Learning and Teaching Policy September 2013 1
VICTORIA COLLEGE BELFAST (incorporating Richmond Lodge School)
POLICY FOR LEARNING AND TEACHING
Rationale Victoria College aims to provide a balanced curriculum which promotes the full development of each pupil, preparing her for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.
Definition Effective learning and teaching are of paramount importance in the successful delivery of the aims below. Learning and teaching are at the heart of the work of the College; the quality of teaching has a strong bearing on the effectiveness of learning.
Aims and Objectives 1. Ensure that pupils understand what is expected of them. 2. Promote good classroom practice which is consistent across school. 3. Ensure high expectations and raised pupil performance. 4. Promote effective learning for both pupils and staff. 5. Develop good relationships, high motivation and responsive pupils. 6. Develop inquiring minds and responsible, independent learning. 7. Promote self-confidence and a sense of achievement. 8. Provide opportunities for the development of key and transferable
skills. 9. Ensure that pupil progress is regularly monitored, recorded and acted
upon. 10. Ensure that assessment arrangements are appropriate and
meaningful. 11. An appropriate staff-pupil ratio is maintained.
Procedure 1. Planning - vision and aims are clearly set out in the development plan. 2. Challenging yet realistic targets are set for learning and teaching. 3. Suitably qualified and experienced teachers meet statutory obligations
and curricular objectives. 4. Teachers are deployed to make best use of their expertise. 5. Staff development is planned to ensure development of teaching
skills. 6. Adequate and appropriate resources are planned. 7. Accommodation is appropriate and conducive to effective learning and
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8. A whole school policy on assessment is agreed. 9. Quality of learning is carefully monitored, and outcomes serve as a
basis for further action and evaluation. 10. Assessment is used to enable teachers to choose appropriate
teaching methods, and to consolidate and develop learning. 11. Homework is an integral and co-ordinated element in assessment
policy and practice. 12. Parents are provided with regular, detailed and comprehensive
information on pupil progress and achievement. Opportunities for regular discussion with teachers are provided.
13. The needs of all pupils are identified and met through effective curricular programmes and support.
14. Effective curricular and pastoral links are established to underpin successful learning.
15. Links are fostered with business and industry to enhance pupil learning.
16. Effective monitoring and evaluation of learning and teaching are carried out by individual teachers, heads of subject and senior management.
17. Data is used effectively to set targets and monitor performance.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Review The policy will be reviewed at least once every three years by the Board of Governors. The policy will be kept under review by senior members of staff who will keep Governors informed of any difficulties if they arise.
Conclusion Appropriate learning and teaching is essential within a school environment. It is crucial that all members of the school community understand what this is and why it is needed and acknowledge that learning is a shared responsibility.
Appendix 1 Roles and Responsibilities
Appendix 2 Independent Learning Strategy
Appendix 3 Assessment for Learning
Appendix 4 Assessment of Learning
Appendix 5 Lesson Planning
Appendix 6 Characteristics of a Successful Lesson
Appendix 7 Victoria College Belfast Lesson Plan
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Appendix 1 Roles and Responsibilities
The Role of Parents/Guardians: Parents have a fundamental role to play in helping pupils to learn. The College can informs parents about what and how pupils are learning by:
holding parents subject evenings holding parents information evenings issuing reports three times a year contacting parents when issues arise.
Parents/guardians have a responsibility to support their daughter and the College in implementing College policies. Parents have a responsibility to:
ensuring that their daughter has the best attendance record possible by doing their best to keep their daughter healthy and fit to attend the College
ensuring that their daughter is equipped for lessons with the correct uniform and equipment
informing the College if there are matters outside or inside school which are likely to affect a pupils performance or behaviour
promote a positive attitude towards the College and learning in general.
The Role of Governors: The Colleges Governors determine, support, monitor and review the Colleges policies on learning and teaching. They are responsible for:
the use of appropriate teaching strategies by allocating resources effectively
the best use of College buildings and premises to support successful learning and teaching
monitoring teaching strategies in the light of health and safety regulations monitoring how effective teaching and learning strategies are in terms of
raising student attainment ensuring that staff development and performance management policies
promote good quality teaching monitoring the effectiveness of College learning and teaching policies
through the school self-evaluation processes.
