Visible Learning at Ferryhill

What is Visible Learning?

Visible Learning is an approach to learning and teaching which is based on extensive worldwide research into the factors which impact positively upon teaching and learning, thereby raising children’s attainment. This research has been led, over a period of fifteen years, by John Hattie, Professor of Education in New Zealand.

Visible Learning is when learning and teaching are visible – that is, when it is clear what teachers are teaching and what children are learning. This allows teachers to know whether they are having an impact on their learners and enables children to drive their own learning.

Teachers become learners and learners become teachers.

Key Ideas from Visible Learning research:

  • Learners lie at the centre of our Visible Learning journey, surrounded by inspired and passionate teachers.
  • Shared language of learning across our whole school community.
  • Our learners can talk about their learning and create their own next steps – “assessment capable learners”.
  • Feedback is specific, timely and personal for each child- “just enough, just in time and just for me”.
  • Measuring impact on learning is key.

Visible Learning at Ferryhill School

At Ferryhill we are embarking on the second year of our journey towards becoming a Visible Learning school. Within the school, we have three teachers undertaking the role of ‘impact coaches’. They act as a link between the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and the staff, supporting the whole school development in this area and collaborating with the other coaches in our group of associated primary schools (Broomhill, Hannover Street and Kaimhill).

Year One

  • School Vision, Values and Aims created in collaboration with staff, pupils and parents
  • Initial gathering of evidence, informing our starting point
  • Survey of staff, pupils and parents
  • Data collected and analysed
  • Initial targets set for Ferryhill School by impact coaches and SLT
  • Staff development through targeted training and internal staff meetings led by impact coaches
  • Pupil focus groups
  • Integrated Visible Learning within our School Improvement Plan

Year Two

  • New school Learning and Teaching Policy created to reflect our Visible Learning approach
  • Shared language of learning is underway: learning characteristics (“dispositions”) for Ferryhill finalised
  • “Learning Pits” launched in each classroom and used daily to increase learners’ awareness of their own learning journey
  • Whole school competition to design memorable superhero characters linked to each learning disposition
  • Information evening for parents where the overview of Visible Learning was shared
  • Monthly superhero assemblies, focussing on each learning disposition
  • Increased emphasis on ensuring children are aware of what they are learning (“learning intention”), why they are learning it and how they are going to achieve this (“success criteria”).

Our aim is that our learners:

  • Know what they are learning and why
  • Can talk about the strategies they use in learning
  • Can identify and talk about their next steps – “self-assessment”
  • Seek feedback
  • See mistakes as an opportunity to learn
  • Know what to do when they “don’t know what to do”
  • Collaborate
  • Asks questions
  • Seek and embrace challenges


We are instilling in our learners the value of approaching their learning with a “growth mindset”. Learners with a growth mindset are ready to challenge themselves within their learning, persevere when it gets difficult, and believe that they can succeed.


The Learning Pit:

  • Helps learners to visualise the learning process.
  • Encourages and promotes a positive attitude towards challenge (raising expectations and therefore attainment).
  • Learners are responsible for their own learning.
  • Helps children to understand their own progression and how to make this progress.

Our Ferryhill Learning Disposition Characters


Disposition Character Definition Colour theme
Adventurous Captain Adventurous I will try new challenges Red
Collaborative Captain Collaborative I will work with others to help everyone achieve. Purple
Connecting Linx I will link my learning to what I already know. Yellow
Curious Captain Curious I will ask questions to deepen my learning. Orange
Determined DJ Determined I will keep trying even when it’s hard. Blue
Evaluative Evelyn the Evaluator I will use feedback to reflect on my learning and create my own next steps. Pink
Logical Lady Logic I will think through problems and choose strategies that will help me succeed. Green


Supporting Your Child At Home

To support our work in school on developing a shared language of learning, we would encourage you to discuss your child’s learning at home.

Here are some suggestions to stimulate discussion at home:

–     Tell me something that made you smile today.

–     What was the best thing that happened at school today?

–     Tell me about something you learned today and I’ll tell you one thing I learned at work.

–     Was there anything you found really tricky?

–     Did you make any mistakes at school today? Did you learn anything from them?

–     What strategies did you use to help you in your learning?

–     What challenged you most today?

–     What are you looking forward to at school tomorrow?

–     Did you work together with anyone else today?

–     When were you adventurous/ determined/ curious/ connecting/ evaluative/ collaborative/ logical in your learning this week?