Teaching, Learning & Assessment Policy
This teaching and learning policy has been approved by the staff and Senior Management of StreetVibes Academy (SV Academy) and will be reviewed annually. It aims to ensure that the students at our school are provided with high quality learning experiences that lead to a consistently high level of student achievement. Students learn through their total experience. This policy guides what students do, what teachers do, how time is managed, the organisation of the classroom and what the school as an organisation does to create an effective and well-managed learning environment in which the individual needs of each student can be met.
Statement of Intent
SV believes that every young person and/or adult learner should have the opportunity to achieve – personally, academically and socially. We are committed to working in partnership with all stakeholders to deliver a flexible, vocationally related curriculum that meets the individual needs of all our students, prepares them for a productive future and empowers them to reach their full potential.
Successful learning is not, therefore, simply defined by academic pass rates – it is also importantly, delineated by our ability to produce responsible young adults capable of working independently and purposefully towards their own goals. The following policy informs all practice.
Responsibilities of the Senior Management Team
The Senior Management Team is ultimately responsible for the securing and monitoring of SV’s provision of high quality educational outcomes. To this end, the Head of Learning, supported by the Quality & Curriculum Manager, will lead on all issues relating to teaching and learning.
The Head of Learning will:
Ensure that all teaching staff are fully aware of, and comply with, their roles and responsibilities regarding teaching and learning.
Work in partnership with all stakeholders and partner schools/local authorities on the implementation of all national curriculum or Department for Education initiatives in so far as they impact on teaching and learning.
- Ensure that teachers have as much information on prior attainment, educational history and SEN data as is available in order to set realistic targets for the achievement and progression of students, which enables adequate planning to meet their individual learning needs.
- Advise on appropriate programmes to address the training requirements of teaching staff.
- Support teachers in their duty to carry out the monitoring of teaching and learning.
- Ensure quality assurance in teaching and learning.
- Keep teachers up to date regarding current curriculum developments and requirements which impact on their courses.
- Support the tracking of pupil progress by reviewing pupil reports at the end of every half term.
- Correlate and evaluate the teaching and learning outcomes based upon pupil reports.
- Act as the first point of call for all teaching staff on all matters related to teaching and learning.
Responsibilities of Teaching Staff
Teachers bear first responsibility for the quality of the course they deliver with regards to the planning and delivery of classroom teaching and learning; the full implementation of all necessary school and exam board systems; the effective use of teaching assistants and mentors and all resources, and the quality of all course administration and paperwork.
Teaching and Learning
We believe that students learn best when they:
- are happy;
- are interested and motivated;
- achieve success and gain approval;
- are given tasks which match their ability;
- clearly understand the task;
- are confident, feel secure and are aware of boundaries;
- are challenged and stimulated.
The Learning Environment
This should be organised to ensure that students have the opportunity to:
- work individually, in groups and as a class;
- make decisions;
- work cooperatively;
- solve problems;
- be creative;
- discuss their ideas;
- develop social skills;
- develop independence;
- use initiative;
- receive support;
- achieve academically.
Learning takes place in an environment which:
- is challenging and stimulating;
- is peaceful and calm;
- is happy and caring;
- is organised;
- is well resourced;
- makes learning accessible;
- is encouraging and appreciative;
- is welcoming;
- provides equal opportunities;
- provides a working atmosphere.
Students should be encouraged to develop organisational skills and independence through:
- appropriate tasks;
- confidence building;
- provision of suitable opportunities;
Displays in the school should be used to create an attractive and stimulating environment. The work displayed should be of a high standard and use both 2D and 3D in a variety of media and be changed frequently. It should include work on different aspects of the curriculum and reflect the individual student’s efforts as well as ability. Sometimes they can be ‘interactive’.
Routines and Rules:
Routines and rules in the classroom contribute to a healthy learning environment.
To be effective they should be:
- agreed by the students and clearly understood;
- fair and consistent;
- realistic and positive;
- kept to a minimum but enforced;
- daily activities with which the students are familiar.
- All rules should result in the student knowing the boundaries of behaviour and should be set within the terms of the Behaviour Policy.
Social, physical, creative and academic achievements are celebrated in many ways as an ongoing process in all aspects of school life, by:
- verbal or written praise by teachers, peers, Headteacher and parents;
- displays of work;
- opportunities to perform or share;
- encouraging self esteem;
- the awarding of stickers, house points and certificates;
- sharing success with the community.
Teachers need to arrange time to observe, assess, reflect and review achievements with each student on a regular basis. The student should be involved in this process by the encouragement of self appraisal and target setting. Assessment is an integral part of the teaching and learning process.
