Learning Policy: Teaching (Part 3 of 3) by @TeacherToolkit

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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If you were a school leader of teaching and learning, what would you do with one-hundred teachers in a school to raise standards?


This is part three of a three-part Learning Policy that is due for consultation with our middle and senior leaders before the end of the academic year. This will then be shared with all of our teaching staff in the autumn. Last week, I blogged How To Create A Teaching and Learning Common-Sense Culture? which shared quite the opposite of what I am sharing here; this was a ‘what we do not want’ our teachers do to.


This information shared below is not yet policy, but is the start of what we hope to develop as part of our drive towards great teaching at Quintin Kynaston. This is our ‘to-do’ in the classroom. Part of our aims, is to raise standards of teaching and learning with the intention of developing A Way Forward for Teaching and Learning; particularly in a common learning policy that is clear, coherent and developmental for all our teaching staff.

In our school, we do not grade individual lessons (like this?) as we understand that a wider evidence base, developing the teacher in a progress-over-time methodology is required. Our evolving a mark-plan-teach philosophy, alongside a range of tools, strategies and sources of evidence will also be designed/considered. In this blog, I share the third part of our mark-plan-teach pedagogy. This is not yet ratified and will soon be up for discussion. Before reading the details, note that the ‘teach’ section below forms part of an overall one-page summary, and behind this synopsis, sits a deeper learning policy full of context (for teaching in our school with our students); equipped with rationale and appendices. (Like this? Tweet it!)

  1. You can read Part 1 here on Marking.
  2. You can read Part 2 here on Planning.
  3. This is part 3 on Teaching.

“What works for us, may not work for you.”

Poster Quote @TeacherToolkit


  • Go with the learning: the ‘flow’ of great progress is more important than following a lesson plan.
  • Ensure that learning has stuck, through checking that is incisive and systematic.
  • We are all teachers of literacy. The quality of both students’ and teacher’s language, such as in instructions and questioning, are significant determinants of progress. Make the implicit, explicit.
  • All students must be working harder than the teacher, over time.
  • Teachers must be explicit about learning outcomes and key words.
  • Demonstrate the values of the school.
    1. Reinforce students’ aspiration for success by the challenge you offer.
    2. Enable them to show resilience by taking a risk and working through barriers.
    3. Each class is a learning community in its own right. Their success depends on each other.


How to teach will be heavily debated. We do not want out teachers to produce individual lessons plans, nor do we want them to be prone to Ofsted whims and government diktat/fashion. We want action research to inform ‘what works’ and equip our teachers to develop an air of confidence, free from one-off performance with a developmental culture emerging. There is no-one route to ‘outstanding teaching over time’. There are many ways a school can reach quality-first outstanding, collectively as a group of teachers.

I will share the fuller details of our policy and examples of our evidence base – free of lesson gradings – once the policy have been agreed by all our staff. I will also share this one-page synopsis/summary in a final blog as a resource for readers, and then publish the fuller details of our policy in the autumn term 2015 …

Feedback please in the comments section below … Like it? Tweet it.


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3 thoughts on “Learning Policy: Teaching (Part 3 of 3) by @TeacherToolkit

  1. Ross, I love the whole learning focus you are currently doing. For years I have been bewildered by different focuses and agendas doing peddled by scared and sometime clueless SLT’s. Your policy looks absolutely spot on! I am a big fan of Daniel Willingham, and you researched bases approach, coupled with common sense is exactly what teaching needs. I would love to role it out here! Planning for learning! Not planning for teaching!

    1. Henry – thank you. We have a long way to go. Will publish the 3 part policy as a one-page summary at the weekend. The full policy; the details behind each statement will be published in the autumn 2015.

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