Tea & Tours

Read More

Learning and Teaching Policy

Author (Reviewed by):  Ruth Lea
Date: June 22
Shared with Staff and Governors:
June 22
Date of next review: June 24

Our philosophy of learning 

Deep and meaningful learning occurs when students 

  • have long term retention of knowledge and skills  
  • can transfer their learning to different contexts 
  • are resilient and know what to do when they do not know what to do 
  • change their view of the world or opinions as a result of new learning    

Everyone is seen as a learner at JCG and we recognise the importance of developing a growth mindset culture amongst our staff, students and parents in order to excel as both learners and educators. (See Appendix 1)  

Teaching and Learning  

Extract from Making Every Lesson Count, Tharby and Allison  

Teachers are responsible for:   

  • Providing students with challenge and support, so that they are encouraged to think hard, and learn how to be resilient and resourceful. 
  • Tethering new ideas and skills to prior knowledge when introducing and explaining. Allowing for the limited capacity of the human thinking memory when transforming abstract ideas into concrete ones.  
  • Modelling excellence (e.g. examples, non-examples and demonstrations), so that students know how to apply their knowledge and skills and what quality work looks like. 
  • Giving students time for careful deliberate practice, reducing the scaffolding as they progress enabling them to work with effort just beyond their comfort zone. Providing multiple opportunities to revisit learning by spacing and interleaving.   
  • Encouraging students to believe in themselves and hence excel in their efforts to produce work reflecting their personal best. 
  • Carefully selecting learning descriptors which most accurately reflect the learning dispositions demonstrated by the student. 
  • Providing feedback to help students identify the next steps in their learning. 
  • Accurately applying the assessment grade descriptors and communicating these to ensure students know where they are in their learning. 
  • Keeping abreast of the latest evidence-based learning research, observing good practice, giving feedback to colleagues and reflecting on their own practice.    

Embedding these principles within our teaching provides a framework with a common language for talking about teaching while enabling us the flexibility and freedom to teach in our own style.  We recognise that the application of these principles will look different across and within subjects. The principles do not represent a lesson plan; an individual lesson may focus on just one of the principles.  

Students should take responsibility for: 

  • Developing an excellent attitude to learning. To achieve this, students will be motivated, committed and aspire to do their best; they will persevere in their learning and respond positively to feedback. 
  • Being thoroughly prepared for learning. To achieve this, students will arrive on time and ready to learn; they will submit work on time and bring the correct equipment to lessons. 
  • Demonstrating excellent behaviour for learning. To achieve this, students will collaborate constructively and generously, manage distractions and listen carefully; they will be respectful and kind and demonstrate interest and curiosity. 
  • Making excellent progress. To achieve this, students will make significant progress from their starting point, use feedback to reflect and improve and make links between concepts.

Effective learning requires these attributes and dispositions.  

Heads of Department and Heads of Faculty are responsible for: 

  • In liaison with Heads of School, monitoring, evaluating and acting to continually improve the quality of teaching and learning within their Department / Faculty. 
  • Taking action to ensure that the learning and teaching policy is fully embedded. 

Heads of School / Sixth Form are responsible for:  

  • In liaison with Heads of Faculty, monitoring, evaluating and acting to continually improve the quality of teaching and learning within their School / the Sixth Form.  

The Principal is responsible for: 

  • Ensuring that all members of the College take responsibility for implementing the policy. 
  • Providing appropriate support and necessary action to ensure the policy has a positive impact on learning and achievement and the quality of teaching.   

Parents/guardians should be encouraged to take responsibility for: 

  • Supporting and being involved in their child’s learning. 
  • Being aware of their child’s learning targets and celebrate their achievements. 
  • Being aware that progress in learning is not linear. 
  • Understanding that individuals have differing abilities and supporting their child’s needs. 
  • Ensuring their child comes to College prepared to learn. 
  • Attending parent evenings, showing enthusiasm and participating in constructive discussions with regard to their child’s progress. 
  • Reading, understanding and engaging with assessment and reporting descriptors.  
  • Being aware of their child’s next steps in becoming a better learner. Supporting their child appropriately with their home learning.   

