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Teaching, learning and assessment policy

Adopted: Autumn 2016

"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Introduction

Jane Austen College recognises that we are all learners and must constantly be seeking to evaluate the teaching, learning and assessment which is taking place in order to find ways to improve the quality of learning. As a specialist college of literacy and humanities, focusing on high standards and a strong academic focus, we will promote excellence and equip students with the skills and attitudes necessary for success in a rapidly changing society. We will strive to be the best that we can be and to instil in students a lifelong love of learning.

The teaching, learning and assessment standards and vision

We believe exceptional:

Teaching

  • Is improved by informed collaborative planning and ongoing evaluation.
  • Is enhanced by teachers' exceptional subject and pedagogical knowledge.
  • Must be based on the highest expectations of what each pupil can achieve.
  • Requires the establishment of an orderly classromm environment and all students exhibiting behaviour for learning.
  • Is enhanced by forward-thinking professional development focused on improving progress and outcomes for pupils.

Assessment

  • Must support teaching and promote learning.
  • Must help close the learning gap between current and expected learning.
  • Must be meaningful and manageable.
  • Must raise aspiration and encourage pupils to work hard.

Learning

  • Involves the systematic development of deep, rich knowledge.
  • Requires pupils to think hard about what they are learning and respond with perseverance to feedback.
  • Requires learners to take responsibility for becoming increasingly independent and interdependent.
  • Is enhanced through enriching relationships.

Teaching

Teaching is improved by informed collaborative planning and evaluation. Ths will be achieved by:

  • The use of a common planning process built around the ‘Scholar’s Lesson’, pre­planning progress points, and structuring and sequencing the teaching programme into coherent learning pathways. Staff take planning responsibilities within faculties and are required to share this with their teams.
  • The systematic development of pupils’ knowledge (factual, conceptual, procedural, and metacognitive as mutually supportive distinct dimensions of knowledge).
  • Providing directed time for staff to meet and collaboratively plan and evaluate schemes of learning.
  • Using assessment data, feedback to teachers, research, and experience to plan and evaluate the impact of schemes of learning and pedagogy to inform practice

Teaching is enhanced by teachers' exceptional subject and pedagogical knowledge. This will be achieved by:

  • Teachers primarily focusing on the key conceptual frameworks, models, laws, and works within the subject.
  • Including the teaching of common misconceptions and how pupils tend to approach, think about, and learn the subject in discussions during the collaborative planning of schemes of learning.
  • Continually striving to improve, through recruitment, professional development, and leadership systems and processes, the quality of classroom instruction, particularly the efficacy of questioning, challenge, modelling, and feedback to pupils.
  • Teachers actively responding to pupils’ dynamic progress in learning through the assessment of prior, on­going, and end of topic/module learning.

Teaching must be based on high expectations of what each pupil can achieve. This will be achieved by:

  • Recognising intelligence is malleable and enhanced by high-quality teaching, care, guidance, and support, particularly for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds or who experience barriers to their learning.
  • Teachers utilising and promoting ‘growth mindset’ in all lessons and modelling this continually.
  • Significant teacher clarity around success criteria which represent next-level challenge in the class room.

Teaching requires the establishment of an orderly classroom environment and all students exhibiting behaviour for learning. This will be achieved by:

  • All staff consistently applying the college’s behaviour policy.
  • Leaders and teachers developing and implementing effective and efficient classroom routines.
  • Teachers building positive, aspirational, and supportive relationships with all pupils.
  • All staff consistently applying the college’s display policy.

Teaching is enhanced by forward­-thinking professional development focused on improving progress and outcomes for pupils. This will be achieved by:

  • Providing regular feedback to teachers on key aspects of her/his pedagogy that are highly effective as well as aspects which require further development.
  • Providing a range of extended professional development (Master Teacher Programme) opportunities through which teachers will be able to focus meaningfully on a particular area of their professional learning and practice.
  • Encouraging lesson study and “Master Teacher” projects with opportunity for in-class and peer learning underpinned by effective evaluation of impact on pupil outcomes.
  • Directing time for discussion of knowledge and common misconceptions within a subject and how these may best be addressed through subject-based pedagogy.
  • Ensuring leadership programmes have a focus on the leadership of learning.

An exceptional lesson at Jane Austen College has:

  • The highest expectations: 100% engaged, no opt-out and no excuses.
  • Challenge for all: Nothing lowered, students raised.
  • Rich knowledge and deep learning: Learning that is structured, connects ideas, is precise, and expands thinking beyond the classroom.
  • Enquiring minds: Students use purposeful academic talk. Students are given time to rehearse and reflect.
  • Independence: Students actively identify areas of weakness and seek to improve them. Students and teachers take risks, and learn from doing so.

