Pruning your practice: seven criteria for cutting away ineffective strategies

By Andy Tharby

At this time of the school year we usually dedicate some of our time to thinking about the new approaches we aim to adopt next year. Often we concentrate on the improvements we will make: better resources, better teaching strategies, better relationships … And when we picture ourselves at the start of the next year, fresh and bushy-tailed, we imagine ourselves ready to face new challenges head-on, complete with a repertoire of exciting new tricks up our sleeves.

However, we should also pause to reflect on what we need to discard from our practice as well as the additions we will make. Removal and reduction are crucial for improvement, but they are too often forgotten. It is not possible to keep adding layer-upon-layer of new ideas without pruning down our current practice to begin with.

The ‘art of doing away with superfluous tosh’ starts with a simple question. Is this strategy/approach supporting or diminishing my capacity to fulfill my core purpose as a teacher? Almost always, this will relate to whether the strategy improves student learning or not.

When possible, we should aim to discard strategies and interventions that meet any of the following criteria:

  1. Ineffective. If it does not achieve what it sets out to achieve, then it is usually not worth pursuing further. Often we invest a lot of self-worth and energy into an idea and as a result we feel that it is working well, even when if it is not. This is why it is important to build robust and honest evaluation into our practice. From the outset, we should always remain clear about the purpose of a strategy or intervention. If it is not achieving this, then it is ripe fodder for the dustbin.
  2. Not worth the time. Some  strategies are effective, yet so time-consuming that they become unmanageable. One-to-one after-school sessions with each student in your class might boost achievement, but you will not be able to manage them over a sustained period of time. You should also be careful not to set an unhelpful precedent to others. New staff, in particular, will often feel that they are expected to do everything they see their more experienced colleagues doing.
  3. Creates opportunity cost. The gains of one approach should be balanced against the costs of not doing something else. Three hours spent marking, for instance, has some value – but probably not as much as three hours spent planning.
  4. Difficult to organise and sustain. If you have two competing strategies, always choose the simpler option. It is likely that this will be easier to implement and sustain. Group work, for example, is sometimes difficult to manage whereas direct instruction would be just as, if not more, effective.
  5. Unhelpful habits. Sometimes we do things just because we always have. These habits are often the relics of now-discarded (and discredited) policies. Up until recently, a very talented colleague of mine would spend considerable time underlining the dates and titles in her students’ books with a ruler. In her previous school, teachers were held accountable for whether work was underlined or not and she had brought this habit with her!
  6. False accountability fears. ‘I need to mark this work in case somebody from SLT sees an unmarked page.’ ‘I need to do a plenary every lesson just in case somebody walks in and sees me not doing one.’ False accountability fears are rife in schools. Often conscientious teachers are so eager to be perceived as doing a good job that they overcompensate. If you are a member of a SLT, then make it clear to staff what they should not be doing as well as what they should be doing. If you are a teacher, check the school policy carefully.
  7. Unsupported by research evidence. Becoming evidence-informed is a great way of reducing workload in the long-term. Once you understand how students learn and what types of intervention are usually effective, you are better-placed to make the right decisions about what to keep and what to drop.

Before you start next year, perform an audit of your current practice. Think about your approach to marking, report writing, planning, displays, resourcing, rewards and sanctions, meetings and emails. What should stay? And what should be chopped?


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Five Tips for Making the Most of Gained Time

It’s the time of year when the once faint glimmer of Year 11 gained time is now a blazing light for many teachers. Despite best intentions, it is all too easy to let these gained hours slip away and to have little left to show for them other than a rearranged desk drawer and some alphabetised folders.

To help ensure that gained time means what is says on the tin, science teacher Bex Owen has shared five invaluable tips and ideas about how to make these hours as productive as possible over the next few weeks.

1. List the Little Things

Bex is a lover of lists. At this point in the academic year, Bex strongly advocates making a list of the niggling tasks that you have wanted to sort out during the year but have pushed back due to more high-profile jobs. Taking time now to tweak resources that you use frequently can pay dividends in the future. Examples could include making that slightly overloaded PowerPoint a bit slicker, finding a better video to support a commonly tricky topic, or creating a bank of quick questions ready to use throughout the year.

