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Teaching & Learning

Teaching and Learning Policy 

September 2017

Review date: September 2019

This policy outlines the fundamental aims, which underpin all Teaching and Learning at Birches First School.

  • Aims
  • School Expectations
  • Teaching
  • Learning
  • Curriculum
  • Assessment


  • To ensure high quality teaching that enables the acquisition of skills, knowledge and understanding which will be of use to all future learning
  • To promote, facilitate and enable the inclusion of children with disabilities and special educational needs
  • To provide a broad and balanced curriculum which provides opportunity for; all pupils to acquire content through variation and differentiation
  • To promote a wide range of enrichment experiences which enable children to make connections between all forms of learning
  • To develop lively and enquiring minds through encouraging children to question and discuss issues, in order to make informed decisions
  • To promote positive attitudes, good behaviour and moral understanding. To nurture self-esteem so children are motivated to learn and to develop an ability to co-operate and work with others

School Expectations

We expect all pupils to follow the Golden Rules:

  • We care for everything and everyone
  • We walk around school
  • We are polite
  • We tell the truth
  • We listen to others
  • We try our best
  • We work together
  • Staff have high expectations of themselves and all pupils
  • Teachers are expected to impart knowledge accurately and with enthusiasm which generates high levels of commitment from pupils
  • We expect pupils to make rapid and sustained progress in lessons
  • We expect teachers to systematically check understanding, intervening when needed
  • We expect pupils to be challenged and individual needs to be met
  • We expect teachers to provide high quality marking and constructive feedback to pupils that assists in next steps


We expect:-

  • Staff to have secure subject knowledge and understanding – when support is needed teachers can seek advice from Senior Leaders or Subject Leaders
  • Staff to plan appropriately for all groups of children (inclusion) and safeguarding issues
  • That every lesson has a clear Learning Objective (WALT We Are Learning To) which is explained to the class and which remains on display throughout the lesson
  • Good pace and use of time, using appropriate teaching strategies and questioning techniques
  • That all lessons demonstrate key elements of good AFL practice
  • That activities are varied and differentiated to ensure that children explore, develop and practice new skills/ concepts
  • That staff cater for a range of differing learning styles and cultural diversity thus ensuring pupil participation and understanding
  • Staff to provide appropriate high quality resources, which support learning outcomes and provide challenge for the more able
  • That staff have high expectations of presentation, quality and quantity of work
  • Teaching Assistants to be fully involved and active in lessons
  • High standards of discipline
  • Homework which extends and reinforces

Expectations of Learning

  • Pupils provide high levels of engagement, commitment and cooperation within learning time
  • Pupils respond well to teachers and lessons proceed without interruption
  • Pupils respond readily to the challenge of the tasks set, show a willingness to concentrate on them, and make good progress
  • Work is sustained with a sense of commitment and enjoyment
  • Pupils are sufficiently confident and alert to raise interesting and relevant questions and to persevere with their work when answers are not readily available
  • They are provided with the skills to evaluate their own work and encouraged to do so in every lesson

Birches First Teaching Timeline

Lesson starter – Maths warm-ups and an English punctuation, grammar or spelling starter are good practice for all Maths and English lessons.


Introduce learning objective and success criteria

AFL strategies used throughout

(possible exit point for key groups, independent or work with TA support)

Direct teaching of new learning and modelling (TA active participation with pupils)
Interactive strategies (think/rehearse/reflect)
Set out expectations for end of the session

Main Activity

Children reflect on previous learning and marking

AFL strategies used throughout

At least 30 minutes focused activity children are independent. (The teacher continues to teach through focused groups)
Mini plenary used within independent learning time to: make connections/address misconceptions & refine/rehearse


Address success criteria and learning within groups – who has achieved?

AFL strategies used throughout

Demonstrate depth when   appropriate using application questions
Teacher evaluation next step – where do we go from here?


