Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Take a Snapshot of Learning to Develop Pupils

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Take a Snapshot of Learning to Develop Pupils

Article excerpt

Learning review meetings offer an alternative to the traditional parents' evening model where teacher and parent face each other across a table for ten minutes. Increasingly, primary schools are taking up the idea of actively involving children during these meetings.

From the foundation stage upwards, the use of video clips to provide a glimpse of children during the school day provides a unique insight for parents into their child's developing experience of school. As soon as the child is able to do so, many schools encourage them to join meetings with their family so that the emphasis is on talking to the child rather than speaking about them.

At my school, in addition to family consultations from nursery to Year 4, we offer all parents of children in Years 5 and 6 a learning review meeting appointment. These meetings are 15-minutes long and are held in the headteacher's office. Each child prepares a brief presentation about their successes and challenges, using several PowerPoint slides. The teacher brings her assessment notes and the books are put out on the coffee table so that we can all see examples of the work that is being completed.

There are many advantages to this process. As headteacher, I meet formally with each Year 5 and Year 6 child with their teacher and family four times over five terms and gain powerful insight into the child's learning and their experience of school. As a participant in these meetings over time, I am also visibly committing myself to ensuring that anything promised during the meeting will be delivered. Parents enjoy the experience of hearing directly from their child and the whole experience has added status.

The format of meetings means that, typically, there will be meetings organised throughout a full day with a separate evening for additional appointments. This means that in a one-form entry school, I dedicate two full days and two evenings in the autumn and spring terms to meet with 60 children and their parents. …

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