The Big Question

A quick introduction to our Big Question


All students in our school, regardless of their age or stage, can join in and share their views. The class team supports communication, typing or formulating as needed.


Questions cover topics from the Ofsted student questionnaire, separated in termly themes:

  • Term 1 theme: Safety (physical, emotional, awareness of danger and risk)
  • Term 2 theme: Active support (challenge, support)
  • Term 3 theme: Future, Transitions, Careers
  • Term 4 theme: Enjoyment (interest, choice, respect)
  • Term 5 theme: Healthy body, healthy mind
  • Term 6 theme: Reflection, feedback, feedforward


The whole programme has the purpose of covering Ofsted student survey questions, but is split into appropriate and accessible weekly questions.

We have recognised in the last few years that the 20-item survey worded in the same way for all key stages does not work for our students, it does not respect their differences and it does not support their understanding.

To make this right and create a more meaningful way of collecting our students’ views, while facilitating discussion among peers, we have designed The Big Question.


Key learning and skills building area for our students is communication, so you will be aware of many differentiation strategies. One of them is Blank’s levels of questioning (example: difference in higher level thinking, sequencing and communicating needed for “What?” questions and “Why? Questions)

In order for this activity to be successful, you as a facilitator will need to understand the level in which your student(s) are communicating and choose the appropriate and accessible question from the list (each week, there are 4 questions available).

  • Find The Big Question in your calendar (Friday and/or Monday)
  • Choose a question (different students in your group can access different questions)
  • Click on the link from the table above (different link each week)
  • Enter your class and answer, or support a student in doing so (you can submit your response as a group or individually)


Every Friday, during an enrichment day. Before or after the assembly. Along with the Newsround or when you decide is appropriate

If you forget or a situation arises in class that changes the plan and priorities, there is an opportunity to do it on Monday as a settling or extension activity.

The Big Question - Term 1+
Term 1 – theme: safety

Week 2 – click for results

L1 What is the name of your class?
L2 How are you feeling about the new school year?
(excited, overwhelmed, inspired, scared, insecure, relieved, insecure, curious, proud, hopeful)
L3 What is your favourite thing about the new school year?
L4 What makes our school unique?

Week 3 – click here for results

L1 What is the name of our school?
L2 Can you describe your school in one word?
L3 (Name) is feeling anxious about his/her new class and is scared of being alone. What can he/she do? What can you do? What can teachers do? What can his/her family do?
L4 How can all of us at ALS recognise and be proud of each other? (I can; My teachers can; Our families can; My classmates can; My Headteacher can)

Week 4 – click here for results

L1 What is good listening? How do listen to others?
L2 What are different ways we can show others that we disagree? (identify as many as you can)
L3 How can we check that something that is said is a fact and not just an opinion?
L4 What are your main values? How are they different from the values of your class/school values?

Week 5 – click here for results

L1 Do we need to be loud for others to listen?
L2 What does it mean to disagree?
L3 Student Council elections
L4 Student Council elections

Week 6 – click here for results

L1 What is safer? (x) or (y) (images, situations)
L2 What is safety?
L3 What is danger? Who defines it?
L4 What makes a person or a place (more) safe?

Week 7 – click here for results

L1 What does it mean to get hurt?
L2 How do we heal: our body, our mind/emotions and our relationships?
L3 How do you know someone/something is dangerous?
L4 How do you know what to do in a dangerous situation? What guides your thinking?


The Big Question - Term 2+

Week 9

KS1 How does it feel to be supported?
KS2 What does it mean to be supported?
KS3 When do you feel supported at school?

–          I feel the most supported when…

–          I feel the least supported when…

KS4 How can we make everyone feel supported at school?


Week 10

KS1 What is motivation?
KS2 What feelings are connected to motivation?
KS3 How do you motivate yourself to do tasks that you do not like?
KS4 How can people around you help you with motivation?

–          My family can

–          My friends can

–          My teachers can


Week 11

KS1 What is a challenge? Have you done something challenging this week?
KS2 How does it feel to succeed at something challenging?
KS3 Are you motivated by a challenge? Does it make you want to give up or try even harder?
KS4 If you could organise a challenge for other students, what would it be?

–          For KS1 and 2

–          For KS3

–          For KS4

–          For KS5


Week 12



Who helps you when you get stuck and do not know the answer?
KS2 Do you prefer if someone tells you the solution or shows you how to solve the problem?
KS3 What is the best way to help someone learn?
KS4 Your friend was following the lesson, but did not understand it the first time. You came and repeated the instruction, but your friend still does not understand it well. What can you do now?


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