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Teaching and Learning

To fulfil the aims of the REACH ethos, ensuring high quality Teaching and Learning is essential.

Learning here refers to the acquisition of understanding, skills and knowledge by students. This is the central activity of the school.

Teaching here refers to any action by teachers which enables student learning to happen (i.e. planning, implementation of learning activities, setting of appropriate homework, marking, assessment and feedback). This is the main role for teaching staff at the school.

Core Principles and Approaches

We believe that learning is most effective when guided by these principles:

  • Students are in the right emotional and physical state to learn;
  • Students are exposed to a range of learning activities;
  • Students are engaged in and committed to what they do, developing independence and responsibility for their own learning;
  • There is structure to the learning process and the curriculum has been designed to maximise retention of knowledge;
  • Students are challenged to work at a level just in advance of their current understanding.

We believe that teaching is most effective when guided by these approaches:

  • Schemes of work are followed for all courses, so that individual lessons are planned and adapted by different teachers as part of the overall departmental scheme;
  • The structure of learning is shared with students.  This could include differentiated objectives for individual lessons and groups of lessons, as well as ensuring students have a grasp of the bigger picture, (for example through distribution of examination syllabi). Learning objectives are expressed in terms of outcomes rather than tasks;
  • Staff are encouraged to consider the A-E elements of learning when planning individual lessons to ensure effective sequencing of activities, active engagement, differentiation and challenge and assessment for learning; 
  • Staff are encouraged to consider Rosenshine's Principles of Instruction when designing their curriculum and planning sequences of lessons.
  • Assessment, including homework is planned to fulfil the overall objectives for a section of learning;
  • Lessons include a variety of activities (i.e. Kagan structures, reflection time, pair/independent work) and questioning is a prominent activity with both open and closed questions to stretch and challenge;
  • Teachers plan lessons to cater for students’ individual needs identified in the SIMs PAL sheets. Consideration will be given for ensuring students are suitably challenged and, where necessary, supported to ensure progress is made;
  • Most students will be expected to catch up work from missed lessons independently. However, teachers will be aware that particular students will need closer support and monitoring to fill gaps in their learning.  Staff will liaise with the pastoral support team when necessary to co-ordinate any intervention;
  • Praise and positive feedback are crucial in developing self-belief and motivation.  Teachers will use our school reward policy to develop a positive learning environment and indicate the learning strengths of students;
  • Teachers know students as individuals and refer to students using names.  Mutual respect is a goal for all relationships and humiliation of individuals has no place in the school.  Teachers will follow the school behaviour policy when it becomes necessary to apply sanctions for poor behaviour. 

These are the core approaches to teaching and learning at the school. Most classroom practice should follow these guidelines. However, they should not necessarily always be followed slavishly when circumstances suggest a different approach is preferable.