymous. Or perhaps it's better to use a known, small sample?

  2. Thanks David. In a rare break with tradition, I question in this case whether the use of IT would work, at least initially. What struck me particularly about the meeting was the way that Lara set the positive, respectful tone. Without that rudder, such discussions could so easily descend into moaning sessions about unpopular teachers. We could (and this would be great) train youngsters to provide that rudder themselves in an online forum, but that would need careful planning. We should meet!


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