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Teaching & Learning at JOG

JOG essentials – intent & implementation

At The John of Gaunt School (JOG), we ensure that teaching and learning is consistently excellent so that every child can achieve their full potential.  To facilitate this, a framework for high quality classroom practice – the JOG Essentials – has been created, and all teachers are guided by this in their practice.

Taking account of recent educational research (e.g. EEF, 2014; OFSTED, 2019; Rosenshine, 2012) the Essentials incorporate expectations around six key elements of classroom practice:

  1. Behaviour and Engagement
  2. Quality of Instruction
  3. Support and Challenge
  4. Modelling
  5. Questioning
  6. Feedback

All teachers receive regular CPD in these six areas, and are coached in developing their practice through focused developmental drop-ins (DDIs).  A JOG-specific lesson format has been introduced to support teachers further in their application of the Essentials.

Talk for Writing (training school) – intent & implementation

The ‘Talk for Writing’ (TfW) toolkit is central to The John of Gaunt School’s (JOG) approach to teaching and learning.  As a methodology for teaching vocabulary, memorisation and writing, TfW is aligned to the educational research that informs the JOG Essentials (e.g. Rosenshine, 2012), and is instrumental in developing students’ oracy and metacognitive skills.  All classroom staff at JOG are trained in the TfW process, and are expected to utilise the key strategies in their lessons. TfW is applicable to all subject areas, and to students of all ages, to include post-16.

Based on the success and impact of its work in this area, JOG was designated a TfW training school by the developers of the approach, Pie Corbett and Julia Strong, in 2019.  As a result, the school runs open days and training events for other schools who are interested in developing the approach themselves.  Being part of a T4W training school enables JOG teachers to network with other professionals, access additional CPD, contribute to research, and gain experience in facilitating training.  As such, TfW training status enriches the teaching and learning culture at JOG further, and enables teachers to hone their practice for the further benefit of our students.

Teaching to the top – intent & implementation

High expectations of students and staff are central to the ethos and culture at The John of Gaunt School (JOG).  It is our conviction that students can achieve excellence regardless of their starting point, and our approach to teaching and learning hinges on raising our students’ confidence and aspirations.

In order to convey our message of high expectations in classrooms, teachers at JOG set a single learning aim for a lesson rather than differentiated aims that are pitched at different ability levels within a class.  Rather than planning separately for these differing groups, teachers are expected to teach to the top, but monitor students’ learning closely and provide more focused support where needed. Research suggests that this kind of responsive teaching is much more likely to result in students making good progress than producing lower level tasks for certain students (OFSTED, 2019).  It also ensures that students are effectively challenged, and that they aspire to achieve their best.

As part of the JOG Essential ‘Support and Challenge’, the skill of adaptive teaching is explained and modelled through the school’s CPD programme, and is honed through ongoing drop-in coaching for teachers (DDIs).  Regular student voice activities, learning walks and work sampling also help to gauge staff training needs in this area.

Knowledge organisers – intent & implementation

In order to succeed in their learning, students need to be able to remember key knowledge over time.  Recalling the factual content of a subject will enable a student to turn their attention to the higher order skills of organising, evaluating and analysing without having gaps in their knowledge.  Recent research points to the importance of students regularly reviewing their learning, so that it is retained over time (e.g. McCrae, 2018; OFSTED, 2019; Rosenshine, 2012).

At The John of Gaunt School (JOG), the key knowledge that students need to remember for each topic is summarised in a knowledge organiser, and students are given a booklet of these at the start of each term.  A significant portion of a student’s homework involves self-quizzing using their knowledge organiser, and every lesson at JOG starts with a low-stakes quiz so that students can purposely recall this learning.  These quizzes interleave content from current topics with that learned previously, so that students can strengthen their recall.

Basing homework on knowledge organisers has the additional benefit of encouraging more effective home-school partnership, as parents are able to access homework resources easily, and can support their child with the learning of core topic knowledge for each subject.  Knowledge organisers are made available to parents on the school website.