What has been learned is more important than what has been taught.
At Bignold School we believe in the concept of lifelong learning and the idea that both adults and children learn new things every day. We maintain that learning should be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for everyone; it should be fun. Through our teaching we aim to equip children with the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to be able to make informed choices about the important things in their lives. We believe that appropriate teaching and learning experiences help children to lead happy and rewarding lives.
2. Aims and Objectives
We believe that children learn best in different ways. At our school we aim to provide a rich and varied learning experience that allows children to develop their skills and abilities to their full potential.
Through our teaching we aim to:
- Enable children to become confident, resourceful, enquiring and independent learners;
- Foster children’s self-esteem and help them build positive relationships with other people;
- Develop children’s self-respect and encourage children to respect the ideas, attitudes, values and feelings of others;
- Show respect for all cultures and, in so doing, to promote positive attitudes towards other people;
- Enable children to understand their community and help them feel valued as part of this community;
- Help children grow into reliable, independent and positive citizens.
3. Effective Inclusive Learning
Through this policy we aim to ensure that children learn effectively. The characteristics of effective learning are when pupils make good progress, respond well to challenging tasks and adjust well to working in different contexts. To be effective learners children need to work in a sustained manner with commitment and enjoyment, be confident in raising questions and have perseverance when answers are not readily available. Also, children need to be able to select appropriate methods, organise the resources they need effectively and then be able to evaluate their own work. When appropriate, they also need to help each other.
In acquiring these characteristics, we acknowledge that children learn in many different ways and we recognise the need to develop strategies that allow all children to learn in ways that best suit them. The psychologist Howard Gardner identifies seven main areas of intelligence: linguistic, logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, kinaesthetic, musical, interpersonal/group working, and interpersonal/reflective. We take into account these different forms of intelligence when planning teaching and learning styles.
We offer opportunities for children to learn in different ways. These include:
- Investigation and problem solving;
- Research and finding out;
- Group work & pair work;
- Independent work;
- Whole-class work;
- Asking and answering questions;
- Use of technology;
- Use of interactive whiteboards;
- Fieldwork, outdoor learning and visits to places of educational interest;
- Creative activities;
- Watching television and responding to musical or recorded material;
- Debates, role-plays and oral presentations;
- Designing and making things;
- Participation in athletic or physical activity.
We encourage children to take responsibility for their own learning, to be involved as far as possible in reviewing the way they learn, and to reflect on how they learn – what helps them learn and what makes it difficult for them to learn.
4. Effective Inclusive Teaching
Effective teaching is when teachers challenge and inspire pupils, expecting the most of them. Effective teachers have good subject knowledge and are technically competent in teaching phonics and other basic skills. The best teachers will use a variety of methods to enable all pupils to learn effectively and will manage pupils well, insisting on high standards of behaviour. They will assess pupils’ work thoroughly and use assessments to help and encourage pupils to overcome difficulties. Good teachers plan effectively, setting clear objectives that pupils understand and they use time, support staff and other resources effectively.
At Bignold we base our teaching on our knowledge of the children’s level of attainment. Our prime focus is to develop further the knowledge and skills of the children. We strive to ensure that all tasks set are appropriate to each child’s level of ability. When planning work for children with special educational needs we give due regard to information and targets contained in the children’s I Can Plans. We have high expectations of all children, and we believe that their work should always be of the highest possible standard.
We set whole school and individual targets for children in each academic year and we share these targets with children. We review the progress of each child at the end of each term and set revised targets as and when appropriate.
We plan our lessons with clear learning objectives. We take these objectives from the National Curriculum and the EYFS curriculum. Our planning contains information about the tasks to be set, the resources needed, differentiation and use of support staff. We evaluate all lessons so that we can modify and improve our teaching in the future.
All of our adults work hard to establish good working relationships with all children. We treat the children with kindness and respect. We treat them fairly and give them equal opportunity to take part in class activities. All our teachers follow the school policy with regard to conduct and classroom management. We set and agree with children the Class Charter. We expect all children to abide by the Charter that we jointly devise to promote the best learning opportunities for all. We praise children for their efforts and, by so doing, we help to build positive attitudes towards school and learning in general. We insist on good order and behaviours for learning at all times. When children misbehave we follow the guidelines for sanctions as outlined in our school Behaviour Policy.
