St. Patrick's Catholic Primary School

Making learning irresistible

Approaches to Teaching and Learning Policy

St. Patrick’s Catholic Primary School

‘Approach to Teaching and Learning’ Policy 2016/17


At St. Patrick’s we provide a stimulating, engaging curriculum. Our children enjoy learning. We provide daily opportunities to develop skills essential for children to become lifelong learners. Effective, embedded formative assessment strategies ensure our children make progress and are involved in their own learning. Staff are motivated and make educating children their first concern. Continuous professional development is given priority in the school to maintain high standards of teaching and learning, and staff self-reflect on their pedagogy, making them better practitioners.


Our curriculum continues to strengthen and offers the children a wide range of learning experiences. Leaders develop innovative approaches to our curriculum. Maths Mastery, managed by our National Maths leader, is an example of this. We are progressive with our curriculum, keeping up to date with changes and research. As a result, we are developing a curriculum which is bespoke to our school and children. Exciting and varied lessons (including outings and visitors) are planned to ensure the children are engaged and enjoy their learning. It is important to us that our curriculum reflects our community and we work hard to incorporate our environment into the curriculum, whilst also ensuring children learn about the wider world.

Our EYFS unit offers a wide, varied and exciting activities that have been planned through children’s interests.  This results in children being highly motivated, engaged and able to deepen their understanding and knowledge. Along with a developing outdoor area, which is used to maximise learning and give children first hand experiences of the natural world around us. Children are more creative, independent and imaginative due to this development. 

The 2013 National Curriculum subjects are taught throughout the school. Core subjects are: English, Mathematics, Science and Computing, as well as Religious Education. Our religious education is taught in accordance with the Lancashire Diocese and we use the scheme ‘Come and See’. Foundation subjects are History, Geography, Art, Design Technology, Music, P.E and our chosen modern foreign language taught in Key Stage Two is French. Curriculum maps can be found on our school website.

As a school, we are committed to providing opportunities for curriculum enrichment. We draw on the strengths and talents of the staff to support this and to help develop pupils’ spiritual, moral, cultural, social as well as their physical, artistic and mental well-being. A wide range of extra-curricular activities are available outside of school hours, throughout the year. Clubs are changed regularly to ensure many different interests are catered for.  They offer the children opportunities to learn new and different skills and mix socially with other pupils.

The school works hard to uses strategies within the national curriculum and beyond to secure British Values outcomes for our children. This includes running an established School Council, and having school representatives such as ‘Behaviour Scouts’ and ‘Team Leaders’.

Quality pastoral care is promoted through our day-to-day teaching and learning in school, fostering positive attitudes and encouraging personal and social development. We have clearly defined roles and responsibilities to ensure student well-being. Experienced staffs manage nurture, learning mentoring sessions and counselling to address barriers to learning.


St. Patrick’s ‘Learner Skills’

‘Learner Skills’ are a fundamental part of our school life. How the children learn is just as important as what they learn. We understand that meta-cognition and self-regulation has high levels of impact on the children’s progress. The expectation in our school is that all children are provided with high quality learning experiences in which they can practise these skills, leading to consistently high levels of pupil engagement and achievement. We aim to give the children the skills they require to become effective lifelong learners, and foster a ‘growth mind-set’ where the children are taught that success in learning can be achieved through effort and persistence.  

Foundation Stage and Key Stage One:

We begin to introduce our children to ‘characteristics of learning’ in the Foundation Stage.  Children use 'Learning Superheroes' toys to develop the skills that they need so they can become lifelong learners.

-Creating and Thinking Critically – Wise Owl

-Playing and Exploring – Tough Tortoise and Sensible Squirrel

-Personal, Social and Emotional Development – Team Ant


Key Stage One:

Other ‘learner skills’ superheroes are introduced in Key Stage One.

  • Curiosity – Cat
  • Creativity and imagination – Unicorn
  • Changing - Chameleon
  • Resilience – Tortoise
  • Relationships – Ant
  • Planning Ahead – Owl
  • Making links – Spider


Key Stage Two:

There are 6 core learner skills in Key Stage Two:

A curious learner will…

Ask questions and seek out the answer .  A curious learner will be self-motivated because they feel good about their learning. Curiosity makes learning rewarding. A curious learner is more likely to remember their learning.

A confident learner will…

Have belief in themselves and will be proud of their learning and achievements. A confident learner is an eager learner. Confidence helps us to cope with the ups and downs of learning. A confident learner develops good relationships with their teachers and peers which helps them to improve.

A resilient learner will…

Learn from their mistakes and take on challenges. A resilient learner will show determination, grit and perseverance. Resilience helps us to bounce back stronger. A resilient learner will recover quickly from difficulties.

A learner that listens will…

Focus on the speaker, maintaining eye contact, and concentrate. They will try and understand the other person’s point of view, using signs such as nodding and words of     encouragement. A good listener will listen not only to what is being said but also to what is left unsaid.

