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CPD, Leadership

I Need your Thoughts: Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy #SaturdayThunk

This is a first rough draft for a new Teaching, Learning & Assessment Policy.  This is the front one page summary which will set out our beliefs which will be expanded on.  Our staff haven’t yet seen it yet as I want to take off a few of the rough edges before I finalise a draft for their consideration.  If you have a moment, please add your thoughts via a comment on the post or tweet me.

Photo Credit: Gian Luigi Perrella via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Gian Luigi Perrella via Flickr cc

The Blessed Edward Bamber Catholic Multi Academy Trust believes that all children and young people are gifted and talented in their own unique ways.  Each is capable of being successful in their learning.  The Trust will strive for excellence within teaching and learning, supported by assessment processes, to enhance outcomes for its children & young people.  By developing the different gifts and talents of children & young people to their fullest, as part of our Mission within the Catholic Church, the Trust will remain true to its Christian roots of an education for wisdom. 

We believe:

  • Intelligence is multi-faceted, malleable and enhanced by high quality teaching, care, guidance and support.
  • Learning begets learning; children and young people’s factual, conceptual, procedural and metacognitive learning are mutually supportive and different types of knowledge should all be systematically developed.
  • Great teaching can unlock and develop children & young people’s potential as teachers actively intervene in the learning process.
  • Consistently high quality teaching can mitigate the difficulties experienced by children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Enriching relationships between children & young people and staff are vital to the well-being of all who work at the Trust, their success, progress, achievement and self-worth.
  • As learners teachers must be open and willing to improve and be given the time and opportunity to develop their subject content and pedagogical knowledge in a focused manner.


  • Teaching is strengthened by collaborative planning informed by data, feedback, research and experience.
  • Teaching is enhanced by teacher’s strong subject knowledge and understanding of how the subject is learnt by pupils including the teaching of common misconceptions.
  • Teaching must be based on high expectations of what each child or young person can achieve, clarity around learning outcomes and success criteria and Goldilocks’ level challenge within the classroom.
  • Teaching requires the establishment of an orderly classroom environment based on appropriate and consistently enforced expectations, rules and routines.
  • Teaching is enhanced by professional develop which is focused on improving progress and outcomes for children & young people.


  • Learning is built on strong literacy and numeracy skills and good social and personal skills that enable children & young people to work co-operatively within a classroom.
  • Current and future learning is built on prior knowledge and requires gaps in learning to be addressed.
  • Learning requires children & young people to think hard about what they are learning and show resilience when work is challenging.
  • Learning requires children & young people to act on feedback with perseverance to improve the standard of their work.


  • Assessment must support teaching and promote learning.
  • Assessment must help close the learning gap between current and expected learning.
  • Assessment must be meaningful and manageable.
  • Assessment must raise aspiration and encourage pupils to work hard.

A PDF copy of the draft is available below:

BEBCMAT – Teaching, Learning & Assessment Policy – draft v1.1 – Summary Page


Coe, R. et al (2014) What makes great teaching? Review of the underpinning research

If you’ve nothing to do today, read the summary of the report alongside Ofsted’s outstanding descriptors for Teaching, Learning & Assessment.  The similarity is uncanny.  Hate to say anything positive about Ofsted but all credit to them if it was used in putting together the latest framework.

#SaturdayThunk is based on something I’ve been thinking about, discussing, working on or has been topical that week.  The thunk is designed to be bite sized and will deliberately be kept short.  It will take one small issue or an aspect of something much bigger.  The intention is for it to be read in two minutes as you’re relaxing or busy running around on you day off.



18 thoughts on “I Need your Thoughts: Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy #SaturdayThunk

  1. I like the policy a lot and think it has some great wordings that will help inspire staff.

    A couple of things I would think about.
    In the Learning section I would consider trying to promote a love of learning to enthuse teachers to make their lessons gripping for students to help them learn.

    I would also consider adding something in to your assessment section to ensure every assessment done by a teacher is valid to encrouage staff to consider the validity of their data when reporting. I have found this very important as a middle leader to ensure data is accurate so I can impose interventions and chances to teaching as and when necessary.

