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Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching and Learning


Aims and purposes


The aim for our school is for staff and pupils to, ‘Learn Together…Grow Individually’ and to ensure everybody achieves their full potential.  Across our school the expectation is that all pupils are provided with high quality learning experiences that lead to consistently high levels of achievement and progress. We recognise every pupils’ needs by providing, challenge and support with consistency across the school. There is no set or prescribed lesson format, however there are clear ‘non-negotiables’ that we expect all of our pupils to experience within their learning at Grove.


We strive for every teacher to be an outstanding teacher – no pupil at Grove Primary deserves less.


By adopting a whole school approach to teaching and learning across our school we aim:

  • To provide stimulating, exciting and creative learning experiences that foster and encourage independence.
  • To provide a consistent approach of teaching and learning across our school.
  • To enable pupils to learn in a safe and enabling environment where they feel valued.
  • To give children the skills and behaviours for learning they require to become effective lifelong learners.
  • To provide an inclusive education for all pupils.
  • To develop pupil’s Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural understanding.
  • To involve parents as partners in learning through the setting of regular homework (see our Homework Policy).
  • To support learning outside the classroom (e.g. celebratory events, assemblies, social times) by including all staff in school within this policy.


We believe all lessons across our school should include the following key elements to ensure high quality teaching and learning. New teachers to our schools will receive training to ensure they fully understand these elements and to enable them to embed them in their everyday practice.


All lessons will have:


  • Differentiated learning objectives shared with pupils and included on all written work.  We aim for pupils to be able to articulate what they are learning as opposed to what they are doing.
  • Success criteria or steps to success are provided so pupils clearly understand what they need to do to achieve.  These may be drawn out from modelled whole class work.
  • A pace appropriate to the content being taught and needs of the pupils.
  • Work matched to the needs and abilities of pupils involving a mixture of new learning and reinforcing concepts.
  • Flexibility to be adapted
  • A focus on developing one of our Golden Behaviours for Learning (Independence, Collaboration, Pride, High Aspirations, Resilience and Personal Responsibility).
  • Been well planned with high quality resources.
  • Pupils actively engaged during all parts of the lesson.
  • Effective and differentiated questioning.
  • Opportunities for reflection on learning and any targets set.
  • Assessment for learning embedded and used to inform teaching and learning.
  • Opportunities to Think/Pair/Share and discussions with a Talk Partner are regular features in lessons.
  • A consistent approach to behaviour management that allows all pupils to learn (see our Behaviour Policy).
  • Additional adults who are used to support pupil’s learning and will work with a range of ability groups.



Our Curriculum


Our Curriculum has been designed to be broad and balanced with a clear progression in skills and content across all subjects from Nursery to Year 6.  It is based on the National Curriculum Framework of 2014 but is personalised to the needs and requirements of our school.  The foundation subjects are taught discretely in Key Stages 1 and 2. In Key Stage 2 we follow a two year cycle in the foundation subjects as our school sometimes has mixed-aged classes.


The Early Years

We provide a secure and supportive environment in which every child can flourish and learn at their own pace in their own individual way.  Our role is to stimulate and encourage their development and enjoyment of learning through a variety of different activities in secure indoor and outdoor situations, through child initiated and structured activities.


We encourage children to:

  • develop their attention and resilience to concentrate on their own play or group tasks.
  • be responsible for their own learning and build on their experiences to become reflective thinkers.
  • develop the growth of social skills and empathy amongst the children.

The relationships which the children develop with each other, and with our staff, are central to their happiness and lay the best possible foundation for their future.


There are 3 main aspects of learning we follow:

· Play and exploring – children investigate and experience things and have a go.

 · Active learning – children concentrate and keep trying if they encounter difficulties and they enjoy their achievements.

 · Creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies.


