Teaching and Learning policy autumn 2021
Teaching and Learning Policy
‘Learning and Living Together’
This policy is a statement of the aims, principles and strategies for developing quality first teaching and learning at Cale Green.
We have a teaching and learning policy so that all staff understand and achieve our shared standards of good practice. It is to provide an agreed framework for teaching and learning within our school, in order to secure a coherent and continuous education for our children, to promote quality teaching, equality and inclusion.
Teaching and learning are the core functions of our school. Effective teaching is the provision of high-quality experiences in a stimulating and supportive environment. The ability to establish and maintain good relationships is central to effective teaching - ‘learning and living together’ – so that we provide the best quality education for all the children of Cale Green.
- OUR PHILOSOPHY
At Cale Green, we believe that our children will learn most effectively when they have access to a rich, deep and systematically planned curriculum that meets their diverse needs, academically, socially and culturally. To this aim, we have developed (and continue to develop) a curriculum where children gain knowledge and revisit that knowledge over time so that it is firmly embedded. Our thematic approach provides opportunities for children to make links between different areas of the curriculum and so that they can apply their knowledge as skills.
We believe that children should be allowed to learn in a variety of ways, that they should learn together and be given choices about how they learn and be actively involved in deciding what they need to do next in order to make further progress.
Teaching and learning is rooted in, and reflects, our children’s unique lived experience within their diverse local area and beyond.
Our approaches are rooted in the effective used of evidence-based research and our school-based practice experiences. We focus on what really matters for Cale Green.
- QUALITY FIRST TEACHING
At Cale Green, we leave no stone unturned in ensuring that each child achieves their full potential. One of the ways we do this is by ensuring that all our children are given Quality First Teaching. This means that our teaching emphasises high quality, inclusive methods and strategies that help all children to overcome any barriers to their learning and provides opportunities for challenge and curiosity.
We have a ‘tiered’ approach to planning for the development of effective teaching so that there is a logical and well-sequenced plan to support and sustain the highest quality:
- Quality First Teaching
- Targetted Academic Support
- Wider Strategies
Professional development is focused on the development of the skills necessary for all teaching staff to deliver high quality teaching.
Previous developments are embedded through the ‘lesson study’ approach and are revisited and adapted where necessary.
Some of the ways we do this are:
Developing an enabling environment including our classrooms being well organised, accessible with well labelled resources
- ensuring that lesson design has a clear structure where children are made aware of the learning objective at the start of the lesson
- staff plan together in phases which ensures continuity of experience for the children and workload reduction for the staff
- the planning of learning is given in small steps and supported by visual clues, including concrete, pictorial and abstract
- explicitly teaching new vocabulary – often with the aid of visuals and displays
- children are asked to demonstrate and recall core knowledge in a variety of ways, e.g. drama, mind-mapping, drawing, digital literacy
- children are taught different strategies to remember important information and are encouraged to use the ways that work for them e.g. highlighting, steps to success, mnemonics, etc.
- making explicit links to prior and future learning to make connections across the curriculum - including future careers
- children work in flexible groups - mixed, pairs and individually
- children’s effort and achievement in their work is celebrated using a range of age appropriate strategies including ‘Class Dojo’, ‘Merit Certificates’, verbal and written praise etc.
- teachers ensure that learning is enjoyable and that children are excited about what they are doing
- every teacher is a teacher of children with SEN and receives training to ensure they are using the appropriate techniques and resources to support any children with Special Educational Needs
- use appropriate strategies such as ‘scaffolding’ and encouraging home language to support children with EAL
- staff carefully track each child’s progress to ensure that they are able to reach their full potential
- staff meet regularly with parents and carers to discuss their children’s progress and keep them up to date with what their children are learning
The guide found at the end of this policy details our current approaches. This guide is subject to constant revision.