2. Tidy Classrooms Means Tidy Minds

During last week’s INSET here at Durrington, we spoke about the importance of information being presented to students in a clean and tidy manner to aid long-term retention. Bex extends the same principle to her classroom space: This is the time to reorganise and clear out the detritus from the year. A familiar but fresh space in September sends a clear message that you are ready to build on previous learning and move forward.

3. Strategic Seating

Bex suggests that, as soon as they are available, you should scrutinise your new class lists and start devising your seating plans. It is easier to do this essential task now rather than in the new term for two main reasons. Firstly, irrespective of how well you organise and plan ahead, it is inevitable that some jobs will only pop up once you are back in school in September. Seating plans, on the other hand, can be sorted, stored and ready to go. Secondly, make use of your colleagues. Talk to the current teachers of students that you do not know to find out what works (and what doesn’t) for them. If there are names that trigger a red light somewhere in your consciousness, try to find this student in a lesson where they are successful and identify what is working well for them that you can transfer to your class next year.

4. Find  Your Form

If  are taking on a new  form group next year, it can be extremely beneficial to go and visit them now. As with the seating plans, this gives you the opportunity to observe how the group works and get a sense of the dynamic. It also gives the students the chance to meet you as their tutor before they come back in September, which is one less change for you to manage in the new year.

5. Keep it Varied

Although your official school timetable may have a few more blank spaces than usual, this does not mean that you should allow your mind to go blank as well. Bex recommends  using your planner to slot in when you will complete the different jobs you have allocated to your gained time. This will help to ensure that you are using your time efficiently, and will also mean that you can mix up the tasks and avoid the hours aimlessly drifting by with no goal or objective in mind – this is what the summer holidays are for.

Fran Haynes


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5 tips for using year 10 mocks

In this brave new world in which reformed GCSE specifications have created more exams than ever before, the piles of mock papers are growing increasingly tall.

Schools have organised the sitting of practice exams quite idiosyncratically, with a variety of models out there, often depending on factors such as whether the school favours a two or three-year KS4.  Our year 10 students at Durrington will finish their first mock examination period at the end of next week and will have a second exam period immediately before Christmas.  To supplement this a few other mocks for certain subjects will be dotted about elsewhere (some on INSET days).

These mock periods involve a huge chunk of summative assessment and by extension marking for teachers.  For this investment of time and effort to be worthwhile we should pause to consider how the completed exam papers can be put to most use, and how as teachers we can ensure they have the greatest possible impact on learning.  Below are five tips for how this might be achieved:

  1. Whole class feedback  Individual targets for students can be useful, but they are not the only approach.  Another method is to mark the papers with raw scores only but at the same time write down common mistakes or misconceptions.  In your feedback lesson, rather than having the students do 15 different things, re-teach these sections of the course to all.
  2. Find the best and use them as worked examples –  Pick out a few excellent answers to the trickiest questions.  Scan these, hand out copies and project them on the board.  Jointly unpick the answers with the class, highlighting the reasons for their brilliance and any parts that could be improved further.  
  3. Re-model – If you find there is a particular answer that students have struggled with use your feedback lesson to remodel this with them.  Do this “live” with a blank whiteboard and your pen.  Take a metacognitive approach and explain your thinking as you move through your answer.
  4. Build in self-evaluation Another metacognitive strategy this one.  Having completed one or several of the above strategies allow students to evaluate the reasons for their success or lack of it on particular questions.  You could structure this by giving them a range of reasons to choose from, for example reasons for losing marks could include: lack of knowledge, misunderstood the question, ran out of time, forgot the technique etc.
  5. Return to them – In the build up to the next mock period return to the year 10 versions.  This needs to be done with care as you don’t want to demotivate students by reminding them of an exam aberration.  However, you could share a class overview, including the class average they achieved on each individual question.  This could then be used to refocus them on how to tackle those that they found most challenging.