We cover 7 areas of learning as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum:


Communication and Language- Children will be given lots of opportunities to develop speaking and listening skills, one to one, in small groups and as a class. In a range of situations such as circle time and storytelling children learn to listen attentively and respond with relevant comments. We also encourage our children to be inquisitive and ask and answer questions in response to stories we share. They will show understanding of instructions and learn to express themselves clearly and effectively when speaking one to one or in a group.


Physical Development- This area of learning helps improve children’s skills of coordination, control, manipulation and movement.  Also, in the classroom through activities to develop hand-eye coordination, such as mark making, playing with puzzles, threading, sewing, and playing with clay and play dough. Our children have free access to the outdoor area where there are opportunities for climbing, scrambling, balancing and riding wheeled toys. Children are encouraged to recognise the importance of exercise and a healthy diet and how to keep healthy and safe. They manage their own personal hygiene, and dress and toilet independently.


Personal, Social and Emotional Development- Children will be helped to develop a positive attitude and sense of well-being. They will be able to make friendships with others, learn to be self-confident and to tell the difference between right and wrong.  We encourage the children to be as independent as possible in selecting activities and taking care of resources and equipment. We aim to foster respect and understanding amongst the children by making class rules, circle time and opportunities for paired and group work. We choose '2 Special Helpers' for the session, who help with small tasks in the classroom.


Literacy- They will be given opportunities to hear and re-tell stories, using big books, puppets, story boards, story sacks and story boxes. All children's early attempts at mark making are valued. They take place with a variety of resources, both indoors and outdoors.  Children learn to read using Letters and Sounds and Jolly Phonics, which uses songs and actions to help with learning sounds.


Mathematics- Children will begin to become comfortable with numbers for counting, to recognise numerals and to begin to add and subtract in practical ways. They will begin to use mathematical language to compare size, shapes and quantities. They will discover ways of solving practical problems and recognising patterns and connections.  They learn through lots of games and practical activities using maths apparatus. Also, through activities such as cooking, playing in the sand, water and with construction.


Understanding the World- Children will be encouraged to explore and find out about the world around them. They will build with different materials and learn about everyday technology. They will find out about past events in their lives and in their families' lives. They will learn to understand their own culture and to understand and respect the cultures and beliefs of others.  Inside and outside the classroom children are given lots of opportunities to experience information technology and to explore and investigate objects in a scientific way. We aim to make the most of all the opportunities available in our outdoor area, so that our children can experience different types of weather and environments for themselves.


Expressive Arts and Design- We believe that creativity is fundamental to successful learning. This area of the curriculum includes art, music, dance, role-play and imaginative play.  Children will be encouraged to express their individual ideas through a wide range of activities, such as painting, collage, construction, singing and playing musical instruments, role-play and imaginative play.


Our outdoor area is an extension of the classroom and we are very fortunate to have this excellent learning resource. Using this encourages skills of negotiation and turn-taking, speaking and listening, scientific enquiry as well as the obvious physical ones.  Throughout the week the children will take part in Cooking, PE and Woods based activities.



Key Stages One and Two

All classes have a Maths, Literacy, Guided Reading and Big Maths session each day.  In Key Stage 1 we also have a daily session of ‘letters and Sounds’ focussing on phonics.


Literacy- We believe that language and Literacy is fundamental to the overall development of the child and enables their access to the curriculum in all its aspects.  We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our English lessons to ensure all children are included and valued, following the 2014 National Curriculum.  Pupils will be given the opportunity to develop their use, knowledge and understanding of spoken and written English within a broad and balanced curriculum, with opportunities to consolidate and reinforce literacy skills.  We strive to deliver English in a cross-curricular manner to enable the learning to take place through a source of interest and enjoyment.  Each lesson contains a focus on Grammar or Spelling.


Guided Reading- Four days a week we teach a discrete Guided Reading session where the pupils work in differentiated groups on reading, grammar, handwriting, spelling and comprehension activities.  Some groups work with an adult while the remaining groups work independently.


Letters and Sounds- We use these sessions to teach systematic synthetic phonics.  Letters and Sounds is taught daily as a discrete session throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One.  In Key Stage Two it is used as an intervention for those who need further support.  Children are taught in small ability groups that are appropriate to their stage of reading.  Phonics teaching is monitored and assessed by the class teacher.