Assessment

Assessment must support teaching and promote learning. This will be achieved by:

  • Ensuring progress points and mastery assessments are pre­planned and exemplify the high standards expected in teaching and learning as defined by challenging success criteria.
  • Ensuring these assessments and success criteria lead to the formation of clear learning intentions within each scheme of learning.
  • Embedding assessments which are common across year groups/classes and cumulative across the year or key stage.
  • The use of regular low-­stake assessments to monitor and respond to pupils’ on­going acquisition of knowledge.
  • The use of feedback which requires pupils to respond to improve their performance, standards of work and presentation.
  • Using the analysis of an assessment to inform the further development of schemes of learning and future improvements in teaching.

Assessment must help close the learning gap between current and expected learning. This will be achieved through:

  • Analysing assessments and acting on this information to close the gap between a pupil’s current learning and the expected learning.
  • Re­teaching and whole-class or individual feedback which must be used by pupils to improve the quality of their work. These classroom-based, close to the point of the assessment, actions will be supplemented by additional out-of-class support and intervention if required.
  • Building time into schemes of learning to allow for whole-class re­teaching and pupils’ response to feedback.

Assessment must be meaningful and manageable. This will be achieved  by:

  • Developing assessments at a subject level to provide data, at a size appropriate to the subject and age of the pupils, which is capable of being analysed and acted on to improve teaching and learning.
  • Leaders within the college using data to analyse outcomes, following assessments, as the main means of monitoring pupils’ progress during the year.
  • Ensuring a smart approach to marking and feedback which require pupils to think and work harder in responding to marking and feedback than it took teachers to produce it. Using self, peer, and computer-generated assessment and marking effectively.
  • Ensuring staff have the time and professional development to deliver the college’s assessment policy effectively and efficiently.

Assessment must raise aspiration and encourage pupils to work hard. This will be achieved by:

  • Setting targets as a range, at the upper end of what is achievable, which promote high aspiration and hard work by pupils in order to achieve them.
  • Determining current grade/mastery at a pupil, subject, and academy level. Pupil data will be reported to parents, all data reported to the Executive Principal and directors.

Learning

Learning involves the systematic development of knowledge. This will be achieved by:

  • Informed collaborative planning of schemes of learning with knowledge built on prior attainment and gaps in learning addressed close to the point of teaching.
  • All subjects taking responsibility for developing literacy and numeracy with targeted intervention programmes implemented for those who have not made age-related expectations.
  • The use of effective questioning, challenge for all, modelling and feedback to pupils, in the classroom, to develop and advance their learning.

Learning requires pupils to think hard about what they are learning and respond with perseverance to feedback. This will be achieved by:

  • All staff having high aspirations and expectations; wanting the best for every child and providing high challenge by teaching on the key conceptual frameworks, models, laws, and works within the subject.
  • All staff using ‘challenge for all’ grids to ensure each pupil is stretched in every lesson.
  • Requiring pupils to think hard about what they are learning and be resilient, resourceful, reflective, and reasoning when work is challenging. All students to use a ‘growth mindset’.
  • Requiring pupils to respond with commitment to challenges and verbal/written feedback to improve the standard of their work.
  • Teachers and pupils work to improve a pupil’s best performance in their learning; continually setting new personal bests.

Learning requires learners to take responsibility for becoming increasingly independent and interdependent. This will be achieved by:

  • Providing targeted support for pupils with social or emotional difficulties to increase their resilience.
  • Enhancing pupils’ resilience through taught programmes, classroom approaches and personalised support, provided by the SEN and/or pastoral team.
  • Academic mentors explicitly developing pupils’ metacognitive skills, planning and decision-making associated with goal-setting (pledges) and the ability to cope with the stresses of implementation.
  • Implementing consistently a behaviour policy that provides a learning environment in which whole-class teaching, independent work, and co-operative learning can occur effectively.
  • Implementing consistently a PSHE programme that promotes the personal and social responsibilities pupils require to relate appropriately to others and work independently, interactively or co-­operatively as required.
  • Pupils completing prep tasks and projects that develop their intellectual curiosity and develop their understanding, exploring areas of interest beyond the subject curriculum to deepen, broaden and enrich their knowledge.

