Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy

Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy

January 2018

January 2018

In addition to maintaining excellent safeguarding procedures, staff at The Purbeck School are wholly committed to the provision of excellent teaching, learning and assessment practice. This is consistent with the Standards for Teachers [2012] document whereby teachers: “make the education of their students their first concern, and are accountable for achieving the highest possible standards in students’ work and conduct. Good teachers act with honesty and integrity; have strong subject knowledge, keep their knowledge and skills as teachers up-to-date and are self-critical; establish positive relationships with students and colleagues; and work with parents, carers and the community in the best interests of their students.”

The diagram below summarises The Purbeck School’s principles of excellent teaching, learning and assessment:

Teaching, Learning and Assessment at The Purbeck School


Planning effective teaching and learning

The diagram to the left is from the work of Shaun Allison (his educational blog can be found here: https://classteaching.wordpress.com/)

The diagram demonstrates our model for planning challenging sequences of learning which include summative assessment, feedback and improvement opportunities.




Behaviour for Learning

Managing behaviour effectively is clearly essential to establish an effective learning environment.

This can be achieved by:

  • establishing routines as defined by each room’s poster and promote good and courteous behaviour in and around your classroom
  • meeting and greet students at the door
  • ensuring a calm and orderly entry and departure
  • ensuring there is something for students to do as soon as they sit down
  • using positive behaviour management strategies
  • following the school behaviour policy to ensure consistency
  • establishing and maintaining good relations with students
  • using positive praise, sanctions and rewards fairly and consistently

Below is an extract from our Behaviour Policy – please see the full document: Behaviour Policy

Expectations of Teaching Staff

In their school life we realise that children are impacted upon a great deal by staff working in the school. Building strong working relationships with students can make a huge difference in the life of a student and their engagement, achievement and progress. We believe that understanding how to behave has to be taught by parents and is reinforced by school staff. The staff of the school will ensure that this policy is applied fairly and consistently and will support the policy by reinforcing where expectations are met and exceeded with praise and reward. Staff will be acutely aware of any particular educational needs of the students that they teach and will plan lessons accordingly as the school recognises that when a student cannot access learning this can lead to poor behaviour. Staff will receive regular CPD on the ‘Language of Discipline’ and behaviour management.


Section C: The Purbeck Principles in Lessons

Behaviour in lessons is critical if students are going to make outstanding progress throughout their time in school and move on to successful careers. At The Purbeck School, we simply do not accept poor behaviour in lessons and believe that low-level disruption is not only detrimental to the learning of the individual concerned, but also to those other students in the classroom. We therefore have a zero- tolerance approach to low-level disruption which we believe is important in building relationships based on mutual respect and positive learning experiences.

Student Lesson Responsibilities

All students will be regularly reminded of the ‘Student Lesson Responsibilities’. These can also be found in the student diary and also on the school website. These ‘Student Lesson Requirements’ are non-negotiable and are crucial if all students are going to engage with the lesson and make outstanding progress. The ‘Student Lesson Responsibilities’ are a set of expectations and protocols which remain the same in all lessons.

Teaching strategies

Rob Coe: ‘Pedagogy is a blend of theory (wisdom and intuition) and practice (skills and techniques)

The Purbeck School is wholly committed to CPD (continuing professional development) that enriches our understanding of excellent teaching, learning and assessment.

CPD takes many forms and these are explained in the school’s CPD Policy: CPD Policy

We are fortunate to practise teaching at a time where there is a rich amount of contemporary research and pedagogical theory available to us as professionals. The Purbeck School continues to invest development time engaging with current ideas and sharing good practice that is relevant to our setting.

The information that follows is, at the current time, a good summary of some of the most respected practitioners that we continue to access and are recommended as great points for reflections for teaching colleagues.

CPD: developing our pedagogy through reading, reflection and practice


Clever Lands – Lucy Creehan (2016)
Making Good Progress? The future of Assessment for Learning by Daisy Christodoulou (2017)
What if everything you knew about education was wrong? – David Didau (2015)
What Every Teacher Needs To Know About Psychology – David Didau and Nick Rose (2016)
Blink – Malcolm Gladwell (2005)
Bounce – Matthew Syed (2011)
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (2004) – Sean Covey
Making Every Lesson Count (2015) – Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby
Leading in a Culture of Change – Michael Fullen (2001)
The Learning Rainforest – Tom Sherrington (2017)

The following online blogs are also recommended:


Started by David Didau back in 2011, The Learning Spy was an outlet for this experienced teacher to discuss the state of the education system.


Run by Stephen Tierney, Leading Learner is a leading blog discussing the curriculum, learning, and leadership.


Tom Sherrington is education consultant with 29 years’ of teaching and head teaching experience behind him. His blog, Teacherhead, acts as the home for all of Sherrington’s advice, which crosses a wide span of topics including books you should read as a teacher to common pitfalls.


