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Teaching and Learning

Our aim is to provide the best possible opportunities for student achievement, progress and learning. We focus all of our teaching and learning professional development work on the elements of our practice which research shows make the most difference. This enables students to know and understand the curriculum and access the powerful knowledge within it. 

These elements are in our planning and delivery and every teacher at The Duston School has a responsibility to:

  • Know their subject and curriculum in depth
  • Plan well-constructed lessons with clear sequencing of content 
  • Ensure effective assessment and feedback is provided so that students know and remember more
  • Create an effective working environment

More information about our core principles for teaching and learning can be found here

Teaching and learning priorities 2022-2023

Quality first teaching will continue to remain at the heart of what we do as a school.  At The Duston School all of our curriculum and teaching work is driven by the Curriculum and Teaching and Learning principles as outline above, as well as through our Teaching and Learning in Action document found here.

The key teaching and learning priorities for this academic year are identified below:

Key strategy

What does this mean?

What does effective practice look like?


Modelling is fundamental to clear, effective teaching and means explicitly demonstrating to students how to be successful in important learning activities.  However, different subject disciplines and tasks require different approaches and there are many different ways to model.  The principles below represent the core of an evidence based approach. 

  • Tasks will be clearly explained, and all students will be able to complete them 
  • Where appropriate, emphasis will be put on quality in work “to do this really well, you need to…..” 
  • Lessons will contain a limited number of tasks, to allow time for teachers to explore models with students in depth 
  • Students will be required to think and work hard to apply what they have learnt 

Checking for understanding

A central idea in Rosenshine’s Principles is that more effective teachers systematically check for understanding from students.  Teachers cannot assume students understand unless they receive feedback telling them that the student has understood.  This information can then the used to inform the next steps in the learning sequence, as well as helping students to secure deeper understanding. 

  • Teachers us cold-calling to gauge understanding of specific students 
  • Hinge questions are used to check understanding of the whole class and identify areas of misconception 
  • Low-stakes quizzing is used to check understanding of the whole class and identify areas for re-teaching 
  • Student responses are scaffolded to help them access prior knowledge and form a response if they struggle to answer the initial question. 

Developing student responses

Dylan Wiliam suggests that, in approaching a learning goal, unless we know where we are going we will never get there.  Teachers should therefore engage students in a process of clarifying the learning goals and to establish the expected standard of work.  Through continuous teacher intervention be that verbal or written, student responses can become more concrete and demonstrate deeper understanding and application of disciplinary content. 

  • Teachers will select well-chosen questions that enable students to make links between ideas 
  • Teachers will follow up with probing questions to enable students to probe their schema 
  • Feedback is given to students that is specific allowing students to take action to improve their responses 
  • Teachers will correct syntax, usage and grammar to ensure the correct grammatical format 
  • Students will respond to questions in full sentences  
  • Students will respond in a loud clear voice 

Classroom management

An essential part of the teacher’s role is to create and maintain the conditions for learning to take palace, therefore teachers are expected to take a highly intentional approach to classroom management.  

  • Teachers promote and inspire students with the passion that the expert holds. 
  • The school behaviour policy will be consistently applied across all subjects through referencing the ‘Classroom Code of Conduct’. 
  • High expectations will be demonstrated and modelled to all students through the use of the core principles listed above. 
  • Upon the teacher speaking, all students will be silent.