Our Approach to Teaching and Learning

Principles of the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Cycle  

The Cycle:

In our lessons:

  • The context of the learning within our curriculum is made clear

  • We begin every lesson with a retrieval activity (Common model, 5-10 questions)

  • We set clear learning objectives (LOs)

  • We interleave and build in retrieval skills throughout our lessons

  • We actively teach language skills and promote the acquisition of a rich vocabulary

  • High quality teacher explanation, modelling and questioning supports the development of expert knowledge

  • We use formative and summative assessment strategies to further develop understanding and to reduce forgetting

  • We teach social behaviours, and refer to aspiration, respect and engaging in learning

Setting the context

  • The learning aims are shared and explicitly linked to previous and future learning

  • Expert language is introduced

  • A logical sequence to the lesson is evident

  • TSAS ARE expectations are followed at all times or re-taught when not automatic

Teacher presentation (I do)

  • The material is well presented, and is well chosen to match the learning objectives

  • Explanations of knowledge, skill and/or the task are well detailed through teacher modelling

  • Attention is called to the main ideas, with these being repeated and emphasized

  • Questioning and class discussion is used to develop knowledge and gauge understanding

  • Misconceptions are identified and explicit, detailed and constructive feedback is provided

  • Teaching is adapted in response to identified areas of misunderstanding

Learning activities (Moving from We do to You do)

  • The chosen learning tasks, including extended writing tasks, are effective in meeting the stated lesson aims and curriculum content

  • Learning tasks are active in nature (they involve making decisions- learners think about and apply their learning)

  • Teacher explanation and modelling of the task or activity is fully understood by the learners, or is repeated as appropriate

  • Misconceptions are identified and explicit, detailed and constructive feedback is provided

  • Teaching is adapted in response to identified areas of misunderstanding

  • If paired or group work is used then it is well structured, with learners given explicit guidance on how to complete the task

Curriculum Overview

As a research informed school, we do not leave anything to chance.  All of our teachers take part in “Continued Professional Development” (CPD) regardless of what stage their career is, and part of that CPD is to learn how to learn! By engaging in school programmes of CPD our teachers know how people learn best by following methods that have been researched and tested by leading Cognitive scientists and researchers.

In addition to this, it’s important that our students learn how to learn, and know what works for them!  There are various methods that we will teach them to use and talk about in class, during form time in the pastoral curriculum and in parent evening events like the ‘Year 7 working together evening’.

Some of these methods that your child will learn about are:

Dual coding – this is combining words and visuals such as pictures, diagrams, graphic organizers, and so on. The idea is to provide two different representations of the information, both visual and verbal, to help students understand the information better.  Students can use this in the learning and Key knowledge learning at home to help them remember work.  More information about this can be found here Dual Coding

Elaboration – The concept of elaboration among cognitive psychologists is broad and can mean a lot of different things, but in educational practice, it is often used as elaborative interrogation (asking how and why questions) and self-explanation, where a student will explain something to themselves.  More information about this can be found  here – Elaboration

Retrieval – It’s easy to remember what you know isn’t it?  If we “retrieve” information frequently, it sticks.  Think of your childhood home telephone number, you will always remember that, because it’s part of your neural pathways now.  In lessons retrieval is often a quizzing activity, students can do this easily at home and will be retrieving information in lessons to make sure that they know more! To find out more about this – Retrieval Practice

In lessons, we will use lots of these approaches to help students learn effectively.  We are always learning more about this ourselves and will ensure that our lessons are planned using the most current research to deploy the most effective methods of  teaching and learning.


The word assessment comes from the Latin root ‘assidere’ meaning ‘to sit beside’ and that is what we are striving for in our assessment and through our teaching, learning and assessment cycle.

The modelling shows students what a ‘good one looks like’ the scaffold has given students the steps to success.  Feedback is the catalyst for improvement.

Assessed work can be self-assessed or peer assessed.  Sometimes the teacher will give feedback through whole class feedback.  There will also be frequent knowledge tests to ensure that the students know the core information and revisit that knowledge so that they don’t forget.

For more information about assessment at Thorpe St Andrew School – See the assessment procedure document.

Assessment Procedure