Learning

Teaching and Learning:

Our aim is to provide the best possible opportunities for student achievement, progress and learning. We focus all of our teaching and learning professional development work on the elements of our practice which research shows make the most difference. This enables students to know and understand the curriculum and access the powerful knowledge within it. 

These elements are in our planning and delivery and every teacher at Cherwell has a responsibility to:

  • Know the curriculum deeply 
  • Plan well-constructed lessons, with clear explanations, and deliver it with conviction 
  • Ensure effective assessment and feedback so that students know and remember more. 
  • Create an effective working environment 
  • Set HW which enables students to think deeply about the subject; to read, learn, memorise, revise or practice the knowledge and skills that they are taught in school.

Teachers at Cherwell use their subject knowledge and enthusiasm for their specialism to enthuse and motivate students. Focussed and precisely taught lessons ensure they learn powerful knowledge which enables them to be successful in their next steps and in later life. 

More information about our core principles for teaching and learning can be found here


Teaching and learning Priorities 2021- 22

We focus all of our CPD and training with vulnerable students as the starting point, recognising that what works for those who find learning the most difficult also works for all students. Quality first teaching will continue to remain at the heart of what we do as a school. At The Cherwell School all of our curriculum and teaching work is driven by the Curriculum, Assessment and Teaching policy. 

We also recognise the different nature of subject disciplines and therefore subject leaders shape their own, more refined, principles to direct teaching within individual subject areas.  One of our main priorities for 2021-22 has been to fully embed “Core Principles” of teaching and ensure high levels of consistency within subject teams in areas of agreed alignment.

High value and time efficient tasks are an essential way for students to think deeply about the knowledge they have been taught. A key focus for training and collaborative planning this year is to continue to develop high value and time efficient tasks with a particular focus on KS3 and encouraging deep thinking. This includes the development of ‘highly intentional processes’ (HIPS) for important and high frequency tasks.

As part of the wider school reading strategy all subjects are embedding subject specific approaches to reading and the teaching of subject specific terminology. The teaching of reading and language has a subject specific dimension and is critical across all subject areas. 


Homework

The purpose of homework is for students to think deeply about the subject - read, learn, memorise, revise or practice the knowledge and skills that they are taught in school. Suitable homework activities include reading articles to consolidate class learning, creating revision cards or notes, practising a taught skill or employing strategies to commit learning to memory. Google Classroom  is used as an effective tool for delivering homeworks and student planners further support organisation of this.

Open-ended research homework, such as ‘find out about’ or ‘find five facts’ should be avoided in most cases, particularly at KS3. Instead we identify core knowledge and provide this through the curriculum and resourcing, with students taught to learn and retain it at home. Open-ended research, whilst providing a surface sense of independence, frequently results in low quality work and little genuine understanding or retention, and is inefficient in promoting learning. Tasks such as posters or model-making  will only be set as compulsory homework if they directly represent the skill or knowledge being learnt. This is because they tend to result in students spending lots of time thinking about the act of creating the homework, such as their presentation, colours or pictures, and are often inefficient as a tool to promote deep thought about and retention of the core material. 

Knowing and remembering more

The principle that students should leave school knowing and remembering more is very closely aligned with our school values of opportunity, responsibility and excellence

Opportunity
Teachers at the school take great care to provide opportunities to learn powerful knowledge through the curriculum and in lessons. They create accessible lessons with significant levels of challenge. They model to students how to achieve excellence and explain difficult concepts with skill and care.

Responsibility 
In order to get the most from the school teachers will support students to take responsibility for their own learning. We must ensure that students can engage deeply with classroom tasks, commit to revision and HW to memorise content, practise for fluency, engage in retrieval activities and prepare effectively for assessments.

Excellence 
As a school we want every student to know how they can achieve excellence in their learning. We want every student to know deeply the powerful knowledge they are taught in the curriculum so they can achieve in school and have the tools to succeed in later life.

To see the recent tutorials for key stage three students please see the links below:

How we learn - Schema Theory 

How we learn - Knowing and remembering more

How we learn - Checking for understanding

Similar principles are applied at key stage four and five when considering how students will revise. Examples of recent tutorials can be found here and here

Through the running of parent revision evenings we seek to support wider understanding of the key principles behind our approaches to knowing and remembering more. These can be found here on the revision page of our website

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