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Student Led Conferences

What is a student led conference?

A student led conference provides the opportunity for the student to take the central role during discussions. The teacher is involved but is not necessarily sitting with the student and parents all of the time. There might be two or three groupings of parents and students discussing their work in different curriculum areas in a classroom, and the teacher acts as the facilitator and prompter where necessary.

Why have student led conferences?

At Oranga, we are working on developing student agency to raise students achievement. They need to be active participants in their learning. When learners move from being passive recipients to being much more active in the learning process, and actively involved in the decisions about the learning, then they have greater agency. The aim of student led conferences at Oranga is to empower students to talk confidently about their learning and achievement. Professor John Hattie (formerly University of Auckland) published a revised list of the most effective influences on student achievement which identifies student self-reporting as the most significant indicator linked to raised student achievement.


This also relates well to our school values of promoting excellence through being caring, creative, connected and critical thinkers. In student led conferences, the student takes the central role during discussions that helps them to develop the skills required to become a life long learner.


  • Students demonstrate their caring attitude towards their learning by taking personal responsibility for their learning.

  • It also provides opportunities for students to show their creativity through presenting evidence of their learning.

  • It encourages connectedness between students, parents and whanau through open and honest dialogue.

  • The process of reflection and self-evaluation supports students to develop critical thinking.  


Hattie, J. (2009) Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge.


How do student led conferences work?

  • Conferences can last up to 15-20 minutes.

  • You do not have to stay this long if your child has finished sharing his/her learning.

  • Two or three student led conferences will be held at the same time and you will have a designated space for your child’s conference in the classroom.

  • You can 'flow' into a conference slightly earlier or later if the teacher indicates there is space when you arrive.

  • You will be involved in a variety of activities during the time — looking at samples of learning, doing an activity to support learning, talking about goals and what your child, you and the teacher might do to support these goals, looking at work around the classroom.

  • At some point during your conference, your child's teacher will spend some time with you. This time will allow the teacher to expand on the information your child has shared or for you to clarify something if necessary.

  • Please be mindful that distractions make it difficult for your child and others in the room to stay focused. We ask that parents turn off cellphones.


What will I need to do to support my child?

Before the conference:

  • Book a time through or by promptly returning the paper form to your child’s teacher.

  • Check the prompts and important things to remember list (below)

On the conference day:

  • Come — with your child at least 5 minutes before your actual conference time .

  • Listen — your child will do most of the talking.

  • Your child will discuss his/her current learning outcome, learning goals and next steps.

Your job:

  • Prompt to support your child if necessary (prompt cards will be provided in the classroom).

  • Enjoy the opportunity to see your child in his/her key learning environment.

  • Celebrate your child's progress to date.

After the conference:

  • Continue to celebrate your child's successes and support their goals.

Prompts to support your child

  • What were you learning to do in this piece of work?

  • What were the steps you went through to learn this

  • What helped you to learn this?

  • What do you need to learn next?

  • What are you most proud of? Why?

  • Tell me where you are in … reading/writing/numeracy

  • Which area of learning do you find easiest? Why?

  • Which area of learning do you find trickiest? Why?

  • What could we do together to help you with this learning?

Important things to remember

Your child will run this conference—not you, not the teacher. As part of their regular learning, all students have been putting considerable time and energy into preparing for this. If you cannot attend, please arrange for another significant adult in your child’s life to come to the conference.


The conference is about learning, not behaviour or social issues. If you or the teacher have concerns here, please make an appointment with the teacher.

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