Recent Governor Visit
Governor Visit March 17th 2017
Every term, advised by Mr Evans and staff, Governors choose one or more themes as the focus of a whole morning visit to school. It’s a valuable opportunity to observe classroom activity, to talk to teachers, to look at written work and visual displays and for informal conversation with children about the progress they’re making at Wheatfields.
Our visit in March, involving seven governors, focussed on Science and Behaviour.
Science has been a key priority for development in this academic year. A detailed action plan has been implemented to raise the profile of the subject and to increase children’s enjoyment and engagement.
Our visit took place in a special Science Week. All classes across the Year Groups were busy with activities ranging from designing and making towers from spaghetti and marshmallows to building constructs with lego in response to an imaginative set of challenges. We heard a discussion about the links between science and engineering in one Year 6 class. A Year 5 class, working in the environment area, produced some great examples of collaborative work creating strongest/tallest/longest shelters and were enthusiastic about this new outdoor facility. Another class were speculating about characteristics that humans share with other animals and those that are different and this again provoked good discussion.
It was clear that children were enjoying this special emphasis on science and had got a great deal from the week’s activities, citing the variety of topics and the interactive and practical nature of the tasks they had been set. They were able to make use of a range of resources from tablet whiteboards to large screen display without difficulty or requiring assistance and managed the Paint software very effectively. The most creative work seemed to be when children were working in pairs rather than in larger groups which made it difficult for some to fully express their ideas. Many said they wished there was more room for science in the timetable, a view well articulated also by members of the School Council when we met them during break.
Lessons had been well planned and resourced. Reflecting the school’s increasing emphasis on good visuals, we saw some very colourful, bold and informative displays which captured children’s work in a striking way. Given the very practical hands-on nature of science lessons, there had sometimes been less opportunity for children to write at length and the volume of work in science books was not uniformly as high as in other books such as English. This is also a focus for the school. However, there was evidence of work that was well presented with thorough, positive marking consistent with the school policy and we were pleased to see a great number of children’s responses to teachers’ comments.
Overall, this had been a very successful and creative week which children had enjoyed. They were keen to talk to governors about the experiments they had done and what they had learned and many of the things they had been involved in – rocket mice, exploding volcanoes and the space balloon launch for example – will no doubt be among their lasting memories of Wheatfields.
Not surprisingly, governors found a high standard of behaviour in and outside classrooms. Children listened well, were respectful of adults and other pupils and although noise levels were sometimes higher than normal, this was to be expected in lessons where rather boisterous science experiments were taking place. There were one or two examples of low level behaviour in class but these were rare and well managed and staff were quick to praise children for “getting it right”. Outside the classroom, we were impressed by the maturity of the children – opening doors for adults and other pupils, showing us the way, talking willingly to us during playtime. Despite the large number of children in the playground, everyone seemed to be playing positively and happily. When one governor spotted two boys running in the hall, she noticed an older girl stepping in to remind them not to! A vivid example of the school’s behaviour policy in action.
This was another very enjoyable and illuminating morning observing the school in operation. Thanks to all the children and staff.