A learner that discusses will…

Work with others to think of and share ideas. A good discussion allows everyone the chance to talk. A learner that discusses well will offer their opinions, look for opportunities to contribute and challenge others in a respectful way.

An independent learner will …

Try things for themselves, are self -motivated and set their own goals. They manage their time well and reflect on their own learning. They learn from positive role models. An independent learner takes responsibility for their own learning and makes their own decisions.

At St. Patrick’s we encourage children to take responsibility for their own learning and our learner skills’ helps them to be more self –aware and  think about their own learning more explicitly. Special ‘St Patrick’s Learner’ assemblies take place every half term to celebrate our children’s learning.

Formative Assessment

At St. Patrick’s we believe that formative assessment brings real learning to life in our school.

Assessment is the bridge between teaching and learning.

‘Assessment occupies such a central position in good teaching because we cannot predict what students will learn, no matter how we design our teaching.’  Dylan Wiliam, 2011

Much of our day- to day- practice is informed the by five key strategies of formative assessment (Leahy, Lyon, Thompson & Wiliam, 2005)

  1. Clarifying, sharing, and understanding learning intentions and criteria for success


    We use learning objectives and success criteria for the children to understand what they are learning and how they will learn it. Learning objectives are shared in different ways are evaluated against by the children, peers and their teachers. Learning objectives may be used over one lesson or a series of lessons, and are often revisited to deepen understanding. We use success criteria to enable pupils to be more confident with a process and give children more ownership of their work. Success criteria also facilitate self and peer-assessment and used as an instructional stepping stone before the children’s learning can deepen and become embedded. Children are involved in constructing their own success criteria so that they are likely to remember it and reflect on it.

    Examples of generating success criteria are:

    • Doing it wrong

    • Looking t finished pieces and analysing them

    • Comparing work of differing quality

    • Step by Step

    • Modelling

  2. Engineering effective classroom discussions, activities, and learning tasks that elicit evidence of learning

    Teachers plan to use a range of strategies to find out what children know, and where they are in their learning. High engagement classrooms ensure children are actively involved in their learning and there are lots of opportunities for discussion. All student response systems ensure maximum participation.  Teachers ask questions to find out what the children know and what they are thinking; they are also used to cause thinking. Bloom’s taxonomy is used to generate questions that support active challenge for learning. Children are encouraged to ask questions and question each other. Teachers change and modify their teaching to meet the learning needs of their pupils.

    Bloom’s Taxonomy:

    Examples of strategies to elicit understanding are:

    • Questioning

    • Discussion

    • No hands up approach

    • All student response systems

    • Dialogue in books

  3. Providing feedback that moves learning forward

    (This section should be read in conjunction with our marking and feedback policy)

    Children in our school receive a varied range of feedback. Both verbal and written feedback is used to improve performance, to acknowledge the children’s efforts and to motivate them. Children are given time to reflect on their feedback and time to respond to it. Children are involved in feedback and engage well in peer, paired and self-assessment. Staffs are skilled in targeting children as a result of assessment and verbal feedback is used to provide immediate interventions. Teachers mark in line with the school’s marking and feedback policy; they use their professional judgement when deciding on what type of feedback to use for work set.  As part of the school self-evaluation, pupil outcomes and progress is monitored as a result of feedback provided over time.

    Varied feedback includes:

    • Yellow highlighting

    • One response marks

    • Corrections marks

    • Verbal feedback

    • Peer and self-assessment

    • Fix it, revisit, push it (Maths)

Activating learners as instructional resources for one another

Our children acknowledge that they can learn just as much from their peers in school as they can from their teachers. Co-operative and collaborative learning is important in our school and the children experience this type of learning every day. Children work in pairs and groups to discuss ideas, think through ideas more clearly, and explain their thinking to one another. Children assess each other’s learning to help their peers improve their work. Peer tutoring is used, benefitting both children in the process. It helps the children doing the explaining because you never really understand something until you try to teach it to someone else. And it helps the child being tutored because they are having it conveyed to them in a way they can understand. Children often independently make decisions to ask their peers for help or give help without prompt from their teacher.

Strategies to encourage children to be activated as learning resources for one another are:

  • Peer and paired marking

  • Peer tutoring

  • Class links for activities such as paired reading

  • C3B4ME

  • Talk partners

 Activating learners as owners of their own learning

‘Self-regulated learning is that the learner is able to co-ordinate cognitive resources, emotions and actions in the service of his learning goals’ (Boekaerts, 2006)

Meta-cognition and self-regulation approaches aim to help learners think about their own learning more explicitly. At St. Patrick’s we seek to develop the skills needed to be an independent learner and provide opportunities for the children to monitor and evaluate their own progress. Children are involved in setting their own goals and targets, and are encouraged to make their own decisions about learning through training and explicit modelling. Staff have been trained on Dr. Carol Dweck’s ‘Growth Mindset’ approach so that they can teach the children that  mistakes are part of the learning process, that it is important to seek new challenges, and not to be threatened by hard work or failure. Various strategies are used in class to help the children to both manage and monitor their own learning.

