Respect is at the heart of our school.

How we learn at Pembury Primary School

At Pembury Primary School, we are committed to the principle that every child has the right to fulfil their potential in an inclusive environment where all are equally valued. It is important to us that every child feels safe, learns, achieves, and enjoys making progress and spending time with their peers.

We value the rich and diverse backgrounds from which our families come and encourage children and families to share their experiences. Our school staff have extensive skills, knowledge and experience and always seek to use these to challenge and inspire children in their learning.

We actively encourage children and staff to develop a positive growth mindset towards their learning and social interactions at school through our promotion of being ‘smarter’ every day:

SSuccessAchieving personal goals
MMotivateEncouraging children to want to improve
AAspireHaving big dreams
RRespectValuing individuals and ourselves
TTogetherLearning from and with each other
EEmpowerBelieving they can
RResilienceKnowing how to move forward when things are tricky

Teaching over time will:

  • achieve deep understanding, by helping children connect new knowledge with existing knowledge so they are fluent and unconsciously competent at applying their knowledge as skills.
  • deliver academic excellence by recognising the needs and aspirations of all individuals and providing opportunities for all pupils to make the best possible progress and attain the highest personal achievements;
  • secure knowledge into long-term memory.
  • develop secure schema with connected networks of ideas.
  • equip children with knowledge and cultural capital that they need to succeed in life.
  • give all pupils access to the best that has been thought and said and engender an appreciation of human achievement.
  • provide exceptional arts provision so that every child learns to play an instrument, create art, perform a dance and appreciate human creativity.
  • enable children to become confident and interested learners, actively engaged in their own learning.
  • develop children’s confidence and capacity to learn and work independently and collaboratively;
  • develop children’s self-respect and for the cultures and values of others contributing positively to the community and society.
  • develop our growth mindset ethos and promote our ‘smarter’ toolkit: success, motivate, achieve, respect, together, empower and resilience.

Roles and Responsibilities

Learning and teaching is a shared responsibility and all members of the school community have an important part to play in:

  • valuing children as individuals and respecting their rights, values and beliefs;
  • fostering and promoting good relationships and a sense of belonging to the school community;
  • providing a well-ordered environment in which all are fully aware of behavioural expectations;
  • offering equal opportunities in all aspects of school life and recognising the importance of different cultures;
  • encouraging, praising and positively reinforcing good relationships, behaviours and learning;
  • working as a team, supporting and encouraging one another.

Teaching staff will:

  • provide a challenging and stimulating curriculum designed to encourage all children to reach the highest standard of achievement;
  • recognise and be aware of the needs of each individual child according to ability and aptitude;
  • ensure that learning is progressive and continuous;
  • be good role models, punctual, well-prepared and organised;
  • demonstrate, at all times, the values of hard work, respect and responsibility;
  • keep up-to-date with educational issues;
  • provide clear information on school procedures and pupil progress;
  • have a positive attitude to change and the development of their own expertise;
  • establish links with the local community to prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life;
  • work collaboratively with all involved in education to develop a shared philosophy and commonality of practice.

Parents/Guardians are encouraged to support their child’s learning by:

  • ensuring that their child attends school regularly, punctually, well-rested and in good health;
  • ensuring that their child arrives at school wearing the correct uniform and bringing necessary equipment;
  • demonstrating, at all times, the values of hard work, respect and responsibility;
  • providing support for the discipline within the school and for the teacher’s role;
  • supporting the work of educational targets and becoming actively involved in the implementation of any support programme;
  • participating in discussions concerning their child’s progress and attainment;
  • ensuring early contact with school to discuss matters which affect a child’s happiness, progress and behaviour;
  • allowing their child to become increasingly independent as they progress throughout the school;
  • informing the school of reasons for their child’s absence;

Pupils are encouraged to support the school’s aims by:

  • attending school in good health, maintained by adequate diet, exercise and sleep;
  • attending school regularly and punctually;
  • being organised – bringing necessary equipment;
  • conducting themselves in an orderly manner in line with the expected behaviour policy;
  • taking increased responsibility for their own learning;
  • demonstrating at all times, the values of hard work, respect and responsibility.

Governors will:

  • Challenge and check that the curriculum is broad and balanced.
  • Appropriate for the community and children.

The community is invited to support the school by:

  • contributing to activities, such as assemblies, specialist outings, clubs, etc;
  • presenting themselves as positive role models to be emulated;
  • organising activities and events throughout the year to extend and deepen pupils’ knowledge and skills;
  • supporting school events;
  • volunteering to help in the classroom.

Strategies for Teaching and Learning

We believe focusing on quality first teaching (QFT) and utilising the key principles of Rosenshine within this, we will engage and support the learning of all children.

Quality First Teaching demands 100% participation from the pupils and sets high and realistic challenges. It does not provide so much help or information that they do not need to think for themselves, it is challenging and demanding; it expects pupils to be able to articulate their ideas, understanding and thinking by actively promoting pupil talk.

The key characteristics of QFT are:

  • Highly focused lesson design with sharp objectives
  • High demands of pupil involvement and engagement with their learning
  • High levels of interaction for all pupils
  • Appropriate use of questioning, modelling and explaining on the part of the teacher.
  • An emphasis on learning through dialogue, with regular opportunities for pupils to talk both individually and in groups.
  • An expectation that pupils will accept responsibility for their own learning and work independently.
  • No cap on learning
  • Fluidity of grouping
  • Marking / assessment will inform planning and pupil progress.
  • Regular use of encouragement and authentic praise to engage and motivate pupils.

*Please Appendices for further teaching and learning strategies.

Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction

1. Begin a lesson with a short review of previous learning

This might be a review of vocabulary, events or a previously learned concept or additional practice to learn facts and skills where overlearning is required to develop automatic recall. Effective teachers review knowledge that is essential for the lesson. At Pembury, some teachers use multiple-choice quizzes, timed tests, counting activities or review knowledge organisers.

2. Present new material in small steps with pupil practice after each step: Only present small amounts of new material at any one time, and then assist pupils as they practice this material.

Our working memory can only hold a few bits of information at once – too much information swamps the working memory. The most effective teachers present only small amounts of new material at one time, and they teach in such a way that each point is mastered before the next point is introduced. They check pupil’s understanding on each point and reteach when necessary. In a study, the most effective teachers spent about 23 minutes of a 40-minute lesson in teaching, demonstration, questioning and worked examples. In contrast, the least effective spent only 11 minutes presenting new material. The most effective teachers use this extra time to provide additional explanations, check for understanding and provide sufficient instructions so pupils can learn to work independently without difficulty. The less effective teachers in the study gave much shorter explanations, and then passed out activities and were then observed going from pupil to pupil having to explain the material again.

 3. Ask effective questions and check the responses of ALL pupils: Questions help pupils practise new information and connect new material to their prior learning.

Questions provide necessary practice and allow a teacher to determine how well material has been learned and whether there is a need for additional instruction. This can also help to uncover misconceptions. Teachers at Pembury also ask pupils to explain the process they used to find the answer. Teachers might ask pupils to:

  • tell the answer to their learning partner;
  • summarise the main idea in one or two sentences or repeat the procedures to their learning partner;
  • write the answer on a mini-whiteboard and hold it up;
  • explain how you worked out the answer;
  • raise hands or raise hands if they agree with an answer someone else has given.

4. Provide models: Providing pupils with models and worked examples can help them learn to solve problems faster.

Teacher modelling and thinking aloud while demonstrating how to solve a problem are examples of cognitive support. A worked example is a step-by-step demonstration of how to solve a problem or how to perform a task. The presentation of worked examples begins with the teacher modelling and explaining the steps that can be taken to solve a specific problem. The teacher also identifies and explains the underlying principles for these steps.

5. Guide pupil practice: Successful teachers spend more time guiding pupils’ practice of new material.

After presentation of new material, the most successful teachers guide pupil practice. This might consist of the teacher working the first problems on the whiteboard, serving as a model for pupils. It could include a ‘visualiser’ being used to demonstrate or a pupil working out a problem on the board. This provides additional models, more time for checking for understanding, asking questions and correcting errors and more time having pupils work out problems with teacher guidance. Pupils are then better prepared for independent work. Some pupils might receive further guided practice as part of a masterclass or guided group.

6.Check for pupil understanding: Checking for pupil understanding at each point can help pupils learn the material with fewer errors.

Effective teachers frequently check to see if all pupils are learning the new material. They check for understanding by asking questions, by asking pupils to summarise the presentation up to that point, or to repeat directions or procedures. This helps pupils to make connections with other learning in their long-term memory and to alert the teacher to when parts of the material need to be retaught. A less effective teacher might simply ask “Are there any questions?” Other ways to check for understanding are to ask pupils to think aloud while completing tasks or to explain or defend their position to others. This can help to limit misconceptions. The wrong way to check for understanding is to ask only a few questions, call on volunteers to hear their (usually correct) answers, and then assume that all of the class either understands or has now learned from hearing the volunteers’ responses. Another error (particularly with older children) is to assume that it is not necessary to check for understanding, and that simply repeating the points will be sufficient.

7. Obtain a high success rate: It is important for pupils to achieve a high success rate during the classroom instruction.

Research suggests that the optimal success rate to be about 80% – as judged by oral responses during guided practice and individual work. It shows that pupils are learning the material and that they are being challenged.

8. Provide scaffolds: the teacher provides pupils with temporary supports and scaffolds to assist them.

Scaffolds are a form of guided practice. They include modelling the steps by the teacher or tools, such as cue cards, word banks, checklists to guide or evaluate their work, or a model of the completed task against which the pupil can compare their work. Others may be in the form of prompts – such as question stems to help pupils ask questions while they read or the opportunity to ask the teacher to think aloud when solving a problem. Teachers should carefully consider who needs what type of scaffold, rather than regularly provide the same scaffold to all.

9.Require and monitor independent practice: Pupils need extensive, successful practice in order for skills and knowledge to become automatic and embedded in long-term memory.

Independent practice is necessary because a good deal of practice (overlearning) is needed in order to become fluent and automatic in the recall of knowledge or a skill. Independent practice should involve the same material as the guided practice and pupils should be fully prepared. Research shows that pupils were more engaged when their teacher circulated the room and monitored their individual work – the optimal time for these contacts was 30 seconds or less. Cooperative learning can increase achievement if it provides extra instruction through someone else (the other pupil) explaining the material to the pupil.

10. Engage pupils in weekly and monthly review: Pupils need to be involved in extensive practice in order to develop well-connected automatic knowledge.

Pupils need extensive and broad reading and extensive practice in order, to develop well- connected networks of ideas (schema) in their long-term memory. When one’s knowledge on a particular topic is large and well-connected, it is easier to learn new information and prior knowledge is more readily available for use. For this reason, we employ weekly reviews in mathematics, opportunities to retrieve knowledge at the start of lessons, weekly reviews as part of homework, knowledge organisers for revision and end of unit assessments. Pupils should learn strategies for revision, including self-quizzing and elaboration (see http://www.learningscientists.org/elaboration).

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Pembury Primary School
Lower Green Road, Pembury, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 4EB
Phone: 01892 822 259 Email: office@pembury.kent.sch.uk