Learning is enhanced through enriching relationships. This will be achieved by:

  • Developing enriching relationships between pupils and staff which build people’s confidence, commitment, and ability to control both inside the classroom and as part of extra-­curricular provision.
  • Providing links with the world of business, industry, and commerce, high-quality careers education, information, advice and guidance, and authentic projects and challenges.
  • Providing a varied and extensive range of electives that develop mature and enriching relationships between students as they work towards high-quality outcomes/events.

Links to other policies and documentation

Teaching, learning and assessment is related to all school policies as it underpins all we aim to achieve as a school.

Monitoring and reviewing objectives

We will review and update our equality objectives every year in response to the development of the school. We will report on them annually to the governing body. We involve and consult staff, pupils, governors and parents and carers.

We publish an evaluation of the success in meeting these objectives for parents and carers, on the school website.

Roles and responsibilities

We expect all members of the school community and visitors to support our commitment to promoting and ensuring the highest standards of teaching and learning take place at Jane Austen College.

The governing body

  • Ensures that all aspects of the policy promote the ideals and ethos of the school.
  • Ensures that all aspects of the policy and its implementation promote exceptional learning experiences for all pupil.s
  • Supports the leadership team in its delivery through support and advice via governor meetings.
  • Monitors and evaluates the effectiveness of the policy and its implementation through senior leadership reports and data.
  • Monitors and evaluates the effectiveness of the policy and its implementation through case studies and carrying out personal substantive visits to the college.

The Principal and leadership team

The Principal is responsible for implementing the policy; for ensuring that all staff are aware of their responsibilities and are given appropriate training and support; and for taking action where appropriate. A senior member of staff has the overall responsibility for co­-ordinating and delivery of all aspects of the policy and will report directly to the Principal on all matters of teaching, learning and assessment.

The Principal and leadership team  will:

  • Ensure the college adopts and upholds the ethos and values in the teaching, learning and assessment policy.
  • Ensure the implementation of the teaching, learning and assessment policy, including all associated policies that support and augment it.
  • Ensure all staff are fully aware of their roles and responsibilities in delivering outstanding learning experiences.
  • Provide the opportunities and structures in which the intended outcomes of the teaching, learning and assessment policy can be met.
  • Develop and implement quality assurance procedures to ensure the high quality of such opportunities and structures.
  • Develop and implement quality control procedures that will inform the review and evaluation of such opportunities  and structures.

Teaching and support  staff

Teaching staff extends into all professionals working to deliver curriculum content, including those in the electives programme.

All teaching and support staff will:

  • Uphold the values and ethos of the teaching, learning and assessment policy.
  • Plan their lessons accordingly, incorporating all key features that lead to exceptional learning experiences.
  • Implement classroom strategies and procedures that endorse and promote the values and ethos of the teaching, learning and assessment policy, particularly regarding the elements of:
    • High expectations
    • Challenge
    • Deep learning
    • Enquiring minds
    • Independence
    • High-quality and effective feedback
  • Commit themselves to a mindset of constant improvement in their delivery of outstanding learning experiences.
  • Adopt new working practices and methodologies, as prescribed by the college leadership team.
  • Maintain an open and reflective mindset in approaching new pedagogical ideas.

Visitors

All visitors to the school, including parents and carers, are expected to support our commitment to the highest quality of teaching, learning and assessment.

Any external agencies or other visitors involved in delivering any aspect of our curriculum will adhere to all our standards in relation to teaching, learning and assessment and all policies associated with it.

Disseminating  the policy

The teaching, learning and assessment policy will be made available:

  • On the school website
  • In hard copy form, from the school office, upon request
  • In the staff handbook
  • On display for visitors, including parents and carers
  • As part of induction for new staff

We ensure that the whole school community has opportunity to access the policy through the school newsletter, assemblies, staff meetings, and other communications.

We publish on the school’s website copies of relevant policies and guidance, including those on behaviour, anti­-bullying and special educational needs.

Monitoring, evaluation and review

The college will review this policy annually and assess its implementation and effectiveness. The policy will be promoted and implemented throughout the college.

The Principal (or delegated member of the senior leadership team) will report on the effectiveness of the policy to the governing body, as appropriate.

References

Coe, R. et al (2014) What Makes Great Teaching? Review of the Underpinning Research (http://www.suttontrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/What-makes-great-teaching-FINAL-4.11.14.pdf)

Tierney, S (2016) Time to Simply Focus on Teaching, Assessment and Learning. (https://leadinglearner.me/2016/01/17/time-to-simply-focus-on-teaching-assessment-and-learning/) A great deal of this is taken directly from Tierney’s vision. JAC is indebted.