Teaching and Learning

We have a very clear ideology around teaching and we expect the majority of lessons to feature certain elements that we believe will enhance our traditional and academically rigorous curriculum.

Although all elements might not appear in every single lesson, many of them are expected to appear in most lessons.

Students work in a calm, purposeful environment

The school demands a calm, purposeful environment for learning in all lessons. A didactic approach will be implemented in all lessons; the teacher is the expert in the room and will be central to the learning. Students will work independently and silent working will be common.

All lessons will be academically rigorous, using high quality resources

All teachers are leaders of knowledge in their specialism and will design academically rigorous lessons. The teacher will script challenging questions and asks them within a ‘no-opt out’ culture. Cold call will be used throughout to test student knowledge and understanding. Less able students will be supported to meet the required academic standard and will not be excused from the rigour imposed by teachers.

Students will be presented with opportunities to be inquisitive and master knowledge

Students will be ‘cold called’ to ensure all are paying attention and learning. Staff will share new knowledge in every lesson and students will be regularly tested. If a teacher is talking, students will be tracking the teacher and challenged if they are not. If the whole class is reading, students follow the text on their own book and should expect to read. Teachers will present exciting content that hooks and presents intrigue. Students will be expected to contribute to debate and discussion.

Students will produce extended writing in the majority of lessons

Students will provide opportunities for clear, organised student writing. This could be formal essays, shorter paragraphs, redrafting of previous answers or equivalent. In subjects where this extended writing is less appropriate (such as maths, music or art) students produce extended tasks which practise key knowledge and processes.

Teachers will provide exemplar work to the whole class, who then practise and redraft individually

Teachers are explicit about what they want students to do, setting out the key steps that students will have to repeat in order to complete a task successfully. Teachers check that students understand those steps and then provide them with opportunities to practise and master.

Students will receive feedback in every lesson, this will include feedback on spelling, punctuation and grammar

Feedback can be written or spoken, but the feedback and improvements are recorded by students in their books in a red pen. They then act on this feedback by either repeating the task and redrafting/making improvements. Students must master tasks before moving on and the teacher will be vigilant in checking understanding. Misconceptions will be tackled swiftly. Incorrect spelling or use of punctuation is corrected, and when speaking students are asked to repeat their response if it is not a well-formed sentence. Similarly, teachers will comment on and improve student’s written style through ‘live marking’, particularly in developing more complex styles.

Frequent low-stakes quizzes will be used to test prior knowledge and link to new content

Often, quizzes take place without revision as they then assess students’ long-term memory rather than what they have just crammed. These are often done in the backs of student books. As a rule of thumb, quizzes are conducted on a weekly basis.

Students will be taught to retrieve knowledge from memory

Unless there is a good reason to use a support or scaffold, it is better to ask students to complete a task from memory. This will support students in self-study and help them to become ‘exam ready’.