The Confident Teacher is run by Alex Quigley, an English Teacher, and author of two books: ‘Teach Now! English’ and ‘The Confident Teacher’. His site looks at everyday advice for those working in the profession including everything from developing handwriting to teacher workloads.


Shaun Allison has already been referenced in this policy (see his diagram for effective planning on page 3). This blog includes great pieces from his Research Ed work at Durrington High School.

Quality assurance: ensuring good practice

The effectiveness of teaching and learning is measured in a number of ways. Lessons are both informally and formally observed, the latter taking the form of appraisal observations of staff and observations occurring during the schedule of teaching and learning reviews. Additionally, close tracking and analysis of student progress data occurs regularly and through a series of line management structures.

To this end, the attainment of all students of every ability, including groups such as SEN, HPA and pupil premium children, is monitored rigorously.

Quality assurance also includes the self-review activities (learning walks, book looks, student voice captures etc.) that are completed by each department as referenced and guided within the Raising Achievement Document (RAD) and monitored by SLT links.

Home learning

At The Purbeck School, we believe completing home learning is essential to the academic success of all students. It gives students the opportunity to extend their learning and to reinforce what has been learned in class.

In Y7/8, home learning will be in three 20 minute parts:

  • Knowledge organiser self-quizzing.
  • Reading for pleasure.
  • Maths.

In Y9-11, home learning will be set that is specific to the subject course requirements. Tasks should be at least 60 mins in length. More information, including links to the home learning schedule can be found at: https://www.purbeck.dorset.sch.uk/information/curriculum/

Students may have the opportunity to take part in enrichment projects and further home learning. These are subject-based and aimed to stretch and challenge. House points are given to all students to reward hard work and effort.

If students are struggling with any aspect of their home learning then they should be encouraged to seek out their subject teacher and/or attend our after school home learning club.

If a student achieves ‘Excellence’ in their home learning then a house point will be given to reward their success. If a student fails to complete home learning that has been assigned to the required standard, then teachers will use lunch and afterschool detentions to tackle this. If a student persistently fails to complete their home learning on time, then the teacher will contact parents and may ask for them to attend afterschool supervised study in order to support them with the completion of their home learning.

Each day, students should complete their Home Learning Logs (Y7/8) or planners (Y9-11), ask their parents to check their completed home learning tasks and ask them to sign their log/planners.


At The Purbeck School, we believe that literacy underpins the self-confidence and academic success of students; in order to support high levels of literacy in all students, members of staff concentrate on developing the following strands of literacy in all students: oracy, reading and writing. Below are examples of some of the strategies that help to develop these areas of literacy across the school:

  • The expectation that students in years 7, 8 have a reading book on them at all times;
  • Support for students with lower than expected literacy through interventions such as core offer English, supported study classes, Lexia and SOUND;
  • Literacy passports for all year 7 students used in library lessons;
  • Reading home learning (see above) and tutor time reading, where students read two who works of fiction in tutor time each year;
  • Knowledge organisers which support the learning of subject specific vocabulary;
  • Department assessment policies that outline individual department commitment to improving whole school literacy;
  • A termly inter-school reading group with six local primary schools.

Further details about whole school literacy interventions and strategy can be found in staff documents.


Our core expectations

At The Purbeck School, assessment will…

  • be based on our high expectations for all students.
  • be based on developing the key knowledge and skills required for success at the end of Y11.
  • be based on regular formative assessment that identifies students strengths and weaknesses, identifies where appropriate strategic intervention is required and allows all students to grow and be successful.
  • involve periodic summative assessments to support the regular formative feedback.
  • be simple and easy to understand – for teachers, parents and students.
  • have consistent principles to be used across all subjects, but the flexibility to be suitable for all subjects

Our learning journey

Each subject area has identified the core knowledge and skills within their curriculum that students will need to master in order to achieve long term success. The knowledge and skills should link to the National Curriculum programme of study. Each subject has used this to plan backwards with the curriculum for Y7 – Y11. They have also taken into account what students should already know and be able to apply from the KS1 and KS2 Primary National Curriculum.

We have scaffolded student progress towards excellence through our ‘thresholds’. These stepping stones will support teachers’ plan for progression and focus assessments on the key knowledge and skills. By giving regular tailored feedback on what needs mastering, students gain valuable insight on how to progress to the next threshold.

ThresholdThe knowledge and skills a student needs to acquire to be:
Excellence· working above the national expected standard.
Secure· working at the national expected standard.
Developing· working towards the national expected standard.
Establishing· working towards the national expected standard.

This learning journey highlights that the ‘Secure’ threshold represents the national expected standard in order for a student to progress from KS2 Level 4/Scaled Score 100 to GCSE Grade 5.

The relationship between curriculum and assessment

Assessment should focus on…

  • What students have been taught?
  • What students have understood?
  • What students have remembered?

Formative assessment

Formative assessment is when teachers ‘use evidence of student learning to adapt teaching and learning, or instruction, to meet student needs’.