As well as these suggestions it is also worth remembering that mock exams do have their limitations.  Ultimately, they will only be assessing a relatively narrow section of the curriculum, and therefore do not uncover the full range of student strengths and weaknesses.  These need to be drawn out through more regular formative assessment.

Durrington teachers are currently having pigeon holes stuffed with bundles of exams ready for marking.  For those in a similar position these suggestions will hopefully help make the marking and feedback process as meaningful as possible.

Posted by Chris Runeckles

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Durrington Research School Training Programme 2018-19

Now is the time of year in schools, when leaders are beginning to plan their improvement priorities and plans for next year.  At the Durrington Research School, we have planned our training programme for next year, around key themes that we think will support schools with these priorities.

All of our training programmes are run over three days across the year, so that the training is ongoing and sustained.  They are all based around the best available research evidence and all use the EEF Implementation Guide to help delegates mobilise what they have learnt on the programme, back at their school.

Our training programmes are designed to ensure that delegates experience effective professional learning based on the best available research evidence. Throughout each programme, we will take delegates through the following process:

  • At the start of the programme, delegates identify a focus by thinking carefully about their own context (either at a personal level or organisational level) and identifying a specific issue to address.
  • Following this, delegates explore the evidence surrounding the theme of the training programme.
  • This involves challenging and developing delegates’ current thinking, and should eventually result in an alignment between how delegates think about the problem and what the available evidence says.
  • Delegates then start to mobilise the evidence by putting it into action in their own schools. This mobilisation work is an ongoing part of the process that requires ongoing refinement.
  • Delegates are encouraged to practise the new approach back at school.  Habits form through purposeful practice – and only when evidence-informed ideas become entrenched into habit does real change and improvement occur.
  • Review and evaluation is built in throughout the programme to ensure that the new approach is being implemented with success and fidelity to the research findings.
  • Our training programmes are designed to have a wide impact. Delegates are encouraged and supported to share their new learning with their colleagues and persuade others to adopt evidence-informed strategies.

Our training programmes for next year (and links to booking information) are listed below:


Improving memory

Over recent years, schools and teachers have become increasingly interested in how students learn and the role of memory in this process. In this course, we will draw on evidence from cognitive science to explore how to design lessons, units of work and policies that encourage knowledge retention and put students on the path to success. This will be relevant and useful for primary and secondary colleagues. We will cover the following questions:

  • Which teaching methods have been shown to improve memory recall?
  • How can better course and curriculum planning improve the depth and scope of student knowledge?
  • What are the most effective revision strategies to teach our students?
  • How can we best prepare students for content-rich exams?

Further details here.


Evidence-informed principles that will improve teaching

We know a great deal from the body of research evidence about what makes effective teaching. This training programme will explore this research evidence and then codify this into six evidence-informed pedagogical principles that teachers from all phases can implement in their classrooms.

As well as understanding the research evidence behind these six principles, delegates will also leave with a bank of effective and sustainable teaching approaches that will improve learning in their classrooms.

Further details here.


Understanding and using the EEF Metacognition and Self-Regulated Learning Guide

Metacognition is a vast and multi-faceted area of pedagogy which holds huge promise for improving teaching and learning but can be difficult to implement. This training programme will aim to demystify metacognition and self-regulated learning and make it useful for teachers by unpicking the guidance report’s seven practical and evidence-based recommendations.

Further details here.


Evidence-informed approaches to improving literacy

Currently, there is a lack of practical ideas about how teachers can best support students who arrive at secondary school with low literacy levels.

This will be a three day programme aimed at anybody with a literacy responsibility including secondary literacy leaders, subject leaders and classroom teachers. The training will explore approaches to reading, writing and vocabulary development through the lens of robust research evidence. There will be a particular focus on methods to use with secondary students who currently struggle to access the literacy demands of the Key Stage Three and Four curriculum.

The training will include practical and time efficient strategies that can be taken away and immediately applied in your setting.

Further details here.


Improving behaviour and attendance

If effective learning is to take place in schools, we need to ensure that students are attending school regularly and that a calm and purposeful atmosphere is created within classrooms and the wider school. This will give students the best possible chance of success.