Mathematics- Our Mathematics curriculum is based on the National Curriculum which sets out clear expectations for each year group on Number, Calculation, Geometry, Measures and Statistics.  We place greater emphasis on understanding Number and place value as this forms a crucial foundation to the other areas of Mathematics.  This is reinforced by daily Big Maths sessions focussing on number skills in small differentiated groups with an adult.


Science- This is taught in discrete lessons in both Key Stages covering the National Curriculum in termly or half-termly units.


Foundation Subjects- These are taught in a more cross-curricular way in Key Stage One and discretely in Key Stage Two.  The topics have been carefully chosen and planned to ensure there is a clear progression of units and skills within and across each year. Each topic is taught in half-termly units to ensure all pupils cover a broad range (see Curriculum pages for greater detail).






At Grove Primary School we believe that assessment provides the basis of informed teaching, helping pupils to overcome difficulties and ensuring that teaching builds upon what has been learned. It is also the means by which pupils understand what they have achieved and what they need to work on.

Formative assessment creates a positive learning environment where pupils can see the steps necessary for their own success. It enables teachers to set appropriate work at the level necessary for the pupils’ continuing progress.

Summative assessment is important for accurate information regarding a pupil’s attainment and progress. It informs whole school target setting and prediction of a cohort’s future attainment.


Our aims for Assessment:


  • To raise the standards of achievement throughout the school.
  • To maintain accurate records of the progress and attainment of individual pupils and cohorts.
  • To ensure consistency in assessing achievement and identifying achievable and challenging targets for each pupil.
  • To enable the active involvement of pupils in their own learning.
  • To enable teachers and other professionals to use assessment judgements to plan work that accurately reflects the needs of individual pupils.
  • To provide regular information for parents that enables them to support their child’s learning.
  • To provide the information that allows school leaders and governors to make judgements about the effectiveness of the school and to evaluate the school’s performance against its own previous attainment over time and against national standards.


Types of assessment:


At Grove Primary, we use a combination of formative and summative assessment as outlined below:


Formative Assessment (Assessment for Learning – AfL)

Formative assessment is a powerful way of raising pupils’ achievement. It is based on the principle that pupils will improve most if they understand the aim of their learning, where they are in relation to this aim and how they can achieve the aim.

Formative assessments are used to:

  • identify pupils’ strengths and gaps in their skills/knowledge
  • identify next steps for learning
  • inform future planning
  • enable appropriate strategies to be employed
  • facilitate the setting of appropriate targets for the class, group, and individual
  • track pupils’ rate of progress
  • facilitate an evaluation of the effectiveness of teaching and learning
  • inform future teaching and learning strategies
  • identify individuals and groups for specific intervention support.


Summative Assessment - Assessment of Learning

Summative assessment (Assessment of Learning) is important for informing both parents and teachers of a pupil’s attainment and progress. This will also inform whole school target setting and prediction of a cohort’s future attainment.

Summative assessments:

  • identify attainment through one-off standardised tests at any given point in time
  • record performance in a specific area on a specific date
  • provide age standardised information
  • provide end of key stage test data against which the school will be judged
  • ensure statutory assessments at the end of EYFS, KS1 and KS2 are met
  • provide information about cohort areas of strength and weakness to build from in the future


Assessment Methods


Teachers use a range of assessment tools and materials (including analysis of pupil’s work in books, guided reading records and results of class tests/published tests) alongside on-going focused marking and notes of pupil observations to inform their assessment of progress for individual pupils and groups.

Once a week we have a ‘show what you know’ morning (usually Fridays) where the children can demonstrate the skills they have acquired over the week which allows the teacher to assess what learning has been retained.  The children demonstrate their mathematical understanding through a number bonds and Big Maths test.  In the Literacy lesson the pupils do an extended writing task.  These activities are also used to assess pupils’ understanding against their personal targets.




