learning:

At Hele’s School we aspire to create an environment which is “a great place to learn. A great place to grow”. It is a collective aim of all members of our school community to create a school based on excellence, challenge and support.

We have an analytical approach to teaching and learning and encourage teachers to use traditional methods that are proven to work and combine this with the latest international educational evidence on how students learn best. We encourage teachers to adapt their teaching based on their deep knowledge of their students and how to get the best from them.

As a school, we have defined the features of the most effective classrooms and, as a result, require these aspects to be present in all lessons. These are known as the Hele’s Dozen:

We are always very proud of our school when showing visitors around, because they regularly comment on the calm, purposeful learning environment and great working relationships between staff and students. This is because we have the same high expectations of our learners, that we have of our staff.

We have observed our most effective learners in action and discussed with them what makes them so successful, and from this the Magnificent Seven were born!

All students are expected to exhibit the Magnificent Seven in all lessons:

It is important that we refuse to accept anything less than a student’s best efforts. If this happens, staff are asked to take action and communicate concerns. The following expectations are consistently reinforced:

  • Students are expected to take pride in the condition and presentation of your work in all books and folders
  • No graffiti or scribbles will be allowed.
  • Each piece of work should have a date, a title and c/w (classwork) or h/w (homework)
  • Underline all headings using a pen/pencil and a ruler
  • Write in blue or black ink (unless corrections are being made, in which case green pen should be used)
  • Handwriting should be neat and legible
  • Draw all diagrams and graphs with a pencil
  • Errors should be crossed out with a single line
  • Always use a ruler and pencil for drawing straight lines
  • All work must be proof-read before it is handed in and students will be expected to write “This is the very best work I can do”.
  • Use DIRT time well to make improvements to work. Remember: it takes practice to achieve quality.
  • Sub-standard work must be rewritten

Tutors conduct daily “readiness for learning” checks and, if necessary, students are provided with the equipment in order to ensure learning continues without interruption. However, the student is then required to reflect on the importance of being ready for learning as part of a school detention.

Students should bring the following equipment to school every day:

We talk a lot about commitment to learning, because we recognise that that to be successful it requires hard work, persistence and determination.

Prior to each interim assessment, we require each student to reflect on their commitment to learning and this is discussed with their teachers. Parents receive a summary of their child’s commitment to learning in all subjects on their reports.

Frequency of written formative feedback:

Formative assessment (teacher comments and targets; annotation of work) should be fed back as soon as possible after the assessment for maximum effect.

Core subjects: English, Maths,  Science

Foundation Subjects

KS3

Minimum of twice a term for all, more frequently for targeted learners.

Minimum of once a new term.

KS4

Minimum of twice a term for all, more frequently for targeted learners.

KS5

Staff will adopt the following consistent practice:

www (what went well) – comments on progress in line with learning outcomes.
ebi (even better if) – comments on what to do to improve to meet learning outcomes.

“Green pen” marking and DIRT time are expected to enable learners to improve their work.

Frequency of summative written feedback:

Summative feedback using grades and levels should be given at least once per interim assessment (IA)  cycle and learners should receive feedback within two weeks of completion of the work. This will then inform the IAs.

Progress sheets will be completed for each summative assessment.

All learners will have a Progress Tracker stuck in the front of their books/files and should be given an opportunity to update it following each summative assessment. Upon the work being returned, learners should be encouraged to make improvements to their work.

Informal Verbal Feedback

The on-going dialogue with learners about their progress is critical. Evidence suggests that instant, verbal feedback in lessons to help learners reshape their learning is of vital importance. This enables staff to plan and response astutely to meet the needs of all learners.

