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Teaching and learning policy

Adopted: September 2018

Hethersett Academy recognises that highly effective teaching and learning is the most sustainable way for pupils to achieve well and develop the skills and attitudes that will support them through their lives. The purpose of this policy is to share and develop a professional knowledge and understanding of the principles of good teaching and learning. Our teaching and learning is grounded in a strong curriculum, with knowledge at its heart, and our teaching should promote and foster the retention, interleaving and retrieval of that knowledge. 

At all times our staff must demonstrate high expectations and provide consistency as appropriate in our approaches, ideas and techniques across the whole Academy.

Principles

Teaching and learning is underpinned by the following principles. Teaching should be:

  • Curriculum-centred - our curriculum and knowledge should be at the heart of teaching and learning;
  • High-leverage - activities should be time-efficient and they should promote the retention and transfer of knowledge;
  • Carefully planned - knowledge and content should be carefully selected so that it facilitates the development of students’ networks of knowledge. Students will be able to make links between learning and units of work because the lesson forms part of a consciously built whole-scheme of learning;
  • Cumulative - as appropriate and in line with our assessment system (particularly at KS3), learning should build on learning that has come before.  Students’ assessments therefore increase in their level of challenge throughout the academic year, as their exposure to more knowledge and conceptual understanding increases;
  • Student data-driven - teachers should respond to student data, evaluating their knowledge, identifying gaps and planning future lessons based on closing those gaps;
  • Structured - lessons should be planned and structured with a clear sense of routine and consistency, in accordance with academy policy (e.g. silent entry into lessons, ‘Do Now’ task to complete at start of lessons etc.);
  • Evidence-based - using the best evidence available about effective techniques for learning;
  • Encouraging excellent levels of behaviour - to support learning in line with our academy behaviour policy.

Planning for teaching and learning

Planning for teaching and learning should include:

  • Carefully selected content - linked, spaced and interleaved knowledge that fits in deliberately with a wider scheme of learning;
  • Integration of excellent teacher subject knowledge;
  • The adoption of clear and consistent routines;
  • Instruction delivered with clarity and thoroughness;
  • ‘Do Now’ tasks or similar used at the start of every lesson;
  • Time-efficient tasks that encourage retrieval of knowledge;
  • Appropriate subject-related vocabulary that promotes high standards of literacy;
  • Student data-driven planning that takes account of student prior learning, gaps in knowledge and addresses misconceptions;
  • Assessment opportunities for identified groups of pupils;
  • Appropriate questioning techniques that promote focused discussion and  engage all students e.g. Cold Call, ‘Poll the Room’, Call on all students - See Lemov, 2015 and Bambrick Santoyo 2016;
  • Homework that reinforces and extends what has been learnt in the lesson;
  • Focused independent work;
  • Active and efficient teacher-monitoring that takes place both whilst students are working (especially during periods of independent work) and afterwards (speed-marking with whole-class feedback - see marking policy below).

Teachers recognise that:

  • Learners need to develop a positive image of themselves as effective learners. Staff should promote this positive image, using praise and rewards as appropriate;  
  • Learners make great progress in an environment rich in language; all staff should promote high standards in literacy and encourage students to use challenging vocabulary and standard English grammar; 
  • There is a need to raise achievement by using prior attainment data to set challenging targets which allow pupils to make outstanding progress;
  • Where ongoing underachievement exists, in either teaching groups or vulnerable groups, that the appropriate interventions are planned to raise achievement and make outstanding progress;
  • Learning is more effective in a safe and secure learning environment. Staff need to be mindful of students’ needs and goals in order for effective learning to take place;
  • Where appropriate, opportunities exist for social, moral, spiritual and cultural elements should be explored and shared;
  • Teachers continue to develop and learn throughout their careers.

Lesson structure and organisation

Lessons should include:

  • A clear lesson structure with consistent routines e.g. the four-part lesson including:
    • Engage and retrieve, ‘Do Now’ task  - retrieving knowledge or testing that content has been learnt; 
    • Explore – teacher introduces/explores new knowledge or content;
    • Challenge and embed – FOCUS of lesson. Embed knowledge, process, extended writing, independent work;
    • Review – multiple choice questions, quizzes, ‘exit cards’, mini-tests.
  • The end of the lesson should allow opportunity to review learning, internalise content, review content, take mini-tests to assess knowledge etc.;
  • Appropriate amount of time and number of lessons to cover the curriculum;
  • A seating plan;
  • Where appropriate, a dedicated raising achievement plan.

All classrooms should contain a red folder containing:

  • Class Profile Sheets: to be printed in hard copy and saved on the Google Drive;
  • Seating plans: including notes on PPQ, SEN, EAL etc and Target Grade/Current Grade;
  • Class Marksheets from SIMS.

