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Key aspects of school quality

Cathy Wylie

Useful checklist for parents.

What Makes a Good School?

There's no single recipe for a good school. Research overseas identifies these major ingredients:

« A clear focus on learning and achievement.

All learning time is used for learning. Classrooms are calm, and students are attentive.

Lessons start on time, and there are no interruptions.

« High expectations of every student to achieve.

Students make progress. They have many opportunities to perform well and to take responsibility in different ways.

« Students enjoy learning. They feel challenged, and confident.

« Learning resources are engaging, and match students' learning needs.

Where information technology is used, it develops new skills and understandings.

« Students get clear, quick, and useful feedback on their work, including homework.

« Teachers, students, and parents respect and support one another.

« There is good communication between teachers and parents.

Parents have a clear picture of their child's progress. Parents take part in their children's learning, e.g. through monitoring homework.

« Teachers, students, and parents believe in the value of education.

« Teachers, students, and parents have shared understandings of what the school is about, have a common purpose, and a sense of community.

« The school is welcoming to students and parents

« The school is a pleasant place to work for students and teachers.

« The school is a safe place. There is little bullying.

Students help develop fair codes of conduct for themselves.

Discipline is maintained by an emphasis on "belonging and participating".

« Students are praised for their achievements, including attendance and behaviour.

Cathy Wylie, NZCER 1999

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