The Role of the Senior Leadership Team: The Senior Leadership Team sets priorities and targets for improvement at whole school level based on evidence gained from monitoring procedures. They track progress made on the School Development Plan. Monitoring and evaluation principally takes place through department reviews and classroom observations. This is achieved by:
providing overall assessments of achievement, standards and cross-curricular aspects based on examination results, teacher assessment, value-added data, lesson observation and other sources
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gathering a range of data on pupils personal development, including behaviour and attendance, progress and achievement in curricular and extra-curricular activities and assess the provision against the quality of this development
analysing hard evidence on the quality of provision (teaching, resources, guidance) linked to the quality of learning and student outcomes
assessing the leadership and management of the College through the impact on pupils and staff
ensuring that the range of evidence is strong ensuring consistency across assessments providing systems and processes that support middle leaders and
teachers in gathering and analysing evidence, setting targets and prioritising improvements
bringing together all the above evaluations to monitor the overall effectiveness of the provision, determine the steps needed to improve and build capacity for further improvement.
The Role of Heads of Department: Heads of Department have an essential role in the monitoring and evaluation of learning and teaching within their curriculum area. They have three key responsibilities. 1. To assess standards and raise achievement by:
analysing and interpreting data on pupils attainment in the subject reviewing with teachers their assessments of progress for classes, identified
groups and individuals sampling pupils work discussing work, progress and attitudes with samples of pupils constructing and monitoring strategies to gather the views of other
stakeholders facilitating learning walks for every key stage conducting book scoops of each key stage.
2. To evaluate learning and teaching by:
evaluating and reviewing schemes of work to ensure that they focus on consistent and effective learning and teaching
working with other middle leaders to support good, consistent teaching observing teaching and providing feedback to colleagues reviewing teachers planning providing evidence of subject contributions to pupils personal development.
3. To lead sustainable improvement by:
leading discussion about priorities agreeing targets for raising attainment within the context of whole-school
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leading improvement in teaching leading the review, construction and resourcing of the curriculum liaising with other middle leaders and teachers to share and collaborate in
approaches that will support success in their own area for pupils liaising with and keep informed the Senior Leadership Team identifying and providing for staff training and development needs directing the work of the Learning Mentor
The Role of Classroom Teachers: Classroom teachers are responsible for the progress of pupils in their classes and for self-evaluating their own professional development. This is achieved by:
self-evaluating of subject knowledge and understanding of educational initiatives
self-evaluating the quality and effectiveness of their own teaching and their classroom management
monitoring pupil progress to ensure they achieve well against prior achievement and similar groups nationally
self-evaluating their contribution to the policies and aspirations of the College.
Classroom teachers should also: be aware of the specific learning needs of their pupils e.g. literacy, dyslexia,
high learning potential consult with SENCO about the needs of individual pupils when appropriate work with classroom assistants and other adults to ensure pupils are best
supported in their learning use lndividual Learning Plans and Personalised Learning Plans as working
documents in their planning to differentiate work for individual pupils.
The Role of Form Tutors: Form tutors are responsible for contributing to, and monitoring the progression and well-being of individual pupils in their form group and for providing support and advice to those pupils, both socially and academically. This is achieved by:
monitoring academic progress and attitudes of individual pupils through academic tracking/progress checks and Academic Review days
encouraging and developing the ability of pupils to evaluate and take responsibility for their own learning;
monitoring of behaviour, homework, use of planners, rewards and sanctions, uniform and attendance.
Appendix 2 Independent Learning Strategy
Rationale The aims of Victoria College state our desire to help each individual achieve her full potential in personal, social and academic life. We believe that independent learning has an important part to play in this process. It will contribute to the
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development of personal qualities such as self-discipline, self-motivation and perseverance. Meaningful homework is an important element of independent study which is a vital skill for lifelong learning. Through independent learning a pupil will learn to identify her personal strengths and weaknesses and take an increased responsibility for her own learning process; and her individual learning styles. The degree of commitment shown to independent learning will be reflected in examination performance. Independent learning involves a variety of tasks which may include:
preparation; reading; research/Investigation; learning; self-assessment; review.
The time spent will be reflected in the quality of learning..
Pupil Responsibility All pupils should expect to do a variety of independent learning activities each week. The average amount of time required each week may range from 2 to 4 hours at Key Stage 3 with this commitment increasing at Key Stage 4 and in Sixth Form. Each pupil has a student planner in which all work to be completed outside class should be recorded. This should include reading and learning activities as well as written ones, as it is equally important that they are completed satisfactorily. The relevant member of staff is asked to sign the planner each week. Junior School form teachers check the planners regularly. At Key Stage 4 pupils are given more responsibility to ensure they organize their independent study appropriately.
