School visits: looking at pupils' work

Understand what your role is when looking at pupils' work, when you might want to do it and what to look out for. See examples of how other governors use pupils' work when visiting schools.

Last reviewed on 15 June 2023
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 41035
  1. Your role 
  2. Why you might look at pupils' work
  3. Questions you can ask 
  4. See examples from governing boards 

Your role 

Although it's not a requirement, some governors choose to look at pupils' work when visiting their school (understand why you might do this in the next section).

If you do decide to do this, remember: you're not judging the quality of progress or quality of teaching.

The Governance Handbook makes it clear that boards are not inspectors and it's not your role 'to assess the quality or method of teaching, or the extent of learning' (see page 31). 

If you think it would be helpful to spend time in a classroom, you need to be 'very clear why you're doing so' (see page 32 of the Governance Handbook).

When viewing pupils' work, make sure you: 

Find more tips for conducting a school visit, and questions to ask on visits, in our how-to guide on