Regular moderation of assessments takes place each term to ensure consistency in judgements. Teachers meet in phase groups or in cross phase groups to analyse pupil's work against our Assessment Grids or Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP). During the summer term, teachers in Reception, Year 2 and Year 6 are involved in formal teacher assessments, as part of end of Key Stage assessments and local authority moderation.



Assessing against our Curriculum


Pupils in all Years are assessed against our curriculum using age related expectations.  The curriculum sets out the content, knowledge and skills pupils are expected to acquire each Year.



At Grove we have split the expectations for each Year Group (band) into three steps of Beginning (B), Working within (W), and Secure (S).  We expect each pupils to make at least one step progress each term as set out below:


Year Group

End of the Autumn term

End of the Spring term

End of the Summer term


30-50 W

30-50 S

40-60 B


40-60 W

40-60 S



























For pupils to be ‘Secure’ at the end of the year they understand and can apply most of the objectives for that year group, and are on track to meet age related expectation at the end of the Key Stage.  Our focus is on all pupils making minimum expected progress irrelevant of their starting point.  For those pupils who are working below our expectation we provide intervention and additional support to allow them to make accelerated progress to achieve age related expectation.

The staff at Grove Primary have written our own assessment guidelines based on the National Curriculum and Climbing Frames by Sue Hackman setting out the expectations for each step (which can be found on our website).  We use a ‘best-fit’ system when assessing pupils’ attainment.


When do we assess?

We carry out summative assessments half termly in Maths, Reading, Grammar, Spelling and Writing in Key Stages One and Two.  All other subjects are assessed termly.  Data is collected half termly in the Foundation Stage against the 7 areas of learning.

We carry out statutory assessments (End of Key Stage tests, phonics check, EYFS profile) according to the National timetables.


Tracking data

Summative data is entered into one central system allowing us to track each pupil’s progress from entry to exit.  Class teachers are responsible for monitoring and tracking data at class and pupil level identifying strengths and areas to focus on for all pupils and our vulnerable groups (Pupil Premium, Gender, SEND).  The data by pupil, class, cohort and groups are monitored half termly by the assessment coordinator and Headteacher through Pupil Progress Meetings with all teachers.  This allows us to identify trends and areas of strengths and weaknesses across the school.





We believe marking should provide constructive feedback to every pupil, focusing on success and improvement against learning objectives.  Marking is a fundamental element of the assessment of children’s work, helping pupils become reflective learners and to close the gap between current and desired performance.  We believe the most effective marking is carried out during the lesson with the pupil to have an immediate impact on their learning.




We aim to promote high quality marking throughout the school using an approach that is both manageable and effective


 Effective marking should:


  • Provide a dialogue between teachers and pupils.
  • Give pupils clear strategies on how they can improve their work.
  • Provide a tool for teacher assessment – diagnostic, formative or summative.
  • Help the teacher to evaluate teaching and inform planning.
  • Positively reinforce pupils’ achievement.
  • Allow specific time for pupils to read, reflect and respond to marking where appropriate (in green pen).


Marking Procedures


  • A red pen will always be used by all adults marking work which clearly contrasts to the pupil’s work.
  • The marking scheme will be used consistently throughout KS1 and KS2. This is displayed in all classrooms, so adults and pupils are aware of the meanings of the codes
  • Teachers will use feedback from marking to assess against current targets and inform future targets and planning.
  • Wherever possible, marking will be related to a clear learning objective and success criteria, which has been shared with the pupils.
  • Incorrect spellings must be corrected in a method appropriate to the pupil’s ability, focusing on the high frequency words which the pupil is expected to know and those words which can be easily segmented into their separate phonemes.
  • Marking will celebrate success whenever possible in order to raise self-esteem and encourage all pupils to work to their full potential.
  • Work will regularly be assessed against the expectations in our assessment grids to determine attainment and track achievement.
  • Stamps and stickers may be used as praise for a particularly good piece of work.
  • KS1 stampers should be used in all subjects in pupils’ work, as it is felt that these are more appropriate for the pupils to understand (See Appendix B).
  • Learning objectives are highlighted according to understanding in green for achieved, pink for not achieved and hatched for partially achieved