This programme will explore the evidence around improving behaviour and attendance in schools. Following this, it will examine how this evidence can be used to implement practical strategies across a school to address these issues – including how to have an impact on even some of the most hard to reach students and families.

Further details here.


Improving maths at KS2 and KS3

In November 2017, the EEF published a guidance report entitled ‘Improving maths in Key Stage 2 and 3’. This guidance report highlights eight recommendations for schools and teachers, including evidence informed and practical ‘do’s and don’ts’ of great maths teacher. This training programme will explore how KS2 and 3 maths teachers can mobilise these recommendations in the classroom.

Further details here.


Leading learning

We know that improving the quality of teaching in the classroom has the biggest impact on student outcomes. To do this, at a time when resources are being stretched, we need to improve the quality of our CPD. This innovative programme provides a comprehensive overview of the most important research evidence in education, including the ‘EEF Toolkit’, so that school leaders can devise a high impact CPD programme (topics include metacognition, memory and mindset). The programme will support you with a range of evidence-based tools to help you lead learning with success and improve your CPD programme.

Further details here.


Effective use of the Pupil Premium fund

This programme will address the following points:

  • How can we best use data to define challenges and drive decisions about how to spend the Pupil Premium?
  • How can we use evidence effectively to tackle defined challenges?
  • What does evidence tell us about delivering and sustaining quality first teaching?
  • What do we want to happen and how will we really know if we’re on track and ultimately successful?
  • How can we best gather evidence about the effectiveness of Pupil Premium provision in our own, and other schools?

Further details here.

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Curriculum, Teaching and Assessment

This year, the Durrington Research School Team have been working on producing a new ‘Curriculum, Teaching and Assessment Policy’.  The aim of this policy is to ensure that through curriculum, teaching and assessment all students, especially those in at-risk sub-groups, will:

  1. Make significant academic progress over their 11 years at school.
  2. Develop and retain the knowledge (declarative i.e. knowledge you can think about and say and procedural i.e. knowledge you can do) and cultural capital (including relevant tier two and tier three vocabulary) that will enrich their experience and empower them to access, the next stage of their education, find suitable employment and participate in a democratic society.
  3. Value learning for its own sake and develop a range of skills, aptitudes and personal qualities to take into life. These will include non-cognitive skills (such as resilience, working with others, acceptance of feedback and kindness), metacognitive skills (such as planning, monitoring and evaluation) and study skills (such as retrieval practice, spaced practice and dual coding).

We have invested our time and effort into this, because we feel there is a moral imperative for decisions about curriculum, teaching and assessment to be informed by the best available evidence and the practical wisdom of the most effective teachers.  This has framed our policy.

Curriculum, teaching and assessment are inextricably linked. When all three are aligned and of the highest quality, they should facilitate effective learning for all students, irrespective of their starting points.  In turn, this should translate into all students making good progress and achieving strong academic outcomes.  This matters, because it gives them the best possible life chances.

The curriculum outlines the key knowledge that students need to learn over their time with us in order to be successful; this will then drive what and how we teach. A challenging curriculum will require students to think deeply about subject and lesson content.  In other words, the level of challenge in the curriculum sets the level of challenge in our classrooms.  Tom Sherrington has written an excellent blog talking about what we mean by a knowledge rich curriculum. He suggests four components:

  • Knowledge provides a driving, underpinning philosophy;
  • The knowledge content is specified in detail;
  • Knowledge is taught to be remembered, not merely encountered;
  • Knowledge is sequenced and mapped deliberately and coherently.

Next, we need to consider how to enable effective learning. When we talk about learning, we mean the retention and recall of knowledge so that it can be applied in different contexts.  It should be durable and flexible. For this to happen, a deep understanding of the ‘active ingredients’ of teaching based on the best available research evidence is required. This is what our six pedagogical principles aim to do; however, these must be contextualised to different curriculum areas.

Assessment can be seen as the bridge between teaching and learning. Dylan Wiliam describes this well:

“It is only through assessment that we can find out whether what has happened in the classroom has produced the learning we intended.”