Approaches to Teaching
There must be a good balance of individual, group and whole-class teaching. Teachers must choose carefully the style of teaching which is the most effective and groups will differ in composition and size for different activities. There may be several different activities in progress and at these times the teacher will be helping mainly one group or individual whilst the remainder will be involved in planned activities that do not require teacher input. It is important that while this is in progress students stay on task. This can be helped by:
- having well organised and labelled resources;
- taking time to train students in procedures;
- making sure that students are aware of what they must do when they have completed an activity;
- making students aware that the teacher does not always have to be first in the line of contact. Other students, student teachers, mentors and teaching assistants can be used.
It is important that activities are well planned so that each student is working at their correct level, that they begin promptly and that the initial pace is maintained. All students should know what to do as soon as they enter the classroom and after they have completed an activity. A reminder list of tasks for individuals who have completed work ahead of the group is often helpful. Efficient planning and classroom organisation will significantly reduce time-wasting activities.
To ensure continuity, teachers should leave written guidance and suggested activities for all planned absences from the classroom. In the event of an unplanned absence a telephone call should be made to the supply teacher to discuss the student’s work. The teacher’s planning book will always be available showing lesson plans, timetables and curriculum documents.
School policies are set out in the staff handbook and school policy file. It is the duty of each teacher to be familiar with school policies and to apply them.
Teaching Assistants and Mentors are a valuable resource and we welcome their involvement in the classroom. They help in many ways across the whole curriculum. Help can be on a regular basis or a specific event. In all cases it is very important that the teacher should take the time to ensure that they fully understand and are well prepared for the activity in which he or she is involved.
All students have the right to equal opportunities. Teachers’ expectations of behaviour and performance by all students should be the same. Groups, and all activities should be mixed where possible. Particular care should be taken in the areas of Science, Mathematics, Technology and Physical activities. Teachers must ensure that the same students do not dominate in group work. All activities, including extra curricular activities are open to all students, numbers permitting.
All teachers should keep detailed records of their work with the class and of individual student’s activities and progress. The school has a policy for planning, assessment, recording and reporting of National Curriculum subjects that must be adhered to. Other records are left to the teacher’s professional discretion.
All classrooms should have:
Tables arranged for:
- ease of working;
- purposeful discussion;
- provision of quiet corners;
- large working surfaces;
Chairs should normally:
- be sufficient in number for the activities in the classroom;
- leave enough room for students to move easily around the room.
An annual inventory of furniture and a planned programme of renewal and decoration will be done in consultation with staff and governors. No furniture is to be moved from classrooms without the permission of the Headteacher.
Materials in all areas should be well organised, be of good quality, be clean, tidy, attractive, accessible and well labelled. As far as possible materials should be near the appropriate working area. Stocks should be checked and replenished regularly. Students should be taught and shown by example that resources are finite and that we all have a duty to care for equipment and not misuse, damage or waste it. Books and other equipment represent a considerable investment of money. Relevant textbooks should be available in each classroom. Some sets of books, e.g. dictionaries, thesauri and atlases are purchased for specific classes and should not be removed. The effective implementation of National Curriculum subjects calls for a wide range of equipment to be used. These do not necessarily have to be stored in the classroom. There are also many outside sources for the loan of books, artefacts and equipment. It is important that equipment borrowed from outside sources and other classrooms is returned promptly and in good condition.
Each classroom has supplies and an inventory of appropriate equipment, including computers, calculators, headphones, television and video, etc. Teachers should be able to account for the use and location of this equipment. All missing, damaged or dangerous items should be reported to the Headteacher.
Curriculum areas are allocated money according to the needs identified in the Development Plan and the accompanying School Budget Plan. The Headteacher, Finance Officer and staff will discuss resource needs each half term. Requests for all equipment should be made to the Headteacher.
Creative Arts and Technology
Teachers should check daily for Health Safety/Hazards. Ensure all online browsing is appropriate to students age, and that SV’s Safe Use of the Internet policy is being appropriately applied.
- Strictly control and monitor access to social network sites.
- Maintain Antivirus and Firewall software.
- Provide creative and stimulating differentiated work individually and within extended projects.
Cleaning of the main areas is carried out by a professional cleaner. Nevertheless, everyone should be encouraged to take responsibility for his or her environment both within and around the school. Everywhere should be kept tidy and litter free at all times, and any broken or damaged items should be reported to the school manager promptly. The school should be checked daily and any lost property should be given to a member of staff.
External Assessment Security Procedures
For external assessment, the Head of Learning or Deputy Head will receive exam papers only. Exams papers will be immediately transferred to our secure storage facility.
Exam papers will be stored in a locked, immoveable strong Fire Safe bolted into a secure space in a locked cupboard on the top floor of our building. The cupboard has no windows, and the ceiling and floor are of strong, solid construction, with a strong solid fire door, that has secure hinges and a fingerprint entry key lock. Only 3 people have access to the cupboard: the Head of Learning, Deputy Head and the School’s Managing Director.
