At Thorpedene Primary School the concept of lifelong learning is central to all that happens. It is believed that both adults and children learn new things every day. Learning should be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for everyone; in short it should be fun. It is through teaching that children are equipped with the skills, knowledge and understanding to be able to make informed choices about important things in their lives. Appropriate learning and teaching experiences will help children to lead happy and rewarding lives; contribute positively to the community; be economically active in adult life; stay safe and be healthy.
The Vision & Mission of the School
The implementation of this policy is central to the school’s commitment to making the vision and mission of the school a reality for each child, adult and family
The Vision: ‘Achieving, Caring and Respecting with Confidence’
The Mission: ‘Our purpose is the creation of a happy, safe and secure community in which learning in all its aspects is encouraged. In this caring atmosphere achievement will be recognised and celebrated by all, as each adult and child develops to their full potential, academically, spiritually, morally, physically, aesthetically and culturally.’
The Aims of the School
This policy informs all involved in the school community of their roles, responsibilities and rights to ensure the aims of the school are delivered to each and every child, their parents/carers and the staff.
- To ensure that equality of opportunity exists for all in the school community
- The development of each child emotionally so that everyone is valued and respected within the school and wider community
- The encouragement of all to develop a sense of responsibility and care for each other
- The fostering of the curiosity of the natural world and the need to care for it
- To provide a purposeful, well balanced curriculum within which all children acquire skills relevant to their needs
- The provision of a rich and interesting environment that stimulates learning
- To enable all members of the school community to develop healthy and safe lifestyles
- The encouragement of effective partnerships within the school and wider community
At Thorpedene Primary School it is recognised that people learn in different ways. A rich and varied learning environment is provided so that all children can develop their skills and abilities to their full potential.
Through effective teaching the school aims to:
- enable children to become confident, resourceful, enquiring and independent learners
- foster children’s self-esteem, and help them to build positive relationships with other people
- develop children’s self-respect, encourage them to understand the ideas, attitudes and values of others, and teach them to respect other people’s feelings
- show respect for a diverse range of 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 it
- help children grow into reliable, independent and positive citizens
During teaching we seek to motivate all children, build on their skills, knowledge and understanding of the curriculum, in order that they reach the highest level of personal achievement. An integrated school curriculum plan facilitates teaching by setting out the aims, objectives and values of the school as well as details of what is to be taught to each year group.
Teachers make ongoing assessments of each child’s progress and they use this information when planning the next steps for learning. It enables them to take into account the abilities of all the children. Their prime focus is to develop further the knowledge and skills of all the children by ensuring that all tasks set are appropriate to each child’s level of ability. Work that is planned for children with special educational needs is informed by information and targets contained in their Individual Support Plan. Conversely when planning for children who have been identified as ‘able’ or ‘more able’ within an aspect of a given subject, staff follow the guidance given in the school’s ‘Policy for the Able and More Able’.
Each and every child is valued as a unique individual and all staff are familiar with the relevant legislation regarding race, gender and disability. In short we are a fully inclusive school committed to making the first of our aims a reality and not empty rhetoric.
Personal academic targets for the children are set in the first part of the autumn term each year and shared with parents/carers in the autumn and mid-year parent teacher meetings. Progress of each child is reviewed formally each term and those identified as under-achieving are identified and a programme of support is put in place to get them back on track. Staff informally review children’s progress towards their targets on a daily basis.
Learning is planned with clear learning objectives. These objectives are taken from the National Curriculum, the locally agreed syllabus for Religious Education and/or Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum requirements. Planning contains information about the objectives, tasks, resources and assessment that will take place during an episode of learning. Learning is continually evaluated so that staff can maximise the learning opportunities for each and every child.
In order to make the vision and core values of our school, ‘Achieving, Caring and Respecting with Confidence’, a reality for all within the school community, children are treated with respect, care and kindness by the staff. It is recognised that they are all individuals with different needs that are given an equal opportunity to take part in learning. All staff follow the school’s code of conduct with regard to discipline and behaviour. The focus of discipline within the school are the six ‘golden rules’ and the four core values that are emphasised via assemblies and work in class in the autumn term, and constantly reinforced throughout the year.
Equally, it is the expectation that staff are treated with care and respect by each other, by the children and by the parents/carers. The school has a variety of policies and procedures to ensure this expectation is made clear and communicated to all in the school community.
Research is clear that people learn in many different ways and respond best to different types of input (visual, auditory and kinaesthetic). Therefore teaching is delivered in different ways to ensure that the needs of all our learners are addressed, taking into account the different forms of intelligence (eg mathematical/logical, visual/spatial, interpersonal, musical, etc.) when planning for learning.
Thorpedene is proud of its ethos that enables children to feel safe and feel that they belong to the school community. This is done by ensuring that each and every child is challenged and supported within appropriate expectations in order to achieve their best and make progress. The Pupil Voice and Super 6 Sports Council are a vehicles by which the children regularly feedback to staff about their perceptions of the learning they experience. They express this by talking about what they have enjoyed and where they feel developments could be made to further improve the school’s effectiveness in meeting the needs of all groups of children.