Valid and reliable assessment should inform our planning as teachers and leaders.  For example, if assessment reveals students have not fully learnt a particular topic, then it would seem sensible for a class teacher to re-teach that topic or relevant aspects of that topic.  On a wider scale, it would also be worth reviewing the curriculum to see how that particular topic is being covered – e.g. is the level of challenge too high or too low?  Is it in the right sequence relative to other topics that are needed to understand it?

Another aspect of assessment that should be considered is the balance between formative and summative assessment.  In this blog post, Chris Runeckles explores the importance of a two layered approach to assessment:

Layer 1: Formative – on-going, ungraded and focused on smaller chunks of the curriculum.
Layer 2: Summative – At set points in the year.  Knowledge included will build cumulatively through the year.

Professor Rob Coe claims that all too often data production that is claimed to be assessment, is not actually an assessment.  He claims that assessment must be:

  • Informative
  • Accurate
  • Independent
  • Generalisable
  • Replicable

Rob makes the point that data should not be a dirty word.  However, we probably need to work a bit harder to make it more useful.  You can read more on this here.

Implementing this policy will be a key focus of our work within school over the coming years.  As a starting point, Curriculum Leaders have been reviewing their current practice in each of the three areas, and setting themselves development foci for next year and beyond.

Keep an eye out for future blogs on the progress of this work.

Posted by Shaun Allison

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Year 7 and the joy of learning new subjects

By Andy Tharby

When we are not daydreaming of sun-kissed vacations in La Rochelle and Tuscany, June and July is the time that we begin turning our attention towards the next academic year. This time around, I am aiming to place more attention than ever before on my opening lessons with Year 7. The start of secondary school is a critical time and it is important that our new recruits get off to a flying start.

There is a well-described dip in performance and progress between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3. This dip is not fully understood. It is probably caused by a number of interlinked factors: changes in social groupings; changes in routines; the switch from a single teacher to discrete subjects; the differing emphasises of primary school and secondary school; and the onset of adolescence and the cognitive and emotional changes that come with it.

The subject matter, ideas and tasks of the opening lessons with Year 7 set the tone for the rest of the year and beyond. They allow us to take the students by the hand (metaphorically, of course!) and lead them over the threshold into the new and mysterious world of the subject discipline. It is important to remember that Year 7 students will not necessarily arrive with a pre-defined understanding of each subject. It is up to us, therefore, to define the shape, limits and story of our subjects.

The following ideas are useful for helping to induct Year 7 students into your subject discipline.

Define the subject. Find out what students already know about the subject and then find ways of widening this understanding. They will probably arrive with a host of misconceptions and simplified generalisations: geography is about maps; mathematics is boring; English is all story writing. Take the time to explain how your subject is different from other subjects, and why we study it in school. Focus on the intrinsic or aesthetic purpose of the subject and its relationship with truth and the never-ceasing conversation of mankind. For instance, we study history to understand our place in the world, and we study science to understand the natural phenomena around and within us.

Generate interest. Start the year with a particularly interesting topic, not an easy one. As well as teaching the knowledge set out on the curriculum, teach your students how to debate about and question this knowledge. Another useful tip is to begin by explaining your personal interest in your subject: why you are passionate about the subject, the things you are still learning, the obstacles you have surpassed to be where you are today.

Prioritise knowledge. Even though generating initial interest is important, Year 7 students must recognise the fundamental difference between spending time with new knowledge and retaining it for good. The beginning of Year 7 is the perfect time to form new habits and a new outlook on learning. It is a great time to introduce and explain the effectiveness of retrieval practice and regular low-stakes testing. Knowledge is for life, not just for Christmas!

Scaffold the discourse. Think of each subject as having its own grammar, its own language world. This is a set of language conventions – involving phraseology, syntax, vocabulary and idiomatic expressions – that reflect the kind of thought processes that are inherent to the discipline and used with ease by subject experts. Consider the importance of conditional clauses – if … then clauses – to scientific thinking: if you freeze water, then it becomes a solid. Or the way that English literature relies on tentative and exploratory language: the poet seems to hint that power dissipates and fades with time. We should aim to make these language worlds explicit and use this to scaffold students’ thinking, speaking and writing. A simple way to do this is through the use of sentence stems. Remember: many Year 7 students will have had limited access to these language worlds before – at home or school – and so they will need a thorough induction that starts in their first lesson with you.