Strategies include:

  • Self marking

  • Learner journals

  • Reflection in marking

  • Next steps

  • Differentiated choices

Teacher Standards

Teachers make the education of their pupils their first concern, and are accountable for achieving the highest possible standards in work and conduct. Teachers act with honesty and integrity; have strong subject knowledge, keep their knowledge and skills as teachers up-to-date and are self-critical; forge positive professional relationships; and work with parents in the best interests of their pupils.

Part One: Teaching

A teacher must:

Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils

  • establish a safe and stimulating environment for pupils, rooted in mutual respect

  • set goals that stretch and challenge pupils of all backgrounds, abilities and dispositions

  • demonstrate consistently the positive attitudes, values and behaviour which are expected of pupils.

Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils

  • be accountable for pupils’ attainment, progress and outcomes

  • be aware of pupils’ capabilities and their prior knowledge, and plan teaching to build on these

  • guide pupils to reflect on the progress they have made and their emerging needs

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how pupils learn and how this impacts on teaching

  • encourage pupils to take a responsible and conscientious attitude to their own work and study.

 Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge

· have a secure knowledge of the relevant subject(s) and curriculum areas, foster and maintain pupils’ interest in the subject, and address misunderstandings

  • demonstrate a critical understanding of developments in the subject and curriculum areas, and promote the value of scholarship
  • demonstrate an understanding of and take responsibility for promoting high standards of literacy, articulacy and the correct use of standard English, whatever the teacher’s specialist subject
  • if teaching early reading, demonstrate a clear understanding of systematic synthetic phonics
  • if teaching early mathematics, demonstrate a clear understanding of appropriate teaching strategies.

Plan and teach well-structured lessons

  • impart knowledge and develop understanding through effective use of lesson time

  • promote a love of learning and children’s intellectual curiosity

  • set homework and plan other out-of-class activities to consolidate and extend the knowledge and understanding pupils have acquired

  • reflect systematically on the effectiveness of lessons and approaches to teaching

  • contribute to the design and provision of an engaging curriculum within the relevant subject area(s).

Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils

  • know when and how to differentiate appropriately, using approaches which enable pupils to be taught effectively

  • have a secure understanding of how a range of factors can inhibit pupils’ ability to learn, and how best to overcome these

  • demonstrate an awareness of the physical, social and intellectual development of children, and know how to adapt teaching to support pupils’ education at different stages of development

  • have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs; those of high ability; those with English as an additional language; those with disabilities; and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them.

Make accurate and productive use of assessment

  • know and understand how to assess the relevant subject and curriculum areas, including statutory assessment requirements

  • make use of formative and summative assessment to secure pupils’ progress

  • use relevant data to monitor progress, set targets, and plan subsequent lessons

  • give pupils regular feedback, both orally and through accurate marking, and encourage pupils to respond to the feedback.

Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment

  • have clear rules and routines for behaviour in classrooms, and take responsibility for promoting good and courteous behaviour both in classrooms and around the school, in accordance with the school’s behaviour policy

  • have high expectations of behaviour, and establish a framework for discipline with a range of strategies, using praise, sanctions and rewards consistently and fairly

  • manage classes effectively, using approaches which are appropriate to pupils’ needs in order to involve and motivate them

  • maintain good relationships with pupils, exercise appropriate authority, and act decisively when necessary.

Fulfil wider professional responsibilities

  • make a positive contribution to the wider life and ethos of the school
  • develop effective professional relationships with colleagues, knowing how and when to draw on advice and specialist support
  • deploy support staff effectively
  • take responsibility for improving teaching through appropriate professional development, responding to advice and feedback from colleagues
  • communicate effectively with parents with regard to pupils’ achievements and well-being.

Part Two: Personal and professional conduct

A teacher is expected to demonstrate consistently high standards of personal and professional conduct. The following statements define the behaviour and attitudes which set the required standard for conduct throughout a teacher’s career.

Teachers uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school, by:

  • treating pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect, and at all times observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position

  • having regard for the need to safeguard pupils’ well-being, in accordance with statutory provisions

  • showing tolerance of and respect for the rights of others

  • not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

  • ensuring that personal beliefs are not expressed in ways which exploit pupils’ vulnerability or might lead them to break the law.

  • Teachers must have proper and professional regard for the ethos, policies and practices of the school in which they teach, and maintain high standards in their own attendance and punctuality.

  • Teachers must have an understanding of, and always act within, the statutory frameworks which set out their professional duties and responsibilities.