Teaching & Learning Policy
This teaching and learning policy outlines how we work and organise ourselves to ensure that provision in our school meets the Ofsted criteria for outstanding.
Our whole school approach: consistency and high expectations
We believe that children learn best when there is consistency and continuity in our approach. We hold common expectations of our practice and through mutual challenge and support we ensure that it is of a consistently high quality.
We expect each teacher to take a full and determined responsibility for the progress of all of the pupils in their class. We expect teachers to have consistently high expectations of all pupils in all areas of their learning and school-life.
The purpose of our teaching and learning: pupil progress
We teach for progress. This means that we work to ensure that all pupils are improving skills, knowledge and understanding across all lessons and activities.
We recognise the need for consolidation and practice, but we are vigilant in our avoidance of tasks that involve unnecessary repetition or low levels of challenge.
Six core elements of our provision
1. Subject knowledge
We believe that children learn best when teachers are well-informed, knowledgeable and confident about what they are teaching. Our curriculum planning; our use of subject leaders; our CPD programme and our staffing patterns ensure that all learning is led by staff with excellent subject knowledge.
Our planning is based on systematic and accurate assessment of our pupils’ prior learning. We plan teaching strategies carefully, creatively and imaginatively, based on our knowledge of our pupils’ needs. We choose, design and adapt tasks that will challenge all pupils, whatever the level at which they are working.
We plan interventions that will support pupils and will move them on in their learning. These are determined by our accurate knowledge of pupils’ previous learning and by our high expectations of their progress. We know the impact that we expect these interventions to have and we evaluate them with regard to the difference they have made to pupils’ learning.
We recognize the importance of pupils learning at home. We believe it helps them to consolidate and extend school learning as well as helping to involve families.
Our homework policy outlines the arrangements that we make to plan regular and appropriate homework at each stage of our school. We evaluate the effectiveness of our homework by the impact that it is having on pupils’ learning.
5. Assessment for Learning
We use a range of techniques to systematically check our pupils’ understanding throughout each stage of the lesson. We anticipate the most likely areas of misunderstanding and we prepare planned interventions and support that will address these. However, we are also ready to adapt our approach spontaneously when we meet unexpected misconceptions or difficulties.
6. Marking and feedback
We have agreements about our approach to marking: its frequency; content and depth. We plan regular routines for pupils to respond to marking, so that it improves their learning.
We give ongoing oral feedback to individuals and to groups of pupils throughout lessons. Our feedback is more often positive than negative. It is sharply focused on the learning and aptitudes that we want to improve.
The purpose of all our feedback, in marking, in target-setting and orally, is to give pupils precise and motivating information about how well they are doing and what they should do next to improve.
Outcomes: basic skills, classroom climate, pupil attitudes
We recognize the centrality to learning of the core basic skills. We have organised our teaching programmes for reading, writing, communication and maths so that there are clear lines of progression; consistent teaching approaches; high expectations of pupils at every stage and a rigorous assessment of pupils’ learning and progress.
We design our whole curriculum to afford every opportunity for pupils to apply and so consolidate these core basic skills. Our expectations of their cross-curricular work are as high as those we hold in subject-specific lessons.
We use time very carefully, minimising waste and taking every opportunity to practise and reinforce core basic skills.
Through careful and imaginative planning; our high-quality teaching; good relationships and our high levels of teacher responsibility, we generate high levels of enthusiasm from our pupils. We expect pupils to be active participants in their learning and we structure routines and rewards to support them. We want our pupils to show commitment to their learning. We give positive feedback when we see examples of this and we take measured and thoughtful action when it is absent.
We are developing the aptitudes of resilience, confidence and independence. We ensure that the tasks we choose give regular opportunities for pupils to develop these aptitudes. We explain their importance to learning. We notice and comment positively when pupils demonstrate these aptitudes and we model them in our own actions. We work with individual pupils to build these aptitudes where they are lacking.
We aim to provide broad and balanced curriculum which enables pupils to make good progress in all subject areas. All lessons are underpinned by clear learning objectives relating to specific subject areas, mathematics and English.
In order to develop expertise in all areas of the curriculum, subject leader responsibilities are allocated to individual members of the teaching staff. Subject leaders are given access to continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities to develop their personal subject knowledge in order to enable them to disseminate information to other members of staff, and develop consistently good practice throughout the school.