Learning and teaching

Principles
Teaching and learning at Vandyke is intended to promote consistency and high standards and the achievement of the school aims.  Our curriculum is designed to equip the students with the skills they will need to be successful in 21st century society.  We aim to provide a caring, supportive and stimulating environment and develop independent young people who are confident, adaptable and responsible.  When teaching we focus on motivating students and building on their skills, knowledge and understanding of the curriculum.  We use curriculum plans carefully to guide our teaching.  These set out the objectives and details of what is to be taught to each year group.

All teachers work to establish positive working relationships with the students who they are teaching.  We treat students fairly and give them equal opportunity to take part in class activities.  All teachers follow the school policy with regard to discipline and classroom management.  We praise and reward students for good effort and, by so doing, help to build positive attitudes towards school and learning in general.                                               

Inclusion and equal opportunities
We acknowledge that people learn in different ways and we recognise the need to develop strategies that allow all students to learn in ways that best suit them.  We take into account the different forms of intelligence and plan for different learning styles.  The embedded ethos of the school is summarised in the school motto “Everyone Matters”.  We strive to address the individual needs of each student, including Gifted and Talented students and students with Special Educational Needs, through provision of resources, learning styles and questioning.  We base our teaching on our knowledge of the student’s level of prior attainment.  Our prime focus is to develop further their knowledge and skills.  We strive to ensure that all tasks set are appropriate to aid each student’s learning and progress.

Assessment for learning
At Vandyke we focus on assessment for learning in our lessons.  This means that we seek to provide students with a range of experiences and strategies that will help them reflect on their attainment and make the next steps in their learning.  We share the big picture with all our students so that they can see how their learning fits together.  We set learning objectives in lessons and identify the intended learning outcomes so both students and teachers can reflect on progress within each lesson.  We provide regular feedback through marking and engage in a regular dialogue with students so that they are aware of their current levels of attainment and what they are capable of achieving.  Through our Learning to Learn programme in Year 9 we encourage our students to identify the skills they need to become effective learners and we set and review learning goals in lessons regularly so they can make sustained progress.

Questioning
We strive to use Bloom’s taxonomy in order to phrase appropriate questions to all our learners.  We target those questions at learners so they can achieve and also be challenged in their thinking and application of processes and concepts and develop their higher order thinking skills.