SV has a dedicated exam room that is used for all paper based and on-screen assessment tests. The room has an accurate clock for invigilation purposes and there is no printed literature on walls apart from the following; JCQ Information for Candidates Controlled Assessment, Warning to Candidates notice, Evacuation Procedures for Examinations and Mobile Phones Warning.
The examination accommodation has eight computers used for the sole purpose of external assessment tests. At the beginning of each academic year, computers are formatted and updated to ensure that they meet the requirements for on-screen tests, before they are connected to the Pearson ESM Server.
On the morning of the exams, before the assessment tests begin, notices are placed to the outside of the test room door and surrounding corridors, stating: Quiet Please, Exam in Progress with the JCQ Warning to Candidates and Mobile Phone posters.
Before entering the designated assessment test room all candidates are required to place personal belongings, such as mobile phones, bags, hats, food or drink into a centre personal locker.
At the start of assessment tests, when all students are seated, the invigilator marks a register to confirm that students are present. All candidates are visually identified before each test begins and a date of birth check is also undertaken.
Prior to the commencement of assessment tests, the warning to candidates notice is read to each test group of students, to clarify that the possession of any unauthorised material will be considered as an infringement of test/examinations. The Emergency Evacuation Procedures for Examinations is also read to candidates and verbal instructions given for paper based or on-screen tests.
At the beginning of assessment tests, the invigilator completes a seat allocation document to record the seating arrangements of each student.
During assessment periods the exams officer invigilates all assessment tests. The course coordinator is made available to support the invigilator as and when necessary, to ensure that students attend tests on time.
English Speaking, Listening and Communication Assessments:
For the purposes of English Speaking, Listening and Communication Course Units
General Assessment Conditions:
Assessments will be conducted under strict controlled assessment conditions to fulfil the requirements for the Speaking, Listening and Communication unit specification for GCSE/Level 1 and 2 grading criterions.
There will be two official assessments for this subject:
- Assessment 1: Informal discussion
- Assessment 2: Formal discussion
Both of the above discussions will take place in small groups of three to four students. The subjects to be discussed will be selected by the assessor. The informal discussion will be on an unfamiliar subject to students, but set at the appropriate level for the course programme. The formal assessment will be linked to a Reading, Writing or Vocational course assessment task previously taken by students, or another relevant poignant topical subject selected by the assessor. However, in this event, here again the subject matter will be accessible to students at the appropriate level for the course programme. The use of visual aids to support group discussions is optional, but where possible will be encouraged.
For assessment, the minimum discussion time period will be 20 to 30 minutes. However, at the assessor’s discretion a further few minutes can be added to ensure that the discussion is logically concluded in accordance with the grading criteria.
Students must successfully complete all the appropriate activities to pass the Speaking, Listening & Communication unit:
- At Level 1, students should take full part in formal and informal discussions and exchanges. However, Level 1 students will not be assessed on their presentation skills.
- At Level 2, students should make a range of contributions to discussions in a range of contexts, including those that are unfamiliar; and make effective presentations.
During group discussions, assessments will be individualised for each student and an individual observation assessment record sheet will be completed to document the contribution of each participant. Assessment record sheets will confirm the following:
- A confirmation statement that the student has fulfilled and met the requirements of the grading criteria in accordance with the guidelines set by the awarding body.
- A specific statement of how Speaking and Listening skills were used during communication throughout the group discussion.
- Strengths, weaknesses and development points for students, which will be a focus for individual feedback.
It is the Centre’s policy to use up to date Pearson assessment documentation and to adhere to any changing demands and specifications set by the awarding body.
All forms used to assess students are deemed as official documentation that will be used for internal and external verification. Forms will be used for feedback to students and will require their signature and a feedback comment. Student’s that have not met the grading criteria will be encouraged to comment on the grade awarded.
The Centre’s lead internal verifier and staff will ensure good practice through holding regular standardization meetings to review marking and assessment grading decisions. Meetings will also cover the requirements for assessment support materials and the general resourcing of the Speaking, Listening and Communication course unit.
Within 10 Days of the assessor’s observation, the lead IV will internally verify the grades awarded and complete an internal verification record sheet. Any subsequent action points will be examined and discussed by the course team. Action points that cannot be resolved at standardization meetings will initiate a short individual staff training session to clarify awarding body policies and procedures.
The assessor will work in accordance with the General and Vocational Qualifications guidelines set out by the Joint Council for Qualifications to ensure that rules for malpractice during examinations are not infringed, through creating the conditions for fair and impartial exams. In addition to this, the assessor will ensure that students work within assessment guidelines and record any malpractice or unusual incidents that occur during an official assessment.
This policy should be used with reference to our other policies: Internal Verification Policy, External Verification Policy, Access to Fair Assessment Policy and COVID Risk Assessment.
This policy was last revised in 3rd March 2023.