At Perins, we believe that strong, consistent levels of good teaching and learning, providing skills that develop students’ independence in learning are at the very heart of what we do. We consistently provide excellent levels of CPD for all our staff, including teaching staff, which aims to keep our practices up to date with current pedagogical thinking in the teaching world, and all our staff contribute towards developments in teaching and learning at the school.
Teachers have the opportunity to attend both structured meetings that focus on pedagogical development, along with more informal opportunities to get together to share ideas. Approaches that are fundamental to student learning, and therefore where it is important to be consistent as a school, are shared through a weekly teaching and learning bulletin, and teachers are encouraged to share areas of best practice, again through the bulletin, where teachers independently develop their own teaching through research they may have done. We always try to strike the right balance between doing things consistently and giving people the opportunity to take (educational) risks in their planning and delivery of lessons. Ultimately, this is how we develop the very best teaching for our students.
Key to this over a number of years has been the development of practices that ensure that students have the opportunity to revisit skills and topics over the five years that they are with us. This predominantly comes in two forms; through our “spiral” curriculum, which means that students have the opportunity to build upon what they learn year on year, as well as a whole school consistent approach to “retrieval practice”, which means that students are given the continuous opportunity to revisit learning from lesson to lesson, from week to week, and from term to term. This focus on repetition of learning is fundamental to students’ ability to develop, retain, embed and deepen their knowledge and understanding in all subjects across the school.
Over the course of the pandemic, the school took the opportunity to develop our use of “SharePoint”, where teachers are expected to keep all their in-class resources, in order that students are able to have access to them at all times. We have also developed our use of “screencasting”, which enables students to listen to key learning episodes described through pre-recorded videos by Perins’ teachers, which again gives students the opportunity to revise effectively. At Perins, we are keen to develop students’ ability to revise over the course of time, rather than just before assessment periods.
Perins believes very much in the notion of “independent learning”. In practice, what this means is that most of the tasks that we set through Arbor as homework (which we prefer to call “independent learning”) ask students to revisit prior learning through the excellent resources that have been developed and shared through SharePoint. We frequently use things such as Microsoft Forms as a way of keeping track of students’ embedded knowledge and understanding, and this helps us to understand the effectiveness of students’ independent learning. We firmly believe that this form of “blended learning”, where tasks we expect students to undertake at home are directly linked to those tasks taught in school, is the most effective way of improving learning.
Through our approaches to assessment and reporting, we are able to monitor the levels of progress that students are making effectively, and share this progress with you, along with providing brief statements of strength and area for development in each subject on a termly basis.
We regularly act upon useful feedback that we receive from parents and carers, and as part of the Perins community, you are always welcome to contact us about teaching and learning at the school.