- QUALITY FIRST TEACHING – FROM THE CHILDREN’S PERSPECTIVE
The children have told us that their favourite lessons are:
- when we do practical lessons
- when we have trips and visits to help our learning
- when we learn interesting facts that we didn’t know before
- when we move about and work together
- when we do some something new
- when we learn new skills
- when we use technology
- when we learn new ways of doing things
- when we learn from experts
- when we are creating and making things
- when we are given responsibility for our own learning
- when we try something new for the first time
The children’s views inform our lesson design – this also includes the key vocabulary children need and challenges for all children and those working at / towards greater depth standard.
- THE MASTERY APPROACH
Our approach to teaching and learning at Cale Green is a culmination of many years of intensive development as a school.
The Mastery learning model forms the basis of our approach to traditional teaching. This means spending greater time going into depth about a subject as opposed to racing through the things that all children should know. Previously, some children had gaps in subject knowledge. We now take learning at a steadier pace, ensuring that no child is left behind, as well as providing deeper and richer experiences for children who are above the national expectation for their age.
At Cale Green, we believe it is our duty to ensure that children have a deep understanding of subject knowledge and skills so that they are ready for their next stage of learning.
In the ‘mastery learning’ approach learning is broken down into discrete units and presented in logical order. Children are required to demonstrate mastery of the learning from each unit before being allowed to move on to the next, with the assumption that all pupils achieve this level of mastery if they are appropriately supported. Some may take longer and need more help, but the expectation is for all.
We focus on all children achieving what is expected of their age group and not going beyond this. Evidence shows that children need to be able to understand a concept, apply it in a range of situations and then be creative to really understand it. Simply going beyond their age group does not guarantee they understand something, it just means they have heard it.
At our school, no child will be taught content from the year group above them, they will spend time becoming true masters of content, applying and being creative with new knowledge and skills in multiple ways.
Teachers plan and deliver lessons that meet the needs of their classes using the format and strategies that best suit the purpose of the learning:
- connect with prior learning – for example, a quick card sort game/think pair share activity
- share big picture and outcomes – explain the format of the lesson (what and how), share the objectives (WALT – ‘To know that…) share the success criteria (by the end of this lesson you will be able to …).
All children must be clear about what they are learning and this should be recorded in child friendly language in any written work.
- explore and process the learning – pupils work independently, in pairs, in groups (with and without adult support) on tasks that allow them to practise the skills/process the knowledge in ways that engage the range of different learning styles that pupils possess (for example – drama, artwork, writing, digital learning)
- review and reflect – the children ‘show what they know’ – to what extent they have reached the success criteria and then think about what helped/hindered their progress/what they could do differently next time to improve.
Children are actively encouraged to participate in the assessment of their own learning and this is done in a variety of ways. In class we use a range of assessment for learning strategies which are embedded throughout the learning cycle in each lesson. The following list highlights some of the techniques and strategies frequently used in lessons at Cale Green.
- ‘show of fingers’ – pupils show 5 fingers for 100% or fewer to respond to a statement like, ‘I am really good at using the grid method for multiplication’
- Self and peer assessment – pupils read their own, and each other’s work, and write a comment or complete a feedback sheet. They might evaluate a piece of music, PE sequence, drama presentation or art orally or using show of fingers/thumbs up to comment on the work of others – explaining what they liked (and why) and how it could be improved (and how)
6. DEVELOPING VOCABULARY
The development of a rich vocabulary is important in helping children develop both the ability to understand spoken and written language and acquiring a control of language that enables them to express their ideas and feelings clearly.
One key aspect of a child’s language development is the growth of their vocabulary – the words they understand and the words they use to communicate. There is a strong relationship between vocabulary and comprehension, where a broad vocabulary (knowing lots of words) and a deep vocabulary (knowing those words well) correlates with better understanding. Different ‘tiers’ of vocabulary are identified and this informs lesson planning and design.
When children write, a wider vocabulary gives them a rich palette with which to express their ideas, choosing a word to communicate with elegance and precision.
New vocabulary is identified at the planning stage of all subjects. Our lesson design approach highlights the new vocabulary necessary in a lesson or series of lessons. It is explicitly taught, using a variety of different strategies, and is on display in the classroom.
