Teaching and Learning

Our Curriculum Intent

At St Mark’s CE School, the curriculum underpins our Christian ethos which enables every child to flourish in all respects; including achieving academic excellence, developing a sense of global citizenship and nurturing their unique talents and passions.

Curriculum Aims:

To embed a culture of social responsibility and global awareness through our core Christian values of Love, Service and Belonging.
To have a coherent, well-sequenced and ambitious curriculum, which enables our pupils to develop and retain a secure foundation of knowledge and lasting connections.
The teaching and learning is purposeful for all groups of pupils with the expectation that all students can achieve well. This includes teaching the students the importance of resilience, confidence and determination in order to be life - long learners.
We believe that all curriculum subjects have equal value and our curriculum is balanced and varied, encouraging curiosity and a thirst for new experiences and knowledge.

At St Mark’s CE School we recognise that high quality teaching, learning & assessment in the classroom for all students is one of the most influential factors in student success and achievement and therefore place considerable emphasis on teachers taking active responsibility for their own professional development. We use coaching across all phases, alongside timetabled CPD sessions to develop our practice through collaboration, whilst being open to current research. 

At St Mark’s CE School, we have developed a set of research-driven teaching and learning principles, which research and our own experiences suggest have the most impact on students’ learning. Our principles have been cultivated from the most up-to-date educational research, combined with our existing teaching and learning philosophy.

All Through School Pedagogy

Retrieval practice is an integral part of every lesson in order to strengthen and recall previous learning to ensure the foundations are there before moving on.  Reviews of prior learning should happen at the start of every lesson and should include the daily practice of essential vocabulary.  This includes the use of knowledge organisers.  Spaced retrieval practice should also be considered through planning to support the fluent recall of core knowledge over time.

Sequences of learning over time are broken down into small, manageable steps to prevent the working memory being overloaded and ensure that firm foundations of substantive knowledge are developed before expecting the application of disciplinary skills.  In all lessons, new material is presented in small steps and students are given the opportunity to practise each step before moving on.

Questioning is used to check the responses and understanding of pupils and to connect new material to their prior learning.  Pupils are expected to respond to questions in full sentences to develop the language and communication in all classrooms.  Stem sentences/oracy structures are used to develop their understanding of key concepts and to articulate their responses to questions/debates.

Providing students with models and worked examples can help them learn how to solve problems faster.  Teachers model their thinking out loud and this strategy is used across all subjects for example, solving problems in maths and science, composing shared writing in English and forming responses in reading and history..

Guided and independent practice - pupils should be given time to practise what has been modelled through worked examples.  Time should be taken here to question pupils on their understanding and address misconceptions that may arise.  Time for independent practice should be provided in order for the skills and knowledge to become automatic.

Pupils should be assisted with scaffolds when learning difficult tasks such as cues, checklists and instructional support.  These scaffolds can then be gradually withdrawn as pupils become more confident and competent.

Language and vocabulary is explicitly taught across all subjects.  Reading fluency is practised and addressed in all subjects to ensure pupils are able to access age appropriate texts and the subject specific terminology they need to fully access the curriculum.

Assessment for Learning strategies are used in every lesson to check for whole class understanding and address any misconceptions where they may arise.