Children intrinsically Love learning. We aim to help them develop a genuine and deep Love for each other, the school, the environment and the wider world. Staff show Love through their passion and commitment for teaching and learning and for the school community. They give time, thought, care and of themselves personally for the benefit of the children, the school and their job.
This is a re-blog post originally posted by Tim Clarke and published with kind permission.
The original post can be found here.
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We show Hope through the high expectations we have for every child and the way we strive for the best for all children. We have belief and conviction in full inclusion and persevere to ensure every child does matter.
Learners are active participants in their learning. Increasingly and when appropriate they are empowered to make independent choices in how they learn and how they demonstrate their learning. Engaging learning experiences challenge all learners. Relevant contexts make learning meaningful for them. Mastery of key knowledge and skills is balanced with opportunities to explore their ideas, deepen their thinking/understanding and solve problems.
Staff have high expectations and are activators* and promote a ‘Growth Mindset’ approach.
*Activators (John Hattie): facilitate learning environments and experiences but are actively involved in selecting the best times and ways to interact with and question children (to support, enhance or challenge their thinking or learning)
All learners (and groups of learners) achieve high standards
All learners (and groups of learners) make sustained progress, develop depth of understanding and learn exceptionally well
All learners are empowered through participation in their learning to grow as people who are: confident, responsible, empathetic, resilient, reflective, open-minded, fulfilled and happy.
Learning Values: I N S P I R E
Independence / Interdependence
The children develop as confident, flexible and resourceful learners for life who are able to think deeply and make their own choices.
The children make wise choices in their learning, about when to work on their own, when to collaborate with their peers and when to seek advice from adults
Not giving up
The children develop resilience and perseverance. Through quality practice and hard work they achieve their goals.
The children are intrinsically motivated to learn and grow for themselves, and to develop their interests and passions.
The children think and show a positive attitude towards learning and life, seeing the good in situations and others, being open minded and inspiring others.
Inspired by challenge
The children embrace challenges and see the benefits of learning and growing through them.
The children develop their confidence in new situations. They think outside the box, problem solve solutions it something doesn’t go as planned and learns from these experiences.
The children are partners in their learning and personal growth journeys. They have the knowledge, skills, mindset and confidence to make decisions and choices in their lives.
Pupils as partners
Through Pupil Voice Groups the children defined great learners as people who:
try their best don’t give up are keen
work hard listen well practise
are patient ask for help let others join in
have a positive attitude make mistakes read
learn from others explain their learning concentrate
reflect ask questions are motivated
solve problems are imaginative try hard things
are determined take time enjoy learning
keep learning search for clues are confident
take risks learn together use old learning
get excited learn practically set challenges
take time to think research play
Elements of pupil partnership in learning include them being empowered to make choices. This may be on the specific focus of their learning, e.g. choosing an activity, or an animal or person to research, or choosing a way to present their learning, or choosing a strategy or approach to solve a given problem.
Based on the work of Professor Carol Dweck, and the overwhelming evidence internationally we aim to foster a ‘Growth’ as opposed to ‘Fixed Mindset’.
A person with a ‘Growth Mindset’ approach to learning and life recognises that intelligence, abilities and skills can be developed and improved. They are motivated by adventurous learning which may result in mistakes / failings, but they understand that these are useful to the learning process. They develop high levels of resilience, they embrace challenges, persevere despite obstacles and perceive effort and hard work as a path to mastery. They learn from feedback, rather than feel threatened by it and focus on the process of learning not just the product.
We develop this understanding with the children by using the language of ‘Growth Mindset’. We talk about the children being on a journey, rather than at a fixed ability level / group. Our “Ready Stead Grow” certificates and “Golden Book” celebrate positive ‘Growth Mindset’ attributes. Staff model a ‘Growth Mindset’ approach to their teaching and their own professional development.
Teaching for Learning Foundations (T4LF)
The following foundations are the key elements we have identified and embedded into our regular classroom practice. These foundations will be evident in all sessions. (They are also referred to as ‘The Crucial Dozen’)
- Learning Aim. This is shared and discussed with the learners so that they know what they are learning and why.
- Success Criteria. This is shared, discussed and sometimes created with the learners so that they are clear on what they need to do to be successful and what the staff are looking for evidence of.
- Challenge all. As one of our Learning Values and an integral part of ‘Growth Mindset’ it is important that every learner experiences challenge in every session. The staff need to pitch the learning so that the learners are operating in their ‘stretch zone’ rather than their ‘comfort’ or ‘panic’ zones.
- Feedback. Verbal and written feedback should be used regularly. Giving learners specific and appropriate guidance and advice on how to improve and next steps aids their progress. It is imperative that learners are given the time and guidance to read, understand and respond to these next steps. This is a point at which learning and understanding occur.