Self and Peer Assessment

We recognize the value of learners assessing both themselves and their peers as part of the wider programme of assessment for learning:

  • Ensures student engagement in a learning dialogue
  • Forces students to proof-read their work before handing it in
  • If students have meaningful success criteria, it enables them to “think like an examiner”, thereby better understanding what is required of them
  • Peer assessment can inspire learners to improve as they can see what the next step/grade looks like
  • Students can learn from marking others’ work and add to their own

Effective and Ineffective feedback

In June 2016, teaching staff reflected on how to ensure maximum impact from feedback to learners:

Effective feedback Ineffective feedback
A two-way dialogue
Verbal feedback with students
Motivation
Written feedback should be planned, timely and used for key pieces that students have spent time developing
Quick turnaround
Self/peer assessment
DIRT
In language/handwriting that students can understand
Codes
Little and often
Appropriate for topic and students
Focussed on a specific learning objective
Students are clear on their next steps in learning
A question to be answers during DIRT that takes their learning to a new level
Students acting on feedback and doing DIRT
Tick and flick
Marking everything
Very lengthy teacher comments/over marking
Not specific
Retrospective marking
No opportunity to develop next steps
Grades/percentages on their own
Spending 10-15 minutes on each book picking up all mistakes
Marking all literacy errors

Literacy: Reading, Writing, Communication and Maths (RWCM)

All staff must actively promote literacy and numeracy across the curriculum through feedback.

In order for students to transfer literacy skills across the curriculum, it is important that all subjects that assess students through writing, feedback to students on their accuracy.

To make this meaningful for staff and students, we have  a common language.

Spelling is marked selectively and the focus should be corrections of subject specific vocabulary and commonly used words. Staff are expected to  be aware of students who have specific learning difficulties surrounding spelling. Identified errors should be correct by the student and written out 5 times.

s spelling g grammar
h homophone // paragraphing
p punctuation ? Re-read – this section does not currently make sense

“The evidence shows that the impact of homework, on average, is five months’ additional progress.”

Education Endowment Fund

Home learning is a critical part of delivering the curriculum and needs to be treated as such. It is not an optional extra (for either staff or students!). Used effectively it can aid students’ understanding of a subject, allow students to explore certain aspects of the subject in a bit more depth, and develop students’ research skills. 

More importantly, however, setting home learning is one of the main ways in which a school can instil a sense of self-motivation in its students and a recognition that school work is done both at school and at home. 

The really successful students will be those who put in the hours at home as well as at school. Setting regular home learning right from the start of year 7 is vital if we are to create a work ethic in students that encompasses both work undertaken at school and work done at home. 

Our belief:

Home learning is an intrinsic part of education, and allows students the opportunity to pursue learning independently. As well as subject specific progress, home learning enables students to develop skills and habits essential to making good progress. We believe that home learning should be a valid and relevant activity, which allows pupils to move their understanding forward, develops their working memory or prepares them for the learning journey ahead. Some tasks will be enquiry based, and may well be purely for the love of learning! Staff should have the freedom and flexibility to set home learning as appropriate within a sequence of lessons, but mindful of the timetable below. 

Time Allocations

KS3

KS4

KS5 Advanced Courses

Maths, Science, English, MFL

All other subjects (excluding PE)

1 home learning task of up to 30-40mins per week

1 home learning task of up to 30-40 mins per fortnight

All examined subjects to set a weekly home learning task of up to one hour

An expectation of 9 hours of independent learning per fortnight for examined advanced subjects. This will include work set by the teacher, revision, and wider reading

Effective learners should accept challenge and take opportunities to extend tasks, or take on those with greater demand.

All home learning should be recorded on the ClassCharts as well as the student planner

Expectations:

Teachers

  • Set according to the guidance above
  • Ensure it is a valid activity with robust learning objectives that will move learning forward for the individual pupil.
  • Give clear guidance as to the length of time the activity should take and the location of any resources necessary to complete the activity.
  • Give a clear deadline by which the work should be completed, which will not be the next day, unless in exceptional circumstances.
  • Give students sufficient time in lessons to write home learning tasks in planners (preferably at the beginning rather than end of a lesson).
  • Endeavour to ensure that during half-terms and holidays learners have less home learning than during term-time.
  • Adapt/differentiate to suit each learner to ensure accessibility (i.e. stretch the most able and, at the same time, permit students of lower ability to achieve a significant end product.).  For example the use of a ‘Takeaway Home Learning’ menu.
  • Review Home Learning to assess pupils progress and ensure it is being completed. (in accordance with the school Marking and Feedback policy, which over time includes self and peer assessment, teacher acknowledgement and formative marking in a verbal or written format.)  Time should be given to learners to correct Home Learning. All Home Learning marks should be recorded and the quality of Home Learning monitored via departmental work sampling, and reviewed at regular intervals with students and parents.  Teachers will be expected to follow-up in instances of non-completion of home learning. Staff should involve parents/carers if a pattern of late or incomplete Home Learning develops.
  • Use the school Behaviour Policy to follow up on any non-completion of tasks, or where work completed is not of a satisfactory standard.

Pupils

  • Record home learning set, including the deadline given.
  • Spend the appropriate amount of time and effort on the given task.
  • Ensure home learning is handed in by the deadline set.
  • Improve work by responding to feedback given.
  • Seek help or assistance if stuck or unsure, before the deadline.
  • Take responsibility for completing the work set.
Parents
  • Take an interest in the work being set for their child and talk to them about their learning.
  • Provide a suitable environment for home learning to be completed.
  • Monitor that home learning is being recorded in the student’s planner and is being completed by deadlines given, and sign the planner to confirm that they have checked.
  • Feedback any issues related to the completion of home learning, either to the specific member of task, or to the tutor.
  • Support the school in light of any sanctions in regard to the non-completion of homework.
  • Check Class Charts to confirm home learning set and deadlines.

Growth Mindset

Recent studies show that there are two ‘mindsets’ that students can have:

  1. Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset
  2. Evidence shows that having the Growth Mindset is a good predictor of future success

 

Traits of a Fixed Mindset

Traits of a Growth Mindset

  • Believes talent is fixed
  • Believes you were either born with talent or not
  • Does not believe that you can change your intelligence
  • Does not try hard to succeed
  • Is embarrassed by failure and makes excuses not to try new things
  • Believes that success is a result of your effort
  • Believes that you can change your intelligence through hard work
  • Believes that the brain is like a muscle – the more it works the stronger it get
  • Not afraid of challenge
  • Sees failure as a learning opportunity

 

  • Think carefully about your communication at home. Do not blame anything on ‘your genes’
  • Don’t say ‘you are hopeless at maths’ or ‘they must take after their dad at maths’
  • Don’t compare siblings, with the growth mindset everyone can improve
  • Celebrate the things you have personally worked hard to achieve, your job, your academic achievements, your sports successes

Creating Resilience

  • Studies show that children who show signs of resilience and perseverance perform better
  • Don’t be afraid to let your child struggle with tasks
  • Reinforce the message that it is okay if you don’t succeed at a task the first time
  • This can be an opportunity to think of ways to do that task better or differently
  • Model this behaviour yourself
  • Talk about examples of where you have tried, failed, tried again and then succeeded
  • Provide the right kind of feedback. Feedback that focuses on how to improve rather than ‘you’re brilliant’.
  • Don’t say ‘better luck next time’ say ‘let’s try and think how we could make this work next time’ or ‘if we practice this again we’ll get it’

Praising Children for their Effort

  •  Children who think it is important to be ‘clever’ become nervous and afraid of situations which might not reveal them not to be so
  • They often give up or find excuses not to try
  • Children who think that hard work and practice will result in improvement tend to persevere
  • Think carefully about the type of praise you use
  • “You‘re so clever” doesn’t provide any useful message but “you worked so hard to do well on your test” immediately suggests that you are rewarding their effort
  • When children look as though they might give up on a task, tell them that they just haven’t mastered it “yet”

If you’d like to read more about the Growth Mindset, you might find the following books useful:

Bounce, Matthew Syed

Mindset, Carol S Dweck, Ph.D

The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle

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