Parents are expected to provide suitable study facilities at home. Computer access is desirable but not essential and parents should ensure that their daughters use computers appropriately. Pupils receive guidelines on independent study and revision skills and parents are asked to show their interest in a practical way by:
helping with the planning of each week's work
checking that the work is properly presented and completed
seeing that time spent on homework is recorded
signing the diary each week
giving their daughter a quiet, well-lit, well ventilated place to work
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providing valuable stress-reduction support by careful and frequent monitoring of work, ensuring that all tasks are being advanced at a satisfactory rate
helping to balance school and other commitments. In Sixth Form pupils are expected to use supervised study periods and library facilities effectively.
Departmental Responsibility Each department has an appendix to their scheme of work with a strategy for promoting independent study. At Victoria College we value the development of good study habits. The organisation and completion of homework to a high standard helps to establish a pattern for future private study. To enable pupils to make the best use of private study either in school or at home, study skills programmes appropriate to the age group are incorporated in the Personal and Social Education Programme of all pupils. Victoria College offers a wide range of study facilities. Pupils are trained in the proper use of these facilities including the well equipped Library and Resource Centre on the Cranmore Campus. Here pupils may remain in school until 4.30 pm each day to undertake homework and private study under the supervision of the Librarian. The College also offers learning support and teacher mentoring programmes in Years 11 and 12 to pupils with reduced numbers of GCSEs. The programme is designed to develop independent learning skills in order for pupils to realise their full potential and to maximize performance.
Appendix 3 Assessment for learning
Rationale Learning and Teaching at Victoria College is based on the principles set out in this Appendix, with the aim of ensuring that pupils are actively involved in their learning. Therefore, teachers will plan and deliver lessons around the key elements of AfL:
Objective led lessons share learning intentions with pupils in the form of intended learning outcomes, in a language that pupils can understand use these intended learning outcomes as the basis for questioning during
the lesson evaluate feedback from pupils in relation to achievement of the intended
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learning outcomes to inform the next stages of planning use plenaries to show learners what they have learnt and what the next
steps will be.
Oral and Written feedback value oral as well as written feedback ensure feedback is clear, positive and constructive identify what the pupil has done well, what needs to be done to improve
and how to do it ensure that the pupils know their target and understand what they need to
do to achieve it.
Peer and Self-assessment identify within the scheme of work suitable places where peer and self assessment will be used formally give pupils clear opportunities to talk about what they have learned and
what they found difficult, using the intended learning outcomes as a focus provide opportunities for pupils to discuss together how to improve ask pupils to explain how they arrived at their answer provide reflection time for pupils involve pupils in identifying the next steps in their learning.
Questioning and Dialogue use questioning techniques that promote higher order thinking skills provide a secure environment where pupils feel confident enough to try
out an answer identify small steps to enable pupils to see their progress, thus building
confidence and self-esteem encourage pupils to explain their thinking and reasoning.
Appendix 4 Assessment of Learning
Rationale Summative assessment involves making judgements about the overall learning that has taken place and it is best when it is an integral part of the learning process. Schemes of work will identify the opportunities for summative assessment. Assessment of learning will also take account of the following key aspects:
Target setting share with pupils their grades/levels and set realistic targets give pupils regular feedback on where they are with their targets use pupil friendly language when setting levels and targets.
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Providing exemplification give pupils clear success criteria then relate them to the intended learning
outcomes. use comment marking to identify for students what they need to do to
improve have examples of work at each level/grade to clarify the criteria and show pupils what they need to do ensure there are clear expectations about the presentation of work provide displays of pupils work, which shows the various stages of development through to the finished product.
Formative use of summative assessment use prior achievement to plan for the different needs of pupils select appropriate summative tasks to provide quality assessment
information. provide time for pupils to reflect upon what they have learned and
understood and to identify where they still have difficulties adjust planning and evaluate effectiveness of tasks as a result of
Recording summative assessments The summative assessment procedures for recording levels/grades on SIMS should be followed.