- Learning Journey prompts. These are a series of questions designed to promote reflective learning amongst the learners. They are organised into three sections of a learning journey. ‘Packing’ questions are used prior to a learning experience starting, ‘Going on’ questions are used during the learning experience and ‘Unpacking’ questions are asked at the end. These questions will continue to be refined and developed by the staff through their practice.
- Engaged & purposeful. Successful learning happens when the learners are engaged in the activity or the context. By making activities and contexts relevant to the learners and meaningful for their lives at the time engagement will be increased.
- Questions / scaffolds. Questions are a powerful tool for staff to support and aid those learners who are struggling to understand or overcome a barrier. They can also be used to enhance learning and challenge thinking. The right question needs to be asked at the right time in a learning journey to have maximum impact. Scaffolds are pre-prepared sources of support or guidance for the learners to access if and when appropriate. These may be written or drawn resources, practical equipment or digital sources of support.
- Short interactive input. Information and instructions needs to be shared succinctly and with clarity. Learners should be cognitively active during inputs and maximum time should be found for them to contribute their ideas, suggestions and questions.
- Pupils reflect & discuss. The Learning Journey prompts provide a framework to promote reflection. There should be multiple opportunities in every session for learner to discuss, collaborate and debate.
- Great Green/Think Pink. As part of our Feedback policy staff should highlight evidence of good and successful learning in ‘Great Green’ and identify areas or answers to be returned to and improved in ‘Think Pink’. Pink next steps should be discussed with learners and recorded on their work. Whenever possible this should happen during sessions rather than after the school day ends.
- Working Walls. These are learning displays and are not expected to be pristine and smart. Scaffolds linked to current learning and regular visual supports should be displayed before sessions start, though they should also be added to during sessions and series of sessions. Learners should be actively encouraged to contribute ideas and evidence of learning to the Working Walls
- Daily drips. The aim of the school is to promote mastery of basic knowledge through additional 2-3 minute drips in: phonics, reading and mental maths. (Staff may also want to include: vocabulary development, speaking and listening, spelling and handwriting on occasions, but not on a daily basis)
Teaching for Learning (T4L)
In YR there is a variety of Child Initiated / Teacher Directed / Teacher Initiated Learning. The aim of Child Initiated Learning is that it should be based in real contexts, be relevant to the children’s lives and experiences, give them genuine choices, stimulate their curiosity, and lead to purposeful engagement and outcomes.
In YR much of the learning should be Child Initiated. In Y1 there will be a balance of Child Initiated Learning and other types of learning, there will be some Child Initiated Learning in Y2, and in KS2 Child Initiated Learning will be used occasionally.
From Y1 we will develop Project Based Learning (PBL). The aim of PBL is that it should be based in real contexts, be relevant to the children’s lives and experiences, give them genuine choices, stimulate their curiosity, and lead to purposeful engagement and outcomes. (Therefore it is a parallel process to Child Initiated Learning)
In Y1 some of the learning should be PBL. In Y2 there will be a balance of PBL and other types of learning. In KS2 much of the learning will be PBL in nature giving the learners increasingly greater say, opportunities and freedoms to lead their own learning.
There must be a balance of mastery of key knowledge and skills, with deeper learning and application of learning.
Examples of key knowledge and skills to be mastered include:
- speak clearly, fluently and with confidence; listen attentively with understanding; read, comprehend and use texts; segment and blend phonemes; read, write and spell high frequency words accurately; form letters clearly and correctly; write and understand sentences; use basic punctuation accurately
- recognise, count numbers and groups of objects; addition bonds; subtraction bonds; understanding of place value; times tables; knowing that addition / subtraction and multiplication / division are inverse operations
- using a range of digital devices safely and confidently
- Higher order thinking and questions ensure the learners are not constrained at an ‘understanding’ and ‘remembering’ level. The learners will be encourage to apply, analyse, evaluate and create new ideas, products and understanding regularly.
- Time is invested in learning, not wasted in purposeless activity.
- Learning should be enjoyable, exciting, engaging and empowering.
- “Learning. Always and all ways.” (Clare Ross)
- “Busy learning, not learning to be busy.” (Claire Riley)
Thoughts / Questions to consider when planning:
We also believe in a fluid balance between planned progressions and series of sessions and being responsive to the needs of the learners. Learning experiences should not focus on task completion but on moving the learning journey on. The class teacher is the member of staff who is best placed to make these ongoing judgements.
We strongly believe that there is no one right way to plan a single Learning Experience or a series of them.
Planning Learning Experiences (not lessons)
Staff will plan and implement a variety of styles and types of learning activities over the course of each year. As well as Child Initiated and Project Based Learning, these include: discussion, practical, through play, problems solving, independent, interdependent, outdoor, experiential, Circle Time, Philosophy for Children (P4C), TASC wheel and ‘Lazy Teaching’.
A WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like) is an example of a pre-prepared scaffold that can support learners without direct intervention from staff.