Our curriculum is broad and balanced focusing on depth of learning and mastery of content. This enables teachers to remain with subject/topic for longer ensuring pupils have mastered the content before accelerating into new material. We use a range of resources to support our curriculum:

  • The new Primary National Curriculum;
  • The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework;
  • The Staffordshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education;

Long Term Planning

  • Our ‘Curriculum Maps’ plot the content covered from Early Years to Year 4 for each individual year group and each curriculum area;
  • This is broken down carefully and opportunities to promote mastery are available throughout.
  • It enables us to ensure balance and progression across the school and to identify cross curricular links and opportunities for educational visits.

Medium Term Planning

  • For English and Mathematics we use the planning provided by the National Curriculum for each subject, although we adapt elements in order to meet the needs of our own pupils
  • For mathematics we use the national curriculum and Entrust Maths Unit Plans as a resource

Medium and long term planning should take into account the need for continuity and progression of learning. What children have already learned and what they need to learn next is crucially important at transfer between classes, key stages and schools. At these times opportunities for teachers to liaise and share information will be made available.


Assessment is not a singular activity; it is both about the measurement of performance at a given point in time and the on-going process of Assessment for Learning (AFL). These assessments are against National Curriculum objectives to ascertain whether children are working at age related expectation. Each term we have an assessment week which enables teachers to use assessments and a wide range of evidence to draw upon to develop a comprehensive picture of where the child is currently working in relation to age related expectations. We track all pupil performance and in particular identify those pupils at risk of underachievement. Additionally we also ensure that those children who have accelerated capacity or are identified as more able have increased opportunity to succeed.

Core Subjects

English and Mathematics are assessed through key objectives from the National Curriculum and teachers use standardised summative tests to support their decisions. For further information see individual subject policies.

Record Keeping

Teachers use records to review pupil’s termly progress, set appropriate targets for the future and to form the basis of reports to parents both verbally and written.

Records kept include:

  • Teachers plans
  • Pupil’s work
  • Marking in books
  • Assessment results
  • Learning Ladders and NC objective records for English and Maths
  • PPM data forms
  • Pupil targets

Pupil Progress Meetings

Everyterm teachers meet with the Headteacher to consider each pupil’s individual progress. PPM forms are completed which clearly show pupil’s progress through the years and numerical targets. Pupil’s emotional, social and educational progress is discussed; however the PPM forms concentrate on progress in reading, writing and maths. If a pupil becomes a concern or is making slow progress they are carefully monitored and a diagnostic test may be used to develop a more in-depth picture. If required a pupil may be involved in an intervention group to accelerate their progress.

We use a bespoke SIMs tracker to gauge whether children are working above or below age related expectations. Our system calculates progress based on age-related expectation points over time, prior expectations and the depth of a child’s learning to show simply and easily who is making the right amount of progress through the depth-orientated National Curriculum.

Equal Opportunities, Safeguarding

Through all subjects we ensure that the school meets the needs of all, taking account of gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, language, sexual orientation, age, ability, disability and social circumstances. It is important that in this school we meet the diverse needs of pupils to ensure inclusion for all and that all pupils are prepared for full participation in a multi-ethnic society.

Every effort is made to ensure that activities are equally interesting to both boys and girls. Children with special needs are given additional support. This may be through extra adult help or by devising appropriate activities to meet their needs whilst ensuring progression. High achievers are given extension activities as appropriate to develop deeper knowledge and understanding.

At Birches First School we recognise the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and as such we ensure that all staff endeavour to follow our Preventing Extremism Policy.

Staff are aware of the regulations set out in the SEN and Disability Act 2001 and the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, and take all reasonable steps to ensure that no member of the school community is treated less favourably because of disability.

We are a ‘Dyslexia Friendly School’ and through appropriate training and resources we expect to be able to meet the needs of dyslexic pupils through routine classroom differentiation and appropriate intervention strategies.

Current version: September 2017               Review date: September 2019

Please click here to view our Homework Policy.