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(8 Posts)
Ailsa Tue 11-Jan-05 00:27:52

Some advice please. I am visiting dd1's & ds's school on Wednesday to do my first ever curriculum visit as a governor. I have only been a parent governor since April '04 so am not sure what the teacher would expect from me.

Any good questions I can ask the ICT co-ordinator (who also happens to be dd's class teacher)?

Should I speak to the pupils to see what they think?

Feeling a bit nervous about this visit. I have already visited the school for meetings with the Headteacher, but that's not so nerve wracking because I know what I'm talking about on those occasions (Monthly meetings with head as I am Chair of Finance)

Sorry, waffling I know and I'm sure it'll be alright really.

pixiefish Tue 11-Jan-05 07:25:18

not a primary ict teacher but bumping this for you.
However, I am a secondary teacher and would add the following comment-
ask a question if you want to know the answer- don't ask just for the sake of asking a question.

bee3 Tue 11-Jan-05 08:43:44

You'll be fine! It should hopefully be interesting and enjoyable.

I'd say that the first thing to do is check with the Head if the school has guidelines on the purpose of a 'curriculum visit', and what should take place
- is it seen as formal or informal?
- does the co-ordinator have cover time to talk to you properly, or will you be interrupting her teaching/breaktime?
- have teachers been forewarned of any observations of teaching, with you asked to watch specific lessons, or will you just be wandering about?
- are you expected to provide some sort of written evidence/report of the visit, if so, in what format?
(I've been in an unfortunate position where a governor spent the morning shuffling to the back of classrooms, sitting watching and scribbly furiously like an Ofsted inspector, then the next day gave the Head a written report judging the teaching and learning taking place. The staff were outraged.)

You then need to find out about what the school does well in ICT and the areas that need support to develop further. Read the relevant section in the School Development Plan. This will tell you areas for development, and you can ask the co-ordinator how that's going
- if there is enough funding/money in the budget
- if the hardware and software are up-to-date
- if the co-ordinator has enough non-contact time to support, monitor and resource the area properly
(and check that she's not responsible for trouble-shooting ICT hardware, mending printers, maintaining networks etc, as this type of work has been added to the workload agreement, which you as a governor are partly resposible for maintaining )
- if the staff feel adequately trained
- if money is being focused on everyday classroom facilities (internet connections, whiteboards, software for individual classes), or are they focusing on a computer suite that classes use once/twice a week? etc etc

I think it would be most successful if you had the chance to talk properly to the co-ordinator (not just quickly as she teaches), then have a look at the ICT facilities and see some ICT teaching taking place. This will give you a feel for what is happening.

And can I just say that I think co-ordinating ICT is the most difficult job in a Primary School - things are constantly changing, problems are constantly arising, colleagues are often wary and it is usually a thankless task, so be positive and supportive as I'm sure you will be...

Hulababy Tue 11-Jan-05 09:02:21

Not much time as due to start teaching in a sec, but willcome back. I teach ICT at secondary level.

One thing you could ask is how they assess their ICT. And what kind of NC levels are children achieving.

Be very wary of any primary ICt teacher who tries to tell you that children are achieving anything above Level 5. Following the Nationbal Strategy for ICT this is not actually possible. In order to gain higher than Level 4 too great a well of independent ICT use is needed, and much more planning and evaluation than can normally occur in a primary curriculum.

Ah, bell gone - will be back.

Ellbell Fri 14-Jan-05 10:19:04

How'd it go Ailsa? I've been a parent governor since October (of DD's infant school), but haven't done a school visit yet. I got lumbered with the job of numeracy governor, which is a joke as maths is deffo not my thing (... not even infant maths!).
Hope it was all positive.
P.S. Agree with Bee3 about note-taking etc. At our training course we were explicitly told NOT to do this. I wouldn't presume to judge (formally - of course I might form a personal impression) the quality of learning and teaching taking place, since I am not a qualified infant teacher...

Ailsa Sat 15-Jan-05 00:35:42

Ellbell - I had a great morning in school (Junior School). I didn't take any notes.

I had a meeting with the ICT co-ordinator first, where we discussed the School Development Plan amongst other things. He was really organised and appreciated that it was my first visit. He is also the teachers rep on the governors.

I asked to observe 2 classes, an ICT lesson, and another lesson to see how ICT is used in other parts of the curriculum.

The first lesson I observed was DD1's Yr6 ICT lesson, I was impressed with the lesson itself and the ability and enthusiasm of the children and staff.

The second lesson was ds's Yr3 Numeracy class. This again was impressive, I got the chance to see an interactive whiteboard in action.

I was impressed with dd's and ds's behaviour, especially ds as he is by no means the best at sitting still. He worked so hard in that lesson, I was so proud of him.

I have yet to finalise my report, which in our school we have to let the subject teachers see first, then the headteacher and finally the curriculum committee.

Having got that first visit out of the way, I would quite happily do another. I think it helped having dd in yr6, as I already felt comfortable speaking with most of the teachers. Looking back I think I was more nervous about speaking with the children, don't know why given that they are the same ages as dd1 and ds.

bee3 Sat 15-Jan-05 13:38:47

Ailsa - glad it went well and that you found it enjoyable. It sounds like a sorted school with a great ICT co-ordinator. Sorry for the female assumption - too long spent in almost exclusively female staffrooms I guess....

Ellbell Sat 15-Jan-05 20:09:49

Ailsa... sounds like it went really well. I don't think I could bear to sit in dd's class... mind you, she is only 4, so probably hasn't learnt yet how to act cool about having her mum around! Doubtless she will soon learn that yelling 'mummeeeeeeee!' and throwing herself at me is just not cool.

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