We ensure that all tasks and activities that the children do are safe. Regular risk assessments are carried out. When we plan to take children out of school, we follow the NCC Guidelines for School visits and use the Evolve system to ensure we do this correctly.
We deploy teaching assistants and other adult helpers as effectively as possible. Sometimes they work with individual children and sometimes they work with small groups. Our teaching assistants also assist with the preparation and storage of classroom equipment. On occasion, Teaching Assistants will teach whole classes.
All teachers reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and plan their professional development needs accordingly relating to performance management targets and the SIDP. The school has systematic procedures for identifying strengths and weaknesses in teaching and provides opportunities for teachers and support staff to continually improve their practice.
We conduct all our teaching in an atmosphere of trust and respect for all.
5. Learning Environment
At Bignold we work hard to ensure our classrooms are attractive learning environments. We regularly change displays to ensure that the classroom reflects the topics studied by the children. We ensure that all children have the opportunity to display their best work at some time during the year. All classrooms have a range of dictionaries and fiction and non-fiction books, as well as displays relating to literacy and numeracy and foundation subjects. We believe that a stimulating environment sets the climate for learning, and a well organised classroom promotes independent use of resources and high-quality work by the children.
The curriculum is all the planned activities that we organise in order to promote learning and personal growth and development. It includes not only the formal requirements of the National Curriculum, but also the range of extra-curricular activities that the school organises in order to enrich the experience of the children. It also includes the ‘hidden curriculum’, or what the children learn from the way they are treated and expected to behave. We aim to teach children how to grow into positive, responsible people, who can work and co-operate with others while developing knowledge and skills, so that they achieve their true potential within the Rights Respecting ethos and framework.
The aims of our school curriculum are:
- To enable all children to learn and develop their skills to the best of their ability;
- To promote a positive attitude towards learning, so that children enjoy coming to school, and acquire a solid basis for lifelong learning;
- To teach children the basic skills of literacy, numeracy and information and computing;
- To enable children to be creative and to develop their own thinking; to teach children about their developing world, including how their environment and society have changed over time
- To enable children to be positive citizens in society;
- To fulfil all the requirements of the National Curriculum and the Locally Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education;
- To teach children to have an awareness of their own spiritual development, and to understand right from wrong;
- To help children understand the importance of truth and fairness, so that they grow up committed to equal opportunities for all;
- To enable children to have respect for themselves and high self-esteem, and to be able to live and work co-operatively with others.
We plan our curriculum at three levels:
Whole School level – long term.
At whole school level we have an agreed curriculum map for each year group covering Year 1 to Year 6. This indicates what topics are to be taught in each term, and to which groups of children. The curriculum map is made up of specific themes / units of work for each subject based on the programmes of study in the National Curriculum. This also forms the basis for our creative curriculum. We also use the Norfolk agreed syllabus for RE.
In addition to the themes taught, we also encompass the development of key skills, making strong cross curricular links to ensure a broader understanding.
Through our curriculum we will develop:
- Independent enquirers
- Reflective learners
- Creative thinkers
- Team workers
The six key skills that we aim to develop are:
- Communication: This includes listening, speaking, reading and writing.
- Application of number: This includes mental calculation skills, and learning how to apply these skills to solving number problems.
- Computing: Through the new programme of study for computing, they will learn how computers and computer systems work, they will design and build programs, develop their ideas using technology and create a range of content.
- Working with others: This involves the ability to work well with others as a team member or team leader. When children are offered the opportunity to work with others, they learn to consider the views of others and to develop the social skills of co-operation and mutual understanding.
- Improving own learning and performance: This involves children in evaluating their own performance, and understanding what they need to do next in order to improve.
- Problem-solving: This skill involves learning how to apply common techniques to solve problems in a variety of contexts and situations in any aspect of life.
These key skills also link closely to the school’s focus on building children’s ‘Learning Power’ developing specifically:
- Readiness: Being ready and willing to learn e.g. being motivated, set goals and have a positive attitude to learning.
- Resourcefulness: Being ready, willing and able to learn in different ways e.g. ask questions, imagine and make links.
- Resilience: Being ready, willing and able to lock on to learning e.g. persevere and manage distractions.
- Responsibility: Being ready, willing and able to work alongside and with others.
- Reflectiveness: Being ready, willing and able to become more strategic about learning e.g. reflecting, improving and practicing their work.
Year Group level – medium term.
Within our medium-term plans we give clear guidance on the objectives and teaching strategies that we use when teaching each topic. For RE teachers use the Norfolk agreed schemes and plans.
Our medium term planning also takes account of children’s interests. Teachers brainstorm with all children what they would like to learn within themes / units; then consider what the best learning sequence will be.
Class level – short term.
Our short-term plans are those that our teachers write on a weekly basis and are usually annotated daily. We use these to set out the learning objectives for each session, to identify what teaching strategies will be employed, how the children will be grouped, what differentiation there will be, what resources are required. These plans are evaluated at the end of the day / week and used to inform future planning.
8. Assessment, Recording and Reporting.
We believe that effective assessment provides information to improve teaching and learning.
We give our children regular feedback on their learning so that they understand what it is that they need to do better. We use information collected from assessments to allow us to plan lessons based on detailed knowledge of each pupil. We strive to ensure that all tasks set are appropriate to each child’s level of ability. Our lesson plans make clear the learning objectives for each lesson. We make a note of those individual children who do not achieve at the expected level for the lesson and use this information when planning for the next lesson. We also keep this information as a record of progress made by the class as and when appropriately. We give parents regular reports on their child’s progress so that teachers, children and parents are all working together to raise standards for all our children.
Procedures used by the school
- National statutory tasks and tests: These are externally produced and are taken at the end of the Key Stages 1 & 2 and we carry out the Year 1 Phonics Check. They enable us to compare pupils’ and the school’s performance against local and national benchmarks. We use this information to set targets for improvement.
- National non-statutory tasks and tests: These can include those that are published tests and ones that we make ourselves. We administer them when appropriate but always at the end of the academic year. This enables us to keep track of children’s progress and to set targets for improvement.
- EYFS profile.
- Marking: This concentrates on learning objectives and focuses on how well the learning objective has been achieved as well as giving guidance for future improvement. See Marking Advice Sheet.
- Teacher assessment: We assess pupil progress using Not as we Know It assessment sheets and Pupil Asset KPIs as and when appropriate. In Reading, Writing and Number it supports information gathered from formal tests and ensures robustness in teacher assessed results when assessing achievement and attainment.
- Peer / Self Assessment: Teachers provide regular opportunities for children to self and peer assess in order for them to have ownership of their learning.
- Annual reports: These are written by class teachers with contributions from support teachers as well as learning assistants. The school has a statutory responsibility to inform parents of their children’s progress in all subjects every year.
- Tracking: All data is input by teachers directly into Pupil Asset using their range of assessments to decide whether the children are at, below or above Expected Standard.
The school has an annual cycle of assessment, recording and reporting which means that across the year children’s attainment in all subjects is systematically assessed.
9. Children Requiring Special Provision
The curriculum in our school is designed to provide access and opportunity for all children who attend the school. If we think it necessary to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of individual children, then we do so in consultation with their parents. This may include children who have special needs, children with English as an additional language or children who are gifted or talented in some way.
If a child has a special need, our school does all it can to meet these individual needs. We comply with the requirements set out in the SEN Code of Practice. If a child displays signs of having special needs, his/her teacher consults with the school’s special needs co-ordinator who will make an assessment of this need. In most instances, by differentiating the curriculum, the teacher is able to provide resources and educational opportunities which meet the child’s needs within the normal class organisation. If a child’s need is more severe, we consider the child for an Education Health and Care Plan and we involve the appropriate external agencies when making this assessment. We always provide additional resources and support for children with special needs either through specialist resources, support from special need assistants or a modified curriculum.
