4 plus 1 questions


Summary of this person-centered thinking tool

This tool is a way of reflecting on what has been happening and what has been learned in relation to any situation. It first asks four questions:

  1. What have we tried?
  2. What have we learned?
  3. What are we pleased about?
  4. What are we concerned about?

This tool offers an opportunity to acknowledge what has been working well but also gives participants in the discussion a way to share their worries about any issue.

Following reflection, the next question is:
Given what we know now, what next?

This last question – the plus 1 – then forms the basis of action planning.

4 plus 1 questions

Benefits for pupils

  • A structured way for their views to be heard.
  • A way of identifying what they and others have learned from any situation.
  • A way of recognising and celebrating what has been working well.
  • A genuine way to listen to their concerns.
  • A basis for action planning.

Benefits for parents

  • A clear process for identifying what has been learned in situations relating to their child.
  • A way of contributing to reviews about school around particular topics.
  • A means to share both celebrations and concerns in relation to their child.
  • As the basis of a survey of the school as a whole during parents’ evenings.

Benefits for school staff and teams

  • A way of receiving feedback from both the whole school and classes or year groups about initiatives from both pupils and parents. This information can inform school development plans.
  • As a way for a staff team to reflect on the value of any pilot projects and set actions based on them.
  • As a way to evaluate any new intervention the school may be trying out to measure the impact qualitatively.
  • Staff feel listened to and can contribute their ideas and experience to the school development plan.

Benefits for others

  • Enables the Governors to receive feedback from parents and both the whole school and year groups, as well as the school staff, to inform school development plans.
  • As a means to reflect and learn in relation to any issue or situation that comes to the Governors, both compliments and complaints.
  • In partnership working with any other body, to reflect on progress of work together and set actions.