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Teaching & Learning Policy

TEACHING AND LEARNING POLICY

 

Our school is:

a safe, supportive stimulating learning environment;

a team of respectful, tolerant, open minded citizens;

a community where everyone aspires to be the very best they can be;

a community of resilient lifelong learners;

a centre of excellence where all achieve success.

 

PURPOSE

 

This policy promotes best practice and establishes consistency in Teaching and Learning across the whole school. It aims to ensure that all children are provided with high quality learning experiences that lead to a consistently high level of pupil achievement and attitude.

 

Review Date

February 2017

Reviewed By

Nigel Daintith

Next Review

February 2019

Summary of changes

 

Section on assessment amended to reflect the new system of assessment without levels and the use of pupil asset for the afternoon curriculum.

 

CONTENTS

1. Aims - 2 -

2. The supportive learning environment - 2 -

3. The physical environment - 3 -

4. Display - 3 -

5. The curriculum - 4 -

6. Focus weeks/days - 4 -

7. Pupil Outcomes - 4 -

8. The learning journey - 4 -

9. Structure - 5 -

10. Questioning - 6 -

11. Learning styles - 6 -

12. The assessment priority is assessment for learning - 6 -

13. Equal opportunities - 7 -

14. Techniques to support effective learning - 8 -

15. Working with others - 8 -

16. Progress tasks - 9 -

17. Extended provision - 9 -

 

1. Aims

 

Our aim is to enable our pupils to be resilient, resourceful, responsible learners who have the confidence, skills and attitudes to be successful life-long achievers. We aim to promote a learning culture so that pupils engender a love of learning and the desire to continue to learn. We aim to give our pupils every opportunity to succeed.

 

Through this policy we aim to promote best practice and to establish consistency across the whole school. It aims to ensure that the children are provided with high quality learning experiences that lead to a consistently high level of pupil achievement and attitude.

 

2. The supportive learning environment

 

Teachers are responsible for providing a caring, supportive and stimulating learning environment in which all children are helped to reach their emotional and academic potential.

Children learn best when they feel safe to take on challenges, are interested and motivated and feel valued. We recognise the importance of building positive self esteem in children

The essentials of positive self esteem:

Belonging: each child has a contribution to make, we value and encourage these

Aspirations: every pupil is encouraged to work towards their achievable goal. Teachers

express high aspirations for themselves and the children they teach

Safety: Consistency in expectations and standards help pupils feel safe. Clear boundaries are set and good behaviour recognised and rewarded

Identity: a sense of self knowledge is supported by the belief that individuality is not

threatened by undue pressure to conform. We respect difference and encourage children to learn from and thrive within our diverse community

Challenge: acquiring coping strategies are an important part of development and learning.

Children are taught to take risks and learn through mistakes

Success: teachers reinforce success and build an environment where risks can be taken.

Success is celebrated as part of our learning culture

 

3. The Physical Environment

 

There are positive effects on standards and motivation of pupils associated with the physical environment. Factors include the use of displays, music, the use of resources including ICT, the consideration of pupil groupings in the physical layout of the room. Teachers are responsible for ensuring classrooms are an exciting, stimulating and welcoming place to be by:

  • Arranging furniture and space to create a safe, flexible learning environment including a carpet focus area
  • Creating a topic focussed environment which stimulates interest in the theme of study e.g. wall display, themed book corner or role play area
  • Making sure the equipment is labelled and accessible to promote independent learning
  • Creating a space for each student; labelling trays and pegs
  • Creating a focus area around the board. Look at the room from a child’s eye level!
  • Using music to ‘set the scene’
  • Teaching, and expecting, children to respect and care for their environment
  • Ensuring classrooms are tidy and free from clutter to promote a calm, productive learning environment
  • Providing an attractive book corner

 

4. Display

 

The aim of display is to enhance and accelerate learning and to build self-esteem and belonging.

We use display to support and reinforce learning. Display should aid recall, stimulate further thinking, give new information, make connections, celebrate achievement, remind children of rules and targets and motivate children towards further learning. Each child should have the opportunity to have work displayed in school.