Define excellence. Children need to start the year by setting goals for themselves. To help them to do this, we should define the features of excellent work right from the beginning. You could start by showing the class the work of successful students from last year. Another option is to create ‘a benchmark of brilliance’ in the first few weeks of term – a piece of work that sets the standard for the year to come. Alternatively, you might ask primary school teachers to send over the best work the child completed in Year 6; this helps both teacher and student to track real progress and helps to prevent the child from slipping off course.

Tell the story. A well-designed curriculum is a story and a journey. Create anticipation by dropping hints about what is to come over the next year (or even five years). Discuss some of the problems, obstacles and thorny questions to be faced along the way. Make the curriculum seem like a puzzle to be solved– one that is not too easy, but not too hard.


For a student new to secondary school, the beginning of year 7 is a time to reassess your goals and reinvent your interests and passions. The start of Year 7 should not be about ‘easing them in’ or ‘making it fun’. Instead it should be about helping a child to understand the value and role of the subject in the great and evolving narrative of humankind.

Good luck.

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Bright Spots

There was a great deal of effective and engaging teaching occurring during P3 today at Durrington. In particular, it is increasingly evident that our classrooms are rapidly becoming vocabulary-rich environments. This explicit pedagogical approach will be invaluable for the learning and outcomes of all students, especially our disadvantaged cohorts. It is powerful to see a teaching staff working collaboratively, and therefore successfully, on our main literacy objective.

In textiles, Steve Bloomer’s classroom was a hive of industrious and focused activity. The Year 10 students were working on their sea-inspired projects, and the pieces that are emerging are spectacular. Furthermore, the students in this mixed-ability group were all willing and able to talk about their work with clarity and pride. Earlier in the lesson, Steve had shared some rich tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary with the class, for example distressed surfaces and crystallised, and asked the students to use this vocabulary to talk about their work. This is an excellent way of using concrete examples (in this instance the students’ own work) to help consolidate understanding of more conceptual vocabulary.

Along the corridor in maths, Kathy Hughes was giving superb whole-class feedback to her Year 8 group with regards to their homework. Kathy spent time carefully going over mistakes that students had made in their homework and then modelled the correct method required to complete the tasks. What made this feedback particularly effective was that Kathy knew exactly what areas the class needed to work on, and then gave two or three examples and explanations of how to improve their accuracy in these areas, for example by reminding students to label what they are plotting on graphs.

Jack Griffiths was delivering a high-challenge lesson in his computing class. Jack was using clear metacognitive strategies as he modelled annotating code, talking aloud about his thinking as he did so. This moved on to some targeted and high-level questioning through which Jack could assess how much of their written work the students really understood. At one point, a student was struggling to understand a particularly complex sequence in the coding, and so Jack made excellent use of a sporting analogy to scaffold the student’s learning.

Downstairs, Ray Burns’s Year 10 class were midway through producing some very eye catching animal figures using a cut and slot method. Ray explained that he had encouraged the students to reflect on any mistakes they made as they went about the process of producing their pieces and adjust their plans accordingly. This kind of metacognitive thinking and self regulation is precisely what we are hoping to develop further in our students at Durrington over the coming year.

In science, Phoebe Bence was introducing a new topic to her Year 9 class. There was very methodical instruction taking place with the aid of a well-selected diagram in which the text was part of the image. Through her approach and resources, Phoebe was avoiding overloading her students’ working memories as they grappled with this new and complex information. Phoebe also demonstrated her awareness of the importance of literacy when she asked a student to use the more sophisticated ‘stomach’ instead of the student’s original, and more colloquial, word choice.

Kelly Heane’s Year 7 class were engrossed in their reading of a whole-class shared novel. They were at a gripping point in the narrative, and the enjoyment from the whole class was palpable. It was a great to see young people sharing in the pleasure of reading. However, what also made this lesson very effective in terms of learning was Kelly’s clