Responsibilities for all in working together to prepare for learning
All staff were consulted on the collective responsibilities for preparing for, implementing and reflecting on teaching and learning at the school
Understanding the individual is essential to provide effective teaching and learning for each pupil. IEPs drive each pupil’s learning and are derived from well written EHCPs and sound, appropriate assessment. We know what assessment is appropriate through our research into assessment tools and knowledge of our pupils. ‘Working with me’ documents are essential and should be completed thoroughly and in a timely manner. Other documents that need to be equally understood and written with rigour and consideration are behaviour management plans, but these may not be needed by all. Again, some, but not all pupils will have ‘Safe Systems of Work’, care plans, eating and drinking plans and intimate care plans. Our knowledge of each pupil’s needs is holistic.
Teachers and their class teams must set meaningful and challenging outcomes for pupils and ensure that documents are kept up to date, all staff must assimilate this information and put this into practise in the classroom.
All lessons are well-considered and planned by teachers and supported by the class team. This doesn’t mean that all will always go to plan, as teaching should always be child-led in how it interests and engages pupils.
All adults supporting learning should know what is being taught and why. All teachers will share planning and the hoped outcomes of each lesson, whilst all support staff have a responsibility to read and assimilate this. It is everyone’s responsibility to know what pupils should be learning and how this should be done.
The school invests in its staff and ensures that they are given the appropriate training to teach and support learning. By engaging in an appraisal or a professional review process, each member of staff has a responsibility and opportunity to reflect on how well they meet their job description / professional standards and in turn, request and participate enthusiastically in appropriate continuous professional development to meet this and their professional aspirations.
Having the right staff (with the right skills) in the right place is everyone’s responsibility, so that our pupils’ learning opportunities are maximised. We use positive relationships where possible to motivate pupils, to make them feel safe and to have people around them who understand them. Education staff should be prioritised to be in the class to support learning wherever possible.
Research and our own professional experience tell us that successful lessons are often fun and always engaging. We know and ensure that all our pupils need to be and are ‘regulated’ so that they can learn; emotionally, physically or sensorially. Our pupils need to be comfortable, and in a position where they are ready to learn. Many of our pupils are predisposed to experiencing high levels of anxiety. Pupils cannot learn when they are anxious or disinterested. To be at ease and interested is essential and we constantly strive to find what this is for each pupil. Teaching where no learning occurs is futile and therefore unacceptable.
Responsibilities for all in preparing the learning environment
A space that reflects the pride that staff and pupils have in their school and learning; inviting, clutter-free and designed to promote independence. We often expect and value a ‘messy’ and clutter-filled space when deep learning and exploration is happening. We do, however, have an understanding that this will be ‘re-set’ when needed.
The environment should always have the pupil in mind taking consideration of ‘what space do our pupils need to learn best?’. It should be tailored to meet the learning needs of the pupils in that class.
Considerable research shows that pupils are more regulated in a less visually distracting space, using calming neutral colours. Therefore, anything placed on the classroom walls should have purpose; does it support regulation, understanding or learning? If not, it is not needed and should be removed. Where pupils work is to be presented, it should shine and be seen.
Classrooms and the school environment should be a safe space in how it functions and how it makes each child and young person feel.
There should be equity of access (appropriate adaptations in space, environment and tools used should be made).
The class should represent the school’s motto, code and vision somewhere and somehow. Whilst this may not be understood in display form by all pupils, it exists so that all staff are able to refer to this in their practice, how they work with each other and with pupils.
At the end of the learning day resources should be cleared away respectfully and the class should be ready for the next day’s learning. This is everyone’s collective responsibility.
The ‘classroom’ is anywhere that learning occurs – inside and out and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that all spaces adhere to our curricular policy expectations.
Responsibilities for all in implementing learning
By taking account of each pupil’s individual developmental starting points (cognitive and emotional) and interests, each classroom and timetable may look very different. This is entirely appropriate. There are some things, however, that we expect to see in all our classrooms.
All sessions are learning opportunities and the principles of our teaching and learning ethos / curriculum should be seen throughout the day.
Our language is respectful to all. We do not talk ‘above’ or about pupils in their presence. There are no exceptions to this. We assume that all our pupils understand everything we say. Humour is welcome amongst colleagues and pupils but should be well-judged and its intention should be understood. We laugh with, not at each other.
There should be a range of communication strategies used in the classroom. Each strategy used should be well-considered and purposeful and executed to a good standard by our staff. Using strategies to simply ‘look like’ communication is unacceptable, as is not using pupils’ communication tools. We use Makaton signing, symbols, AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) devices and books (where language is modelled as well as used expressively), objects and environments of reference, appropriate language, commentary, questioning, photographs and eye pointing to support learning.
On a very simple level we respond to and respect our pupils’ actions. We provide a space for our pupils to control and have agency. Our pupils need support in many areas of their lives, however they need to be skilfully supported to be as independent as they can be. Independence is often read as independence in self-care skills. These are of course valuable and desirable, but our first goal is to enable pupils to be independent in their play, actions and discoveries. For our pupils to develop and progress it is important that their actions need to be their own. Our staff are there to enable this. We need to ensure that our pupils do not develop ‘learned helplessness’. This moment of discovery needs to be enabled and allowed. Whilst striving to achieve we need to allow our pupils to make mistakes in order to develop problem solving and persistence.
“When you teach a child something, you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself”. – Jean Piaget
In order for the moment of discovery to come and real learning to occur, our pupils need us to wait and be given the time and space to process and discover.
We see teaching that is flexible and dynamic. We follow our pupils’ learning and encourage them to feel confident enough to take risks.
Our lessons should have a good pace and flow that is driven by the pace of learning. Learning should not stagnate, but neither should opportunities to correct misconceptions or deepen and generalise learning be missed by rushing through a lesson’s content. Repetition is key to building our pupils’ skills and understanding; within the structure of the day, sessions throughout the term and within the session itself. ‘Burst-pause’ and its repetition within most sessions give pupils the opportunity to communicate their preference. In order to progress, our pupils need to revisit activities frequently to consolidate their learning.
We have high expectations of all our pupils in their learning and behaviour, regardless of their developmental, physical or emotional challenges. These expectations are still equitable. This should express itself in how staff take a step back to allow pupils to complete tasks themselves; in turn the achievements should be valued and praised.
Our teaching meets all learning needs and is individualised accordingly. Our groupings, as far possible, ensure that pupils are given the best opportunities to build friendships and access learning that is most appropriate to them.
Lessons should stimulate and excite, making imaginative use of our learning spaces (immersive technology, ‘real’ resources and outdoor spaces for example). It is the whole school’s responsibility to ensure that our spaces and resources are the best that they can be, through prioritising funding and taking good care of our resources. Teaching and learning are the school’s priorities.
Responsibilities for all in capturing and reflecting on learning
All staff have a responsibility to capture learning. We expect to see ‘evidence for learning’ used for recording on iPads and iPods, following our marking policy. This can be done with and by the pupil where and when appropriate. We always expect to see high quality written annotation where appropriate with a good standard of English. The breadth of each pupil’s learning journey needs the breadth of contribution of all classroom staff.
We also expect positive and precise praise and feedback to pupils and to teachers (verbally or written following our marking policy where this is appropriate). For some pupils, narrative and indirect praise may be more acceptable.
Specific roles and responsibilities
The governing body will ensure that:
- It considers the advice of the headteacher when approving this curriculum document and when setting strategic targets
- Progress towards annual improvement targets is monitored
- It contributes to decision making about the curriculum
- That there is a rigorous quality assurance timetable in place to monitor teaching and learning
The headteacher will ensure that:
- The governing body is fully involved in decision making processes that relate to the breadth and balance of the curriculum
- The governing body is advised on strategic targets in order to make informed decisions
- All statutory elements of the curriculum, and those subjects which the school chooses to offer, have a rationale which reflect the aims of the school and pupils’ learning needs
- The curriculum is regularly reviewed in line with national and local developments.