Differentiation

Students of all abilities should have access to the same content and knowledge.
Teachers might differentiate by employing the strategies below, however students should also be encouraged to have the same aspirations as the highest attaining learners in the class and staff should always promote this ethos. 

Possible strategies:

  • Resource - using ICT, a variety of media and study guides at all times ensuring readability;
  • Response -  using clear instructions, accessible questions and explicit assessment criteria;
  • Task - using a variety of tasks matched to pupils' abilities;
  • Support - using other teachers, LSAs/LSTs, EAL support staff and other pupils effectively.

Teachers should employ differentiation in a manageable way whilst at the same time ensuring the needs of all pupils are met. This can be achieved by:

  • Modifying the activities within these groups for pupils with different learning needs;
  • Employing LSAs/LSTs and EAL support staff in a planned and informed manner.

Allocation of LSAs

Pupils with more severe SEN/D concerns will continue to have the recommended hours of support. Where the Academy and staff recognise an SEN/D concern teaching staff have to bid for their additional support under the following categories:

  • Reinforcement
  • Assessment
  • Mediation
  • Intervention

The achievement of these pupils is monitored every half term to ensure that these categories are effective.

The use of assessment

Assessment should be an integral part of the everyday work of teachers. It should be used to:

  • Encourage instant ‘student response’ where possible and timely 'Next Step Action’.  Staff should constantly monitor students and offer feedback in a number of ways to encourage progress - eg. see “Aggressive* Monitoring: Feedback - Fix - Follow-up”, in Bambrick-Santoyo, 2016;
  • Inform the short-term planning cycle so that work is adapted to address misconceptions;
  • Inform teachers about the progress of pupils;
  • Inform pupils how well they are doing and what they need to do to improve, enabling them to complete timely ‘Next Step Actions’;
  • Provide information for pupil tracking and parents;
  • Provide information for the curriculum leader to monitor and pass on to the next teacher.

Regular teacher review of students books (or specific pieces of assessed work within) and students acting on the feedback they receive should take place in line with the marking policy.

*Note: The term ‘aggressive’ in this context means active, time-efficient and thorough.

Classroom organisation and management

Teachers should organise and manage classrooms to include:

  • Appropriate seating of pupils that facilitates high standards of behaviour but also quick and time-efficient teacher-monitoring of progress for all students;
  • An organised and structured learning environment;
  • Effective use of resources;
  • Modelling of exemplar work;
  • Displays that promote learning and retention/retrieval of knowledge.

Monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring teaching and learning is the responsibility of curriculum leaders and senior leaders.

  • Curriculum leaders monitor the quality of teaching and learning and support teacher development within their departmental areas.
  • Senior leaders monitor the subject areas they line manage.
  • Senior leaders observe lessons (sometimes accompanied by subject leaders as CPD) according to the schedule devised by the head of Teaching and Learning.
  • Audit teams provided by the Inspiration Trust will review the standard of teaching and learning at Hethersett Academy.
  • Teaching and learning will be reviewed annually and reported back to the governors through the relevant sub-committee.
  • The development of teaching and learning is the responsibility of curriculum leaders and the senior leadership team.

The quality of teaching and learning is evaluated through performance management, observations, SLT learning walks, pupil achievement and areas related to the teaching standards. 

Marking policy

Adopted November 2018
 
The focus of our marking and assessment policy will be ‘student response’: that there is evidence of the students regularly responding to feedback. This in turn will provide strong evidence that teaching is driven by the output and needs of the students as we consider whether they have mastered the knowledge and/or skills integral to our curricula.

The actions of the student, in response to our feedback, are paramount because we need to address and correct students’ misconceptions with efficiency.

Teacher reads all books, with respect to a key piece of work (whole class = 15-30 mins).  

  • Creates a list of misconceptions for key piece of work (this may be general or personalised to groups of students depending on need). Teachers should mark (either with a dot or a coding system) in places where students need to attend to their work.  Feedback to the class may take the following format:
    • Teacher to share ‘best response’ with class – making clear what the features of the best responses are (instead of simply referring to descriptors or mark schemes).
    • Teacher shares list of misconceptions and strategies for improvement.
    • Examination of model answer. 
  • Students must complete green pen action to correct misconception. This action might take the form of another answer being written, or a new mini-test or set of questions (depending on subject).
  • Books will be read and feedback will be given on a weekly basis (so that misconceptions can be quickly identified and acted upon). This could target a specific piece of work for efficiency.
  • Feedback stickers need not be used, although departments might need to standardise their methods of summarising feedback using a marking stickers or a proforma (the need for this will be considered on a bespoke, departmental basis). 
  • Teachers should mark in places where common spelling, grammar or punctuation errors arise (underlining, circling etc), particularly on assessed pieces of work where SPaG is known to be a focus.
  • Teachers must draw attention to standards of presentation.