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Teaching & Learning

Teaching and Learning

I joined Northfield in the summer of 2021 fortunate enough to take on the role of Assistant Headteacher overseeing Teaching and Learning. In my role, I’m incredibly privileged to see such a diverse and well-taught curriculum being warmly-received and embraced by such fantastic pupils. To support all colleagues, my aim is to ensure that all pupils experience high quality teaching that instils a love of learning, promotes our three core values of respect, honesty and resilience and allows for opportunities for pupils to succeed.

The three underpinning principles of our Teaching and Learning Strategy are Retention, Skills and Challenge. I have explained each one below in more detail:

Retention – lessons are carefully planned to ensure deep learning takes place through revisiting and connecting prior knowledge. This means we provide many opportunities for pupils to learn the same concept, over time and in different contexts. We assess the pupils' recall of critical knowledge regularly in fun ways to ensure this is added to pupils' long-term memory. Every lesson at Northfield begins with a retention task: an activity that revisits prior critical knowledge so that pupils can check their recall.

Skills - pupils are given opportunities in lessons to develop their skills in communication, literacy, numeracy, ICT and collaboration. We carefully plan, teach and then assess skills so that we can develop them over time.

Challenge - we care about the progress of all our pupils, which is why learning in lessons is chunked with carefully planned support or activities to stretch learners. We ensure that our planning considers individual starting points so all pupils are able to make progress, regardless of ability. Whilst teachers use a variety of strategies within lessons to help challenge pupils, there are two common approaches adopted by all teachers: Push Your Thinking (PYT) tasks – tasks focused on eliciting deeper levels of thought and challenge; and breaking tasks up into three layers of challenge, in the form of: Critical, Enhanced and Advanced – a concept focused on empowering pupils to challenge themselves in lessons, by selecting the task they feel is most appropriate and beneficial to them.

As our core purpose is to ensure we are always improving classrooms, my role also focuses heavily on ensuring staff receive quality CPD – CPD that is driven by evidence-based practice, current research and the needs of both staff and pupils. To support with this, we have both a Staff Teaching and Learning group and a Pupil Teaching and Learning group who regularly provide feedback on the current wants and needs of the school as well as sharing resources and ideas around best practice. Furthermore, our Staff Teaching and Learning group trial new initiatives, often combining evidence and research with classroom-based practice to see how new ideas can be implemented in the context of our school. In response to ideas emanating from both groups, CPD has focused more recently on questioning (and more specifically Hinge-Questioning), Adaptive Teaching and evaluating our own practice.

Whilst this provides a brief overview of Teaching and Learning at Northfield, I hope it helps to show not only the emphasis placed on ensuring we deliver the best possible education we can but also how proud I am to have such a significant role in such a fantastic school.

Jamie Dunn
Assistant Headteacher – Teaching and Learning