- The school is prudent and considered before adopting new implementations and interventions
All senior leaders will ensure that:
- Staff adhere to its curricular principles at all times and where standards fall short of what is set out, they will be supported to meet these
- They will monitor the quality of teaching and learning via regular learning walks, lesson observations and work scrutiny. This process is closely linked to teacher appraisal for individual teachers as described fully in the school’s appraisal policy
- They will monitor the quality of individual education plans and maintain the rigour of setting and reviewing targets
Assistant headteacher with responsibility for curriculum and assessment, with support from the TLR lead for pre-formal learners, will ensure that:
- They have an oversight of curriculum structure and delivery
- Timetables are monitored to ensure breadth of learning is in line with the school’s curriculum
- Levels of attainment and pupil progress is discussed with the leadership team and governing body on a regular basis, acting where necessary to improve these.
- Long term planning is in place for all cohorts of learners, using a 6-year topic cycle to ensure breadth and balance
- Long term plans contain curriculum detail on: context, skills, and related key language. This may be whole school or specific to a curriculum pathway.
- Skill progression charts are in place, showing the developmental sequence of skill acquisition
- Medium term planning is monitored, ensuring that learning focuses, activities, and individualisation are included
- Appropriate awarding bodies and courses are selected so that they best meet the learning needs of our pupils
- They keep the headteacher informed of proposed changes to curriculum delivery
- Pupil performance data is reviewed on a regular basis
- There is consistency in terms of curriculum delivery, to ensure quality of teaching and learning across school
Curricular area leads will ensure that:
- They share best practice with other colleagues in terms of curriculum design and delivery
- They support and challenge colleagues within their area of expertise
- They oversee CPD needs regarding curriculum planning and delivery within their area of responsibility
- They contribute to school improvement and curriculum planning and review, engaging fully with the support and challenge from the governing body
- They use research and research methodology to ensure that new interventions and curricular areas are well chosen and that the there is a positive impact on pupil outcomes
- Plan, lead and deliver teaching sessions meeting the minimum standards set out in this document and then assess the impact of their own teaching on outcomes for pupils
- Support other teachers and have a classroom open to others for observation and professional development
- Monitor and lead on the contribution of support staff in recording pupils’ learning journey, linking this to IEPs and other assessments
Teaching assistants will
- Support whole class teaching sessions and participate in teaching small groups or one to one as directed by teaching staff. The primary focus for our TAs is promoting and supporting teaching and learning.
- Engage in annual professional reviews where their practice is evaluated. Individual targets are set for them to ensure that practice continues to improve
All support staff will:
- Alongside their other specific responsibilities, they will support teaching and learning when in the classroom and will capture learning
- Engage in annual professional reviews to reflect on any training needs and seek support to meet career ambitions
- Be expected to and where needed, supported to try their very best at all times and adhere to the school motto and values
- Be treated as partners in their learning with their needs, interests and aspirations driving their curricular offer.
- We continuously strive for ways for pupils to make meaningful contributions to decisions and reflections on their learning and aspirations individually and collectively through the school council
- Be offered a curriculum that also gives breadth of excellent learning opportunities and develops a lifelong love of learning and curiosity
- Be given additional support, interventions or different approaches when learning or being ready to learn becomes difficult
Parents, carers and families will:
- Be consulted about and contribute to their children’s learning and in planning their future education through IEP, EHCP review and transition meetings, parents’ evenings and through use of ‘Evidence for Learning’ as well as regular whole school consultations
- Be confident that their child is receiving a high quality education that is designed to meet their learning needs and lifelong aspirations to equip them for now and for life after school
- Understand their child’s curricular offer through the school website, IEP meetings and school meetings and conversations.