Marking The marking of pupils work is essential in motivating them and helping them to make progress. A variety of marking methods will be used to do this including self and peer marking. All teachers will mark work regularly with constructive comments that identify the strengths and weaknesses and tell the pupils what they need to do to improve their work and reach their targets. Pupils preparing for examinations will require more regular feedback giving more detailed guidance on how to improve their work.
Appendix 5 Lesson Planning
Rationale Teachers make a big difference to the quality of learning. Therefore they must continually reflect on teaching and the impact it has on pupils learning and progress. All teachers must reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and plan their professional development needs accordingly.
Schemes of Work will outline the learning intentions and outcomes for units of work and individual teachers will plan their lessons from the scheme of work. The lesson plan will translate the learning intentions into intended learning outcomes
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that take account of the differing needs of the students in their classes. Learning intentions and outcomes should refer to knowledge, skills and understanding. The following appendices will support planning and should be used alongside other planning tools:
the Characteristics of a Successful Lesson the Victoria College Lesson Plan.
Appendix 6 Characteristics of a Successful Lesson
Rationale Teachers at Victoria College aim to deliver successful lessons, every time. Features that are evident in a successful lesson include:
2. A purposeful start the lesson begins promptly the teacher greets pupils at the door (if appropriate) a bell task activity is ready for pupils to engage with, whilst waiting for
other pupils to arrive use of a seating plan where appropriate
3. Shared learning intentions the expected learning is broken down into the 3 focus areas of
knowledge, understanding and skills the learning intentions are shared in language the pupils understand the intentions are expressed as differentiated intended learning outcomes
that make the expected learning clear for pupils of different abilities using the framework: By the end of this lesson: all must.. most should..some could.. If possible, the intended learning outcomes are linked to levels/grades.
4. Engaging and appropriate learning activities the teacher has outstanding subject knowledge and communicates an
enthusiasm for the subject the lesson is well planned so that the activities link clearly to the learning intentions where appropriate the lesson begins with a starter activity that engages
pupils interest and/or links with prior learning activities are designed to include an element of choice where appropriate activities give opportunities for pupils to lead learning mini-plenaries are used during the lesson to maintain a focus on
achieving the intended learning outcomes the pupils use well chosen, stimulating resources and judicious use is
made of worksheets teacher talk to the whole class is minimal
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ICT is used as a learning tool and not just for presentation purposes additional class support is well used.
4. PVC pace, variety and challenge activities are timed to ensure that the lesson has pace, whilst ensuring
that pupils finish tasks activities include a good mix of individual, pair, small group and whole
class work the lesson is differentiated to provide work that is appropriately
challenging for pupils of all abilities; where appropriate, differentiation is by task and/or resource and not just by outcome
ILP/PLP targets are taken into account for individual pupils the lesson is planned to include a variety of learning styles that take into
account for VAK; Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic learners.
5. Assessment for Learning techniques are embedded into practice the success criteria are clearly explained and exemplar work is used to
reinforce them work is marked regularly with constructive comments that identify
personalised targets for each pupil pupils receive regular feedback on their progress in relation to their target level/grade peer and self-assessment techniques encourage independence and
deepen understanding of progress
he teacher uses intelligent questioning techniques to develop thinking, e.g. insisting on a no hands up rule, using open questions and building in waiting time.
6. High expectations and standards skilful behaviour management, using positive language, praise and
reward, leads to good behaviour pupils are expected to present their work well and to take pride in it the learning environment is inviting and well organised to give a positive learning message; walls are used to display stimulating learning resources alongside well-presented pupils work classroom routines are clearly understood and the lesson starts and
finishes in a quiet, calm and orderly way.
7. Good relationships the teacher is friendly, uses the pupils names and speaks to every child
during the course of the lesson the teacher conveys to the students that they are interested in what they
think not whether they are right or wrong all the time praise is used widely and real achievements celebrated warmly pupils respect their teacher and feel safe and supported pupils enjoy what they are doing.
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8. Pupils all make at least satisfactory progress and most make good
progress a plenary is used to recap and reinforce learning; What have we learned
the plenary refers to the intended learning outcomes and helps pupils to see the Big Picture
the plenary enables the teacher to assess learning and informs their planning.
Appendix 7 Victoria College Belfast Lesson Plan
Rationale The Victoria College lesson plan is used to ensure consistency between departments and provide high quality learning and teaching.
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VICTORIA COLLEGE BELFAST
KS3 Cross-curricular skills
Using Mathematics -
Working with others
Thinking, problem solving and decision
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