Frequency of Marking 


  • Literacy and Numeracy work must be marked after each lesson in order to inform next steps and in greater detail once in every 3 pieces.
  • All extended writing will include formative feedback.
  • Marking for other subjects should take place soon after the work has been completed and handed back as soon as possible.
  • Marking can take place during the lesson alongside the child, providing immediate feedback. In these circumstances the work will be marked with a V to show verbal feedback.
  • ‘Distance’ marking should be returned before the next session of that subject.

Grove Primary School makes use of three forms of marking/feedback:


Verbal feedback


We recognise the importance of pupils receiving regular verbal feedback. The adult will initially talk to the pupil about how they have met the learning objective and then question the pupil about a specific part of the work. This may be to correct a pupil’s understanding or to extend the pupil’s learning. The work will then be marked with a V to show verbal feedback. Pupils of all ages need verbal feedback, but this is particularly important in the early years and KS1 where pupils may be unable to read a written comment.


Summative feedback/Marking:


This usually consists of ticks and dots for mistakes and is associated with closed tasks or exercises where the answer is either right or wrong. This can also be marked by the children, as a class or in groups.


Formative feedback ‘Closing the Gap’ Marking:


This should be used when the learning outcome has not been reached and the child requires structured support to progress. Teachers focus on both successes against the learning intention and improvement needs.


 When “Closing the Gap”, teachers:


  • Read the entire piece of work.
  • Highlight with a tick or with a highlighter pen the appropriate number of examples where the specific learning intention has been met.
  • Identify work that could be improved (in relation to the learning intention and success criteria)
  • Provide a focused next step comment which should help the pupil to ‘close the gap’ between what they have achieved and what they could have achieved.
  • Allow pupils time to respond to marking – give them a chance to correct misconceptions. 


Useful closing the gap comments are:

  • a reminder prompt: Remember to…
  • a question prompt: How do you think the dog felt?   What is 37 + 38 =
  • a scaffold prompt: The monster was so angry that he….
  • Modelling: The dog was so surprised that he did something never to be forgotten.
  • 48 + 64 = (40 + 60) + (8 + 4) = 100 + 12 = 112


How do pupils evaluate their own learning?


  • At Grove Primary School, pupils always have learning objectives given for the lesson. At the end of lessons and part way through, the pupils are asked to look at their work and see whether they have met the objective, usually using the success criteria which have been shared at the beginning of the lesson.
  • Teachers also sometimes provide specific or generic success criteria checklists for pupils to either tick as they work or when they have completed a piece of work i.e. marking ladders.
  • Pupils may use smiley faces or traffic lights to indicate whether they have understood the learning in the lesson. They may also write a comment concerning their understanding in green pen.


Peer Marking


We encourage pupils to peer mark so they develop a deeper understanding of the learning objective. The following points are important:


  • Pupils need to be trained to do this through modelling with the whole class, watching the peer marking in action.
  • Ground rules should be decided as a class and adhered to.
  • Pupils should identify things that match the success criteria and then suggest a way to improve the piece but only against the learning objective.
  • Encourage dialogue between the pupils rather than one being the ‘teacher’.


How do teachers in the foundation stage mark pupils’ work?


In Reception, the teachers focus on giving verbal feedback to the pupils but they may write a comment with them. Staff also annotate the work as part of the process of gathering information for the EYFSP. This can carry on into KS1 in some instances in that it is expected that pupils will often have work marked with them rather than away from them. Teachers will use the V for verbal discussion symbol and may record elements of the learning conversation.


Monitoring and Review


The Headteacher is responsible for the implementation of this policy. Subject leaders, when monitoring their subject, will inspect work samples to ensure the policy is implemented.


Date: September 2015


Review Date: September 2016