(For more information see the school’s SEN Information Report)
The school provides an I Can Plan for each of the children who are on the special needs register. This sets out the nature of the special need, and outlines how the schools will aim to address the need. It also sets out targets for improvement, so that we can review and monitor the progress of each child at regular intervals.
A number of our children have particular learning and assessment requirements, which are linked to their progress in learning English as an additional language. These children have skills and knowledge about language similar to monolingual English-speaking children and their ability to participate in the full curriculum may be in advance of their communicative skills in English. We ensure as full access as possible to the curriculum and to assessment by:
- Using accessible texts and materials that suit children’s ages and levels of learning; providing support through technology, video or audio materials, dictionaries.
- Using the home or first language where appropriate;
Within our school we recognise that we have children who could be termed gifted’ or ‘talented’. The term ‘gifted’ refers to a child who has a broad range of achievement at a very high level. Children who are gifted often have very well-developed learning skills. The term ‘talented’ refers to a child who excels in one or more specific fields, such as sport or music, but who does not perform at a high level across all areas of learning. In our planning, however, we apply the acronym BED (Breadth, Extension, Depth) which is referred to at a national level as those who have attained Mastery in a subject.
In terms of provision for more able pupils, we give all children the opportunity to show what they know, understand and can do, and we achieve this by providing:
- A common activity that allows the children to respond at their own level;
- An enrichment activity that broadens a child’s learning in a particular skill or knowledge area;
- An individual activity within a common theme that reflects a greater depth of understanding and higher level of attainment;
- The opportunity for children to progress through their work at their own rate of learning;
- A range of extra-curricular activities which offer more able children the opportunity to further extend their learning in a range of activities.
We use a range of strategies to identify more able and very able children. The identification process is ongoing and begins when the child joins our school.
10. The Role Of Parents In Teaching and Learning
We believe that parents have a fundamental role to play in helping children to learn. We do all we can to inform parents about what and how their children are learning by:
- Holding parents’ evenings to explain our school strategies for teaching and learning and to provide information about children’s attainment;
- Sending information to parents via a year group newsletter on a regular basis in which we outline the topics that the children will be studying;
- Sending annual reports to parents in which we explain the progress made by each child and indicate how the child can improve further;
- Explaining to parents how they can support their children with home/school learning. We suggest, for example, regular shared reading with very young children, and support for older children with their Home / School learning projects. This is also sent out in the year group newsletter.
We believe that parents have the responsibility to support their children and the school in implementing school policies. We would like parents to:
- Ensure that their child has the best attendance record possible;
- Ensure that their child is equipped for school with the correct uniform and PE kit;
- Do their best to keep their child healthy and fit to attend school;
- Inform school if there are matters outside of school that are likely to affect a child’s performance or behaviour at school;
- Promote a positive attitude towards school and learning in general;
- Fulfil the requirements set out in the expectations document (see appendix)
The Role Of Governors In Teaching and Learning
The school’s governors determine, support, monitor and review the school policies on
teaching and learning. In particular they:
- Support the use of appropriate teaching strategies by allocating resources effectively;
- Ensure that the school buildings and premises are best used to support successful teaching and learning;
- Monitor teaching strategies in the light of health and safety regulations;
- Monitor how effective teaching and learning strategies are in terms of raising pupil attainment;
- Ensure that staff development and performance management policies promote good quality teaching;
- Monitor the effectiveness of the school’s teaching and learning policies through the school’s self-review processes.
Governors at Bignold are actively involved in supporting and monitoring teaching and learning. They do this in a number of ways. They receive reports from subject leaders which gives them information about the current status of their subject. The FGB monitors implementation of the school improvement plan, evaluates and advises on schemes of work and reviews policies through the appropriate Steering Committee. The full Governing Body receives a half termly headteacher’s report. Governors also carry out focus visits to the school to look at a specific aspect of teaching and learning.
Monitoring and Review
We are aware of the need to review the school teaching and learning policy regularly so that we can take account of new initiatives, changes in the curriculum, developments in technology or changes to the physical environment of the school.