1. In the playground, do the students look each other in the eye? Or do they avoid each other, or sit in cliques.
2. Diversity breeds fresh thinking. Can they show you genuine evidence it is encouraged?
3. How do they measure success? By the achievements of the few or of the many?
4. Ask to meet the best teacher. If they tell you they’re all good, they’re not thinking clearly.
5. Who do students turn to? Every student should have someone who knows how they are doing and will spend time with them.
6. Do new students make friends in the first month? It is a critical indicator for success: how does the school make sure it happens with all students?
7. Do they like mistakes? Learning starts from not knowing, so do they embrace that? Do students feel confident enough to talk about errors or not knowing something?
8. Are students “assessment capable” in this school. Can they talk about how well they are doing, where they are now and going next?
9. Do they use acceleration for all? Are students enabled to learn at different speeds?
10. What feedback do students get? Ask – “what did you get told about your work today”?
I especially like the suggestion to look at the playground and asking to meet the best teacher.