It's evening now and an eerie silence has descended upon the school. No sound of teachers teaching or students talking wafts down the empty corridors. You can hear no patter of dancing feet beating rhythmically to music. The playing fields are in darkness. No shouts of 'pass the ball' or 'goal!' pierce the night air. It's a school building, but the school has left the building as staff and students head for home after another day's learning.
But the building is not altogether deserted. It's 7pm on a Tuesday evening. The governors assemble for a meeting. Targets are set and monitored, data is crunched, budgets scrutinised, questions asked, answers given. Information about the school is carefully analysed, but that's not the same as seeing the school in action.
That's why we've arranged a Governor Visit Day for 29th January. Governors will come into school to meet Faculty and Subject leaders, sit in on lessons and speak to students about their learning experiences. We'll especially be looking out for three things:
1) Students’ behaviour for learning and school ethos
That doesn't simply mean that students are behaving themselves, although we certainly hope they are. Good behaviour for learning means that students are active and engaged learners, who are motivated to do well for themselves and considerate towards others.
2) Are Students are meeting the targets set for them?
Students are set targets in accordance with their ability levels. Pupils should know what they are, what they need to do to achieve them, and whether they are on track to do so. Discussing targets with students will help governors discover whether they themselves feel that they fulfilling their educational potential. But more than talking about targets, we also want to find out what students enjoy about Matravers, and what they don't.
3) Are the resources used fit for purpose?
Under this heading governors will note the quality of learning resources and consider whether they are appropriate for the lesson. Plus we'll be looking at the state of the school buildings.
Information gleaned from the Visit Day will help enrich governors' understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the school. That in turn will bolster our ability to offer strong strategic leadership and accountability. The school may be a little noisier than we're used to, but I for one am looking forward to it, as are the other governors who'll be taking part.