The Governing Body: 

  • holds the College to account to ensure effective teaching and learning to secure high standards of achievement and progress.  

The impact of the policy will be assessed by:

  • formal and informal surveys of student attitudes to learning 
  • learning walks, lesson observations, SLT pop ins (see Appendix 2) 
  • rewards systems (Achievement and Behaviour marks), progress measures and examination results 

Relationship to other policies  

Internal Policies:   

Appendix 1 - Useful resources for teaching and learning

Teaching Walkthrus 

This collection of ‘five-step’ guides for teachers compiled by Tom Sherrington and Oliver Caviglioli is an excellent resource for teachers. ‘It is a beautifully illustrated tour of the most important things to be thinking about in teaching and in the leadership of teaching’ - Dylan William. A copy of Teaching Walkthrus can be found in all Faculty offices for staff reference.  


 A level Mindset (VESPA)

 The Five Elements of the VESPA Mindset There are five key elements to success at A level and these five elements can be learned. Together, the five elements are called VESPA.  

V = Vision  How well do you know what you want to achieve?  

E = Effort  How many hours of independent work do you do per week?   

S = Systems  How do you organise your learning and time?   

P = Practice  What kind of work do you do to practice your skills?   

A = Attitude  How do you respond to setbacks?  



Additional Learning Research for Teachers’ reference 


Effective strategies for learning  

Appendix 2 - Guidance for Lesson Observation, Learning walks and SLT pop ins

JCG is committed to building a culture where observation of practice is intrinsic to the life of the College, non-threatening, and completely synonymous with our pursuit of excellence.  

We aim for all teaching to be judged as good or outstanding and use the evidence from all forms of classroom observation to evaluate our success in fulfilling this aim, in addition to providing professional development and identifying good practice. Our lesson observation form can be found at this link: Lesson observation blank form 

 All forms of classroom observations are developmental and supportive and those involved in the process will:   

  • carry out the role with professionalism, integrity and courtesy;  
  • evaluate objectively;  
  • report accurately and fairly; and 
  • respect the confidentiality of the information gained.  

We observe in order to: 

  • praise and celebrate good practice 
  • empower staff to perform their roles competently and professionally 
  • support staff as they develop their knowledge and skills in striving for professional excellence 
  • allow for the sharing and dissemination of good practice
  • assess the impact of teaching and learning on students’ attainment 
  • inform and facilitate the monitoring of the School Development Plan  
  • inform the ongoing development of the curriculum 
  • help to identify priorities for staff development 
  • provide information for the self-evaluation process 
  • know strengths and areas for development of teaching  

Learning Walks and SLT pop ins

  • conducted on an ad-hoc basis throughout the school year
  • should be no longer than 15 minutes
  • every member of staff will have an annual visit by a member of SLT  

Learning walks

  •  Staff can be informed to expect a visit 
  • should be no longer than 15 minutes. 
  • HOD and HOF should complete regular learning walks of their respective areas  
  • HOF should encourage all their staff to conduct learning walks. 
  • Learning walk observations should be documented using the agreed form

Expectations for informal and formal observations  

The Observer and Observed will: 

  • agree the lesson, the duration and, where appropriate, the focus of the observation 
  • make clear the expectations regarding planning documentation 
  • discuss and agree the level of the interaction between observer and students whilst in the classroom 
  • agree the most appropriate position in the classroom  
  • agree that feedback will not be given immediately at the end of the lesson and arrange a time for detailed and constructive verbal and/or written feedback, focusing on the progress of the learners, within 3 working days of the observation.  

The Observer will:  

  • be punctual
  • be flexible and sensitive to the situation on the day
  • use the agreed school’s proforma to record evidence
  • thank the teacher before leaving the room.  

Formal Observations 

  • These will normally be undertaken by the line manager as appropriate and agreed, such as HoD, HoF and, also by members of the Senior Leadership Team. 
  • A copy of the observation record sheet will be shared with the observed colleague who should then save this in their appraisal folder in SharePoint. 
  • Teachers, who have a responsibility for making formal observations, should take part in an observation moderation exercise with a colleague on a regular basis (paired observation).