7. METACOGNTION AND SELF-REGULATED LEARNING (MCN)
Developing MCN approaches to teaching and learning provides high impact on developing highly effective teaching and learning.
Children are taught to be able to monitor, direct and review their learning. Effective metacognitive strategies get children to think about their own learning more explicitly, usually by teaching them to set goals, and monitor and evaluate their own academic progress.
At Cale Green we have introduced MCN to lessons, including remote lessons through a lesson study project. This has been affected by school closures and so will continue into 2021/22.
- AIMS OF THE CALE GREEN APPROACH
In our strong commitment to effective and varied teaching strategies and our flexible approach to learning, we aim for children to:
- develop a responsible and independent attitude towards their work and towards their roles in society
- engage in learning in a positive way and to approach challenging tasks with confidence and enjoyment
- reach their full potential in terms of academic achievement, aesthetic appreciation and moral and spiritual development
- develop good behaviour and high levels of personal responsibility
- be tolerant, sensitive and understanding, showing respect for the rights, views and property of others
- GENERAL PRINCIPLES TO SUPPORT OUR AIMS
In order to fulfill these aims for all pupils, at Cale Green we hold the expectation that everyone involved in the school, in any capacity, will adhere to the following principles:
All members of our school community can contribute to our aims by:
- using time and resources effectively
- developing a well ordered and high-quality learning environment
- promoting equality of opportunity in all aspects of school life
- working collaboratively with all members of the school community
- planning for, and presenting children with, a challenging curriculum that supports differentiation and meets the needs of all groups and individuals
- Children who have English as an additional language and SEND are supported by teachers and bi-lingual support staff who have had regular CPD opportunities from the Ethnic Diversity Service, the Learning Support Service and Behaviour Support Service, etc.
Teachers support these general principles by:
- establishing a challenging and stimulating programme of study, designed to enable all children to reach the highest standard of personal achievement following the ‘mastery approach’
- providing additional challenge for our most able learners as GRT challenges to ensure the number of children working within Greater Depth increases
- planning a suitable programme of work to meet the needs of each individual child according to ability, aptitude and particular need
- ensuring that the acquisition of new knowledge is progressive and continuous
- maintaining an up to date knowledge of the National Curriculum and Early Years Curriculum
- ensuring that pupils, who are learning English as an additional language, have their home language and background valued and recognised. We are aware that bilingualism can be a useful learning tool and that all EAL pupils can make a valuable contribution to our school community
- Using EAL strategies to support ALL learners including those with English as an additional language such as, using scaffolding including the Tower Hamlets materials and the EAL strategy placements
- displaying and celebrating the children's work effectively, using quality materials, classrooms are well ordered and tidy
- ensuring teaching strategies, deployment of resources and classroom organisation supports children irrespective of background, promotes inclusion and reflects the diverse nature of Cale Green
- working collaboratively with other staff, with a shared philosophy and clearly defined goals
- developing their own expertise and showing flexibility within their working patterns
- being good role models through conduct and dress
Children support these general principles by:
- attending school regularly, punctually and with a positive attitude, being organised by bringing the correct kit, taking letters home and returning homework on time
- demonstrating outstanding behaviour in classrooms to support learning
- demonstrating outstanding behaviour at all other times - in line with the school's Behaviour Policy and the Cale Green Code which reflects credit on themselves and the school
- taking an increasing amount of responsibility for their own learning.
Parents support these general principles by:
- ensuring that children attend school regularly, punctually and in good health
- providing support for the good behaviour expected in school
- working with their child's teachers to maintain high standards of behaviour
- being realistic about their children's abilities and offering encouragement and praise
- giving support with homework, reading and encouraging their children to take an active interest in home learning
- ensuring early contact with school to discuss matters which may affect a child's happiness, progress and behaviour
- attending Parent Consultation to discuss their children's progress
- allowing their children to take an increasing responsibility as they progress through the school
Parents, children and teachers coming together to sign the Home/School Agreement annually will reaffirm these aims.
Mrs Sarah McHugh – Headteacher
Review date: Autumn 2022