Teaching and Learning

We want to give our students access to the best which has been thought, said and written in every field of human endeavour so that they are able to make a positive difference to themselves others and the world. To this end, we seek to ensure that each teacher in each lesson is a subject expert who knows how to do the best for each learner.

At Orchard Mead we use a model for teaching and learning inspired by the work of Shaun Alison and Andy Tharby in their book “Making Every Lesson Count”. This is based on six key principles for learning namely, challenge, explanation, modelling, deliberate practice, questions and feedback.  This model provides a framework and language for all learners in the Academy to discuss and think about learning.

Lesson observations show a range of techniques being used to check students’ understanding: use of mini whiteboards, whole class questioning, individual questioning, students being asked to demonstrate, use of visualisers to project students’ work in progress, teacher circulation and annotation of work: all enable misconceptions to be identified and acted upon.

Feedback has been a big focus for professional learning, drawing on the work of Prof Dylan Wiliam. Teachers are adept at giving precise and critical feedback in a variety of formats, with verbal feedback being the key to the timeliest improvements. Dedicated time is also given for students to act on feedback.

The Challenge Partners Review in February 2019 stated that “Students’ work is regularly marked and misconceptions are addressed through effective improvement and response activities.

The review also went on to highlight the good practice that takes place in Orchard Mead every day.

  • “Positive behaviours for learning are apparent”
  • “Students are given the opportunity to interact with their peers and deepen their learning.”
  • “Students respect one another and are not afraid to learn from their mistakes.”
  • “Clear instructions and high expectations are apparent in all lessons.”
  • “Teachers have strong subject knowledge and know their students well.”
  • “The resources teachers deliver for students are creative and innovative.”
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