All learning will be structured to maximise learning opportunities and lessons will be planned in accordance with the following principles:
- the teaching should build on previous learning
- it should give pupils the ‘big picture’ of the lesson, (W.A.L.T. and progress measures)
- the teacher should explain the learning objectives, and why the lesson is important
- the lesson should be presented in a range of styles
- it should allow opportunities for the pupils to build up their own understanding through various activities
- it should allow opportunities for the children to review what has been learnt
- it should have built-in opportunities for feedback to the children, celebrating success and reviewing learning strategies
- the teaching should indicate what the next step in the learning will be
We offer opportunities for children to learn in different ways. These include:
- investigation and problem-solving
- research and discovery
- group work
- paired work
- independent work
- whole-class work
- asking and answering questions
- use of ICT
- fieldwork, outdoor learning and visits to places of educational interest
- creative activities including ‘Wow’ days
- watching television and responding to musical or tape-recorded material
- debates, role-play and oral presentations
- designing and making things
- participation in athletic or physical activity
Children are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning by being involved in reviewing the ways in which they have learned, what helps them to learn, what is difficult for them to learn and the next steps in their learning.
We know that children learn best when:
- they are helped to link past knowledge and skills with new tasks
- they understand ‘new’ learning is cumulative (i.e. built on learning that is now secure – with opportunities to re-visit, practice and rehearse)
- they have opportunities to work practically before reflecting and generalising
- they are helped to find appropriate questions and have their contributions valued
- they are given opportunities for appropriate choice and responsibility
- they understand why they are involved in a certain activity
- they feel positive about themselves as learners
- the learning style that ‘works for them’ is understood by their teacher
- they feel other people care about their progress
- they are involved in assessment
- they have clear targets and positive reward systems
- they talk reflectively about their work
- they feel safe, secure and physically comfortable
- they have developed respect for themselves and others
- they can co-operate with others
- they have developed appropriate organisational skills
All tasks and activities that children perform are safe and the school follows local and national guidelines with regard to health and safety. Thorpedene Primary School has a large body of teaching assistants who support teachers effectively, helping each and every child make progress in their learning. They work under the guidance of a qualified teacher with individuals, small groups and large groups of children in the delivery of learning, monitoring progress and implementing programmes of support.
Good teaching and learning relies on effective planning.
Lessons are planned with clear learning intentions and learning outcomes. These are taken from the National Curriculum. Lessons are evaluated so that they can be modified and improved for future teaching and learning.
In order to ensure that plans are well written with equality of opportunity for all pupils in one cohort, teachers use Planning, Preparation and Assessment (PPA) time, to plan lessons together in Year Groups.
The school uses three stages of planning:
- Long term plans have been developed by staff over a period of time and are constantly revised. They outline the broad aspects/skills of each curriculum area for each year group.
- Medium term plans outline the focus for teaching across the half term, reflect year group priorities and are adapted to suit the needs of the children.
- Short term (weekly) plans are written by year group teachers.
Core subjects are planned using an agreed set of criteria. These weekly plans must include:
- Learning Objectives
- Differentiation and focus groups
- Use of adults
- Assessment opportunities
Plans may be annotated and evaluated across a year group and then used to inform future planning.
The school places a strong emphasis on the learning environment and the use of displays is a major component in ensuring the physical environment is lively, stimulating and attractive.
Displays can have a variety of foci including:
- celebrating the efforts of individual children
- aiding learning and recall required for basic skills particularly in reading, writing, spelling and mathematics
- creating a stimulus for learning for a given topic, subject or theme
- exhibiting good work with annotation so pupils’ can see what they should be aiming for
- facilitating and prompting children’s independent learning
Just as children are provided with opportunities to reflect upon their learning, staff reflect upon their own strengths and areas of development. They can then plan their professional development, during interviews with the Headteacher and other senior staff. The school is committed to supporting staff so that they can continually improve their practice in meeting the needs of the children.
Learning and teaching takes place in an ethos of care and respect for all.
The Role of Governors
The governors determine, support, monitor and review the school’s approach to 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 used optimally to support teaching and learning
- check teaching methods in the light of health and safety regulations
- seek to ensure that staff development and performance management promote good quality teaching
- monitor the effectiveness of the school’s teaching and learning approaches through the school’s self-review processes. This includes reports from subject leaders, the head teacher’s reports to governors and a review of the in-service training sessions attended by staff.
The Role of Parents and Carers
Parents and carers have a fundamental role to play in helping children to learn. The school informs parents and carers about what and how their children are learning by:
- holding parents’ meetings to explain our school strategies for literacy, numeracy and health education;
- issuing at October and mid-year parent/teacher meetings, assessment summaries for the children that indicate the progress made, current attainment, and the next steps in learning so that parents can support their child at home.
- sending parents and carers reports, in which we explain the progress made by each child, and indicate how the child can improve further;
- explaining to parents and carers how they can support their children with homework and suggesting, for example, regular shared reading with very young children and support for older children with their projects and investigative work.
Parents and carers have the responsibilities that are clearly outlined in the Home School Agreement that will enable the school and family to work in partnership to ensure that each child develops their potential.