    Posted by Dan Robinson | October 3, 2015, 10:23 am
  2. A question: Will these statements form a set of non-negotiable for teachers? I suppose what I mean is these are great statements of intent but will always be open to interpretation. e.g. assessment meaningful and manageable – will you dictate how much is manageable?

    Posted by mrvieito | October 3, 2015, 10:28 am
  3. I like the way the policy is grounded in the faith values of the trust. This opening summary makes your vision clear from the start. Interesting that you are linking T&L and assessment in the one policy. We have separate ones which need updating. They currently cross-reference but you have made me think why not have a single policy? I see you have made particular mention of tackling disadvantage. There isn’t a similar point about SEND. Doubtless you have another policy for this, but I wonder if making points here about the role of teaching and assessment in inclusion would be a good idea? Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by Caseby's Casebook | October 3, 2015, 11:21 am
  4. Yes, I like the feel of this, Stephen. It’s going to be interesting to see “beliefs” developing into fully formed actions, behaviours and practices.Will the “beliefs” become part of performance management, appraisal, etc, too?
    One thing I wondered about was this one-
    “Teaching is strengthened by collaborative planning informed by data, feedback, research and experience” – is it just “planning” that works this way – or are there other collaborative activities too?

    Posted by Lisa Pettifer (@Lisa7Pettifer) | October 3, 2015, 11:21 am
    • Need to think a bit more about other potential collaborative activities. Becoming less and less convinced about impact of appraisal

      Posted by ExecutiveHT | October 3, 2015, 12:58 pm
      • Indeed. Raised the point because I’m generally concerned about desirable outcomes being tied to appraisal and target setting. I fear they become tick box exercises rather than really embedded aspects of living culture. You need to speak, enact and share beliefs through supporting others. Rather than checking that others have done their allotted tasks, rubber stamping the sheet or punishing if not, I think we should all be looking to ourselves and the examples we set, the acts we perform and the day in day out discussions we have with others. A former head of ours always told us you have to live what you believe and shouldn’t need a piece of paper to prove it. This was when he used to get the School Dev Plan on one side of A4.
        On a slightly different note, do you think being a church school and community makes a difference to the way staff approach these things?

        Posted by misslisa67 | October 3, 2015, 8:37 pm
  5. Where there is talk of developing a knowledge I would add something on developing skills

    Posted by Inder | October 4, 2015, 11:40 am
  6. Stephen- love this stuff! Just do our Vision and Mission and it is only words if no action is behind them. Read the comments and to me the question is this for the students as applied by the adults or is this a model of learning for all members of the community? Could this not be worded for all in the opening and then in each belief? As you have mentioned teacher assessment is often not see as real and impactful so change the tone and make it about you beliefs. And I share the same sense that in a private and catholic institution you can have all
    Mbers of the

    Posted by Joe Collins | October 4, 2015, 7:28 pm
    • Was written for the students but good question about the adults. Thanks

      Posted by ExecutiveHT | October 4, 2015, 7:30 pm
      • But can it be for both and thus more of a partnership with responsibility by all?

        Posted by Joe Collins | October 4, 2015, 7:31 pm
    • Sorry cut off last. In you system you can ask all involved to make a definitive choice of supporting the overarching goal of live and support as preached by Jesus as a belief system that will impact their acceptance and worth. Thanks for the chance to input what is clearly so important to you.

      Posted by Joe Collins | October 4, 2015, 7:30 pm
  7. These are from an Ontario policy document, “Learning For All”:

    Our Shared Beliefs
    • All students can succeed.
    • Each student has his or her own unique patterns of learning.
    • Successful instructional practices are founded on evidence-based research,
    tempered by experience.
    • Universal design and differentiated instruction are effective and interconnected
    means of meeting the learning or productivity needs of any group of students.
    • Classroom teachers are the key educators for a student’s literacy and numeracy
    • Classroom teachers need the support of the larger community to create a
    learning environment that supports all students.
    • Fairness is not sameness.
    (Adapted from Education for All, K–6, pp. 4–5.)

    Posted by Karen Lew | October 6, 2015, 7:02 pm


  1. Pingback: ORRsome blog posts October 2015 | high heels and high notes - October 31, 2015

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