Each class should have:

  • Literacy and maths displays and working walls
  • Class rules
  • Learning tools in the form of key words and questions for topic/literacy/maths, posters, prompts, number lines, spelling aids, punctuation pyramids, word banks etc..
  • Marking codes and traffic light self assessment system
  • Esteem raising well-presented displays of high quality children’s work that reflects their achievements
  • Positive inspirational slogans
  • Interactive displays reflecting current topic to promote investigation and curiosity including artefacts
  • Displays that reflect the make-up of the school population i.e. positive images of culturally diverse groups, examples of community languages and images that challenge stereotypes of gender and disability
  • Visual timetable on display at all times during the day using symbols where appropriate
  • Communal display area providing information for parents e.g. school aims, newsletter, curriculum aims, how to help at home, important dates etc.

 

5. The curriculum

 

Teachers are responsible for maintaining a very good subject and pedagogical knowledge and for ensuring the best possible learning opportunities are planned, delivered and monitored. All adults are expected to be leaders of learning, attending courses, observing good practice, building and disseminating knowledge and best practice.

We use the objectives from the National Curriculum and strategies for literacy and maths to underpin the taught curriculum. Literacy is at the heart of our curriculum. Classes have an over-arching topic each term (occasionally half term) which is informed by pupil questions and an enquiry approach. Teachers plan lessons using national frameworks to ensure children receive their entitlement. Teachers may use schemes of work as a starting point, but are expected to add their own creative ideas! Wherever possible, links are made to real life experiences to make the curriculum relevant. Links are made between areas of the curriculum with non-fiction reading and writing being taught through cross curricular links. We aim to make the curriculum reflective of, and responsive to the cultural background of our pupils.

 

6. Focus weeks/days

 

Throughout the year we hold a series of focus days or weeks; these range from specific curriculum areas e.g. book week or science/maths investigation day, to health or community based events e.g. health and fitness week and Our World Week. The aim of this approach is to raise the profile and enthusiasm for an area and to provide children with the opportunity to practise their skills and develop new interests.

 

7. Pupil Outcomes

 

Educating children to ensure they grow up to lead safe, happy, healthy and successful lives is at the heart of what we do. Through direct teaching and extended schools provision we aim to integrate and promote these ideals through the curriculum so that all pupils can..

  • Be healthy
  • Stay safe
  • Enjoy and achieve
  • Make a positive contribution
  • Achieve economic well being

We provide opportunities for learning in these areas through the PSHE and wider curriculum, through the use of visits and visitors e.g. fire brigade, DARE officers and through the participation in community or charity based events.

 

8. The learning journey

 

Teachers are responsible for the planning, preparation and delivery of opportunities which enable learners, in relation to their starting points, to achieve very high standards. This requires a thorough knowledge of each individual in the class (prior attainment, targets, learning needs- IEPs, language stage, cultural backgrounds and interests) it also requires very good subject knowledge with effective planning and stimulating use of strategies, resources and personnel to enable all pupils to learn effectively. Teachers are expected to create a secure and friendly environment in which high levels of good behaviour are maintained. Our aim as teachers is to enable learners to thrive, enjoy and develop the skills and capacity to work independently and collaboratively making good progress in all aspects of their learning. As a staff, we constantly consider teaching style, environment, rules and expectations of behaviour to ensure that every child is feeling confident, happy and secure. Recognising and celebrating success through assemblies, displays and performances is very important at Arboretum. We ensure that there is a broad range of opportunities for everyone to shine.

Children are grouped according to the aims of the lessons. For literacy and maths this is sometimes by academic ability, however throughout the day it may be mixed ability, by gender or friendships. Activities are differentiated to meet learning needs. Direct Entry children receive extra language support and our SENDCo coordinates support for those with special educational needs.

 

9. Structure

 

Connect > Describe the outcomes > Activate > Demonstrate > Review

 

The present learning experience is explicitly sited between what has been learned and what is to come. Learning is incremental, not packaged into discrete units; effectively connecting the elements of the learning journey enables pupils to see and make progress. The way lessons and units of work are structured reflects our understanding of the learning process.

 

Connect

  • Topic and units of work are introduced by sharing the big picture; this orientates the learner by giving an overview and shows how the learning will be organised.

  • Summarise what is to come and provide initial exposure to key ideas and vocabulary. By doing this we aim to engage curiosity and stimulate interest.

  • Link the learning to previous and future learning.

     

    Describe the outcomes

  • Learning intentions and success criteria are shared, prominently displayed and referred to as a key element of each lesson.

  • Make the outcomes and reasons explicit

  • Curricular targets for writing and maths are explicitly referred to and the skills needed to achieve them taught, at the start of and throughout lessons.

     

    Activate

  • Give the key information and vocabulary needed for the lesson

  • Use a multi-sensory approach

  • Pose questions and engage curiosity

  • Use speaking and listening activities with thinking time

  • Use a variety of groupings

  • Make it memorable – use props, stimulating resources and music

  • Ensure tasks are clearly understood by using questioning, recall and ‘traffic light’ systems

     

    Demonstrate

  • Provide opportunities for children to show they know and can transfer their skills

  • Take into account multiple intelligences by allowing choices in the ways children present/share their understanding

  • Teach specific skills required to access the learning in the lesson/unit of work

  • Use movement as a demonstration and memory tool

  • Use brain breaks to enhance learning potential

  • Provide opportunities for collaborative, collective and individual activity

  • Plan for a range of groupings to best meet the learning needs

  • Insist on high standards of presentation and achievement

     

    Review

    Teachers are responsible for ensuring feedback leads to improvements in learning, it should: build self-esteem, encourage and motivate, support development, be relevant to the aims of the lesson and lead to progress.

  • Planned review sessions happen during and at the conclusion (plenary)of learning experiences

  • Opportunities for feedback, peer and self-evaluation are built into all lessons.

  • Children are taught to reflect on and evaluate their learning, progress towards their targets and the aims of a lesson using the success criteria and feedback to plan next steps in their learning.

  • Memory tools including songs

  • Teachers give planned time for reflection and for improvements to be made. Next steps in books are followed up using a purple pen of progress.

  • Teachers give written and oral feedback in line with the school’s policies on feedback and Assessment

 

10. Questioning

 

The use of open and closed questioning is vital to teaching and learning. Questions are used to assess children’s starting points, to deepen understanding and to check children’s progress.

A range of question types should be used from literal to higher order. Children must always be given thinking time and a range of strategies are employed in this school to facilitate a ‘no hands up’ approach: talk partners, think-pair-share, lollipop stick replies. We teach children how to raise their own questions and how to use a range of techniques to find the answers to questions which have been posed.

 

11. Learning styles

 

We recognise children learn in different ways and therefore plan and deliver a multi sensory, differentiated approach to engage all learners using auditory, kinaesthetic and visual stimuli.

A wide range of resources, including those available on interactive whiteboards are available.

We recognise multiple intelligences and differing learning styles by providing a range of opportunities for pupils to demonstrate their understanding. These include opportunities for pupils to communicate ideas through speaking and listening, writing, story mapping, music, drama, ICT, art, investigation and problem solving, research and finding out, asking and answering questions, creative activities, debates, role-plays, oral presentations and designing and making things.

Throughout the day, pupils engage in whole-class work, group work, paired work and independent work. We aim for each session to include visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities so that pupils see, hear and do. We make good use of ‘talk partners’ and we model, encourage and praise co-operative learning.

 

12. The assessment priority is assessment for learning

 

Assessment lies at the heart of the process of promoting children’s learning. It provides a framework within which educational objectives may be set and children’s progress expressed and monitored. This should be done in partnership with the children.

Assessment should be incorporated systematically into teaching strategies in order to diagnose any problems and chart progress. It helps the school to strengthen learning across the curriculum and helps teachers enhance their skills and judgements. Our assessment procedures are free from bias, stereotyping and generalisation in respect of gender, class, race and disability.

 

Principles

 

Using the principles and processes of assessment, we aim to:

 

• monitor progress and support learning

• recognise the achievements of pupils

• guide future planning, teaching and curriculum development

• inform parents and the wider community of pupil achievement

• provide information to ensure continuity when the pupil changes school or year group

• comply with statutory requirements

 

A Learning Intention (IALT) is shared (written or spoken) during each session so children understand the purpose of the lesson, at the end children are guided to assess their progress and discuss and often record how they have achieved.

Teachers are constantly assessing; they observe, ask questions and work with groups and individuals throughout the day. Work where possible is marked alongside the child. Marking is a dialogue and teachers often ask a question or give a challenge when marking written work.

We also value summative assessments of learning, where the children are assessed against national standards. We use assertive mentoring tests and use the results intelligently to record progress and to predict future levels of attainment.