We use a balance of differentiation approaches, and a balance of staff and learners choosing the level of challenge in learning. Examples of approaches include: task, resource, questioning, independent challenge, support, scaffolds, and personalised curriculum.
We develop elements of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural learning regularly across the curriculum. Key opportunities are recorded in planning and examples shared in a portfolio.
We define deeper and application of learning as extended opportunities to explore and investigate, to make sense for themselves of their knowledge and to create their own understanding. Learners using and applying their mastered knowledge in creative, critical and wise ways.
Planning is the thinking process not a sheet of paper that is produced
Who is the planning for? (The teacher and the learners)
What is the purpose of the planning? (To activate learning and ensure progress)
How does the planning promote the INSPIRE Learning Values over time?
How does the planning support the principles and aims of this policy?
How does the planning make the best use of the Teaching for Learning Foundations (The Crucial Dozen)?
How will learning / progress be evident to the teacher and the learners?
In all planning we seek to gain maximum benefit from a balanced partnership between the expertise of Subject Leaders and the in depth knowledge of learners and the overview of learning in the class of the class teacher. In all cases dialogue is encouraged from both members of staff.
In English the Subject Leader will provide guidance through a progression through phases of learning for each strand of the National Curriculum. They will also give an overview of coverage (Form, Purpose, Audience, Genre and Outcome) on the Curriculum Map.
In maths the Subject Leader will provide guidance through a progression of mental maths, written calculations and through each of the Blocks in half-termly medium term plans.
In other subjects the Subject Leader will provide guidance in the form of a Subject Progression (which may include knowledge, skills, mindsets, concepts…) This Progression is key to ensure learners don’t repeat learning. The Progression may be one page per year group, one page per Key Stage or indeed one page for the whole school.
The class teacher can adapt the amount of time spent on different aspects to respond to the learning needs of their class and will write the weekly plans.
The class teacher can move the elements of coverage to different times in the academic year and will write the medium term and weekly plans.
The class teacher will write the medium term plan for each subject. This should not be more than one page long and should aim to take no more than 5 sessions in one half-term. There should not be any further plans written by the class teacher, though they may add brief annotations to their plan following sessions.
For Year R see Appendix 1: “Successful planning in Early Years” from the EYFS policy.
It is crucial that plans are shared in advance of Learning Experiences with other staff who will be supporting the learning.
Assessment for Learning (AfL)
All adults are involved in a continual process of observations, listening to conversations, being involved in discussions, analysing processes, evaluating products… These reflections will usually be focused on the Learning Aim (LA) and Success Criteria (SC) for the Learning Experience.
The learners should be empowered as partners in their learning through a range of self and peer assessment. The feedback policy should identify clearly for the learners through ‘Great Green’ and ‘Think Pink’ what they have done well and what their nest steps are.
AfL will inform and adjust the planning of future learning.
It also enables staff to adapt learning experiences: the activities, expectations and pitch in the moment, as a response to learners’ needs and ongoing outcomes.
Staff and learners should utilise a wide range of learning focused, high quality bespoke resources. They should stimulate learners’ curiosity to explore and investigate them and aid understanding of concepts through concrete understanding which will lead to mastery learning. This in turn should then enable deeper and more abstract thinking and application of learning.
Resources that will be used regularly by learners should be easily accessible for independent use. Learners should make wise choices about when and how to use them.
Technology should be used to support, organise, enhance, challenge and inspire learning and learners.
Learners should make choices where appropriate about which technology to use, when and how. They will become more confident and proficient in making these choices through learning about and investigating a range of hardware and software through the Computing and the whole curriculum. They should be able to explain why the use of this technology is supporting or enhancing their learning.
We are exploring the use of the concept of ‘Flipped Learning’. This is where learners will access materials and inputs at home prior to learning experiences. When in school these sessions can then be more effectively utilised to challenge, extend and deepen learning and understanding. These materials and inputs can also be playing during sessions to allow learners to re-access information.
Flexible and regular use should be made of outdoor areas: e.g. the playground, field and copse, and other indoor space: e.g. the additional classroom, hall, Library, corridors. This provides a wider variety of places for the learners to explore, question and be inspired by. This decisions should always be made based on the most effective choice for learning.
We will use flexible groupings to ensure we do not put a ceiling on the learning or aspirations of any learner. Sometimes groupings will be chosen by the teacher based on assessment of prior learning. At other times the learners will be given choices as to which challenge level to start at and allowed to move to other groups when they choose to benefit their learning.
Working Walls should be used in both classrooms and shared areas. They may include starter prompts prior to a series of learning experiences, key words, questions, learners work and wherever possible should be interactive. Working Walls should be utilised by learners every day
The Learning environments are within the classrooms, within all other areas within the school, and all areas in the school grounds. They should promote, support, enhance and inspire: thinking, learning, reflection, and independence.