An effective teacher…

  • Establishes where students are in their learning.
  • Identifies the learning destination.
  • Carefully plans a route.
  • Begins the learning journey.
  • Makes regular checks on progress on the way.
  • Makes adjustments to the course as conditions dictate.

The Mastery model of teaching and learning requires strong formative assessment throughout the learning journey.

  • Revise and improve

o  The objective is to ensure that all students, before the teaching of a new idea begins, have the foundations for new learning. Pre- requisite skills are assessed, gaps and misconceptions are identified and addressed through direct and purposeful teaching.

  • Review and improve

o  Post unit assessments provide opportunities for students to show what they have learned well and what they need to develop.

Teachers learn whether their approach to teaching has had the desired impact. They offer another new opportunity to celebrate a student’s success. If a student has still not grasped an idea, then more corrective intervention can be planned and delivered.

Features of successful formative assessment

  • Specificity

o  Specific questions allow teachers to diagnose exactly what a pupil’s strengths and weaknesses are and make it obvious what to do next.

  • Frequency

o  The act of recalling information from memory actually helps to strengthen the memory itself. Testing doesn’t just help measure understanding; it helps develop understanding.

  • Repetition

o  Repetition of content and spaced practice helps consolidate memories and prevent pupils from forgetting. Valid formative inferences about learning can be made rather than using evidence from short term performance.

  • Recording as raw marks

o  Recording formative assessments as raw marks makes it easier to track lesson-by-lesson improvement. Recording question level data can help inform the teacher what to do next.

Summative assessment

Summative assessments need to be thorough to reinforce formative analysis. They need to be diagnostic to identify student’s strengths and weaknesses. Using GCSE style exam questions provides an assessment of a student’s depth of understanding. Summative assessments should be cumulative in nature. Each successive test assesses student’s knowledge of everything they have done so far.

Tracking progress

Each teacher will track and monitor every student’s progress towards their Target Threshold at least once each term. This will be categorised as:


In Y7 – 9, each teacher will track and monitor every student’s progress  towards their Target Threshold over the term. This will be categorised as:

Exceptional Progress (+3)A student is making exceptional progress if they are acquiring knowledge and skills in the threshold above the one they are working towards.
Good Progress (+2)A student is making good progress if they have acquired all of the knowledge and skills in the threshold they have covered so far.
Expected Progress (+1)A student is making expected progress if they have acquired most of the knowledge and skills in the threshold they have covered so far.
Below Expected Progress (0)A student is making below expected progress if they are not acquiring the knowledge and skills in the threshold they have covered so far.


The attitude to learning and effort a student puts into their study in lessons and at home is crucial to long term success. This is judged within four categories.

A student making Outstanding effort…

Outstanding effort means being committed to getting the most out of all learning opportunities available. It is what all students should aim for.

  • Actively participates in the lesson at all times, and is fully engaged;
  • Actively seeks feedback on how to improve the quality of their work;
  • Shows great resilience and perseveres with all challenges, even when they are difficult;
  • Manages their time and work efficiently and is highly disciplined;
  • Uses their initiative in a range of situations and doesn’t always have to be told what to do;
  • Consistently makes an Outstanding level of effort, working above and beyond expectations.

A student currently making Good effort…

Good effort means being a responsible and hardworking student who tries their best all of the time.

  • Shows a good interest in their learning and is attentive and focused;
  • Responds well to feedback and targets and completes work to the expected standard;
  • Shows resilience and is willing to persevere when things are difficult;
  • Takes responsibility for their work and is well organised;
  • Willingly does all that is asked of them and sometimes more;
  • Consistently makes a Good level of effort across all subject areas.

A student that currently Requires Improvement in terms of effort…

Effort that Requires Improvement means that a student is probably doing most of what they are supposed to do but is failing to push him or herself or make the most of the opportunities available.

  • Often participates in lessons and is generally focused and well behaved;
  • May not try hard enough to improve their work after feedback;
  • Is usually well organised but does the minimum that is asked of them and not much more;
  • Might make a Good level of effort in some lessons but this is not consistent.

A student currently making Unsatisfactory effort…

Unsatisfactory effort means that a student needs support or intervention to become a more responsible learner.

  • Makes little effort to be involved in the lesson and may disrupt the learning of others instead;
  • Fails to act on feedback provided and as a result may not make much progress;
  • Is not interested in being challenged and will give up without really trying;
  • Spends an inadequate amount of time on tasks and takes little pride in their work;
  • Takes little or no responsibility for their own learning or behaviour;
  • Effort is frequently a cause for concern.



The following link and pages include useful references to support teachers:

Lesson plan template.

Although The Purbeck School does not prescribe to a particular planning document, the one document that follows is intended as a useful reference that may be provided to observers in contexts such as lesson observations for appraisal. Go to: Moodle/staffhandbook/appraisal/lessonplantemplate

The Teachers’ Standards document for reference.


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:

1 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.

2 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.

3 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.

4 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).

5 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.

6 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.

7 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.

8 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.



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