Each term, teachers in Years 1 – 6 record the attainment in reading, writing, maths and science on the school tracking system (Pupil Asset) for each individual pupil. These are informed by the descriptors of national curriculum expectations at each level of attainment. On entry to the Two Year old unit and Foundation Stage 1 children will be formally assessed. Results are used to inform planning, set targets and aid early identification of special needs. Children will be assessed throughout each term to ensure that the next steps in learning are appropriately planned in order to help children make progress. During their reception year children will be assessed using the Early Learning Goals which are based on the teacher’s ongoing observations and assessments in the areas of learning. Each child’s typical developments and achievements are recorded on the school tracking system (Pupil Asset) and evidenced in the child’s learning journal.

 

Teachers meet with senior leaders regularly to discuss assessment and to find ways to remove barriers to learning. In pupil progress meetings Senior leaders meet with teachers to discuss any children who are not making progress and to plan additional support.

Teachers meet with parents individually to discuss progress, mid Autumn term, the end of the Autumn term, mid Spring term, and then at the end of each school year, when teachers write detailed reports for each child.

 

13. Equal opportunities

 

The delivery and content of lessons should be sufficiently differentiated to ensure all pupils can access and achieve within the curriculum. Teachers must take account of SEND, gifted and talented, and language stage needs when planning and teaching lessons to ensure learning opportunities are provided which match pupils’ ability and potential.

 

14. Techniques to support effective learning

 

Music

Music is used for a variety of purposes:

  • To influence mood and atmosphere e.g. to energise or relax a class or to create a calm start or end to the day

  • To demarcate time on a task e.g. using a timed piece of music for tidy up time, changing for PE or during handwriting

  • To carry content e.g. through learning songs which carry subject content; learning with music enhances the ability to store and retrieve related information

     

    Brain Gym

    Brain breaks are used as a means to ensure pupils are actively engaged in and ready for learning.

    They can be used before, during or after formal learning, and can be used to help children understand and recall concepts and content and to improve coordination and physical skills. Resources with ideas for exercises are available to staff.

     

    Trips and visitors

    We are fortunate to be located within easy reach of a variety of interesting and educational places which we use to enhance the curriculum and stimulate learning. Teachers should plan a minimum of one visit/visitor per term with a range of experiences being provided across the year.

    Teachers must obtain written permission from parents/carers before a child can go out..

 

15. Working with others

 

Parents

We actively encourage the participation of parents as partners in learning and aim to create a welcoming atmosphere.

  • Parents are informed of their children’s targets, learning foci and ways to support learning through a termly information sheet written by the class teacher.

  • Four official parent/teacher meetings are held across the year but parents are entitled to make an appointment to see the teacher at other times. Teachers are expected to raise any concerns about a child’s learning or behaviour with parents as soon as possible so that work can be done in partnership to resolve issues.

  • A range of learning opportunities are provided to parents and opportunities to observe the learning in lessons through year group drop ins, craft afternoons, breakfast with a book, maths and marmalade etc.

     

    Teaching assistants

     

    Each phase team has assigned teaching assistants; teachers are responsible for the effective direction and deployment of TAs to support learning. Teachers hold weekly planning and feedback meetings with TAs and are responsible for ensuring learning intentions and activities are clear.

    TAs should work with a variety of children across the week and many are trained in the implementation of second and third wave intervention programmes.

     

    Pupil voice

     

    We encourage and respect pupil voice. We have a School Council which meets regularly and makes recommendations and undertakes work to improve our school. All classes use circle time to make sure children have opportunities to raise concerns and voice opinions. Children’s opinions are regularly sought through questionnaires, discussions and suggestion boxes.

     

     

    Governors

     

    Our governors monitor how effective teaching and learning strategies are in terms of raising pupil attainment and through the school self-review processes. They are kept informed by visiting the school, as well as attending meetings and reading reports by the headteacher and other key staff.

     

    Specialist support

     

    Additional support is provided to identified pupils so all children can access and fulfil their potential. Support may be given to support pupils with special educational needs, to pupils who speak English as an additional language or to extend those with a specific gift or talent.

     

16. Progress tasks

 

Progress tasks are an opportunity to reinforce what has been covered in lessons and to involve parents in their child’s learning. Teachers are responsible for setting and marking this work in line with the school policy. Clubs, run by staff, provide opportunities for KS1 and KS2 children to access further support.

 

17. Extended provision

 

We provide a varied menu of activities to support and enrich learning; these include breakfast club, a wide range of lunchtime clubs, after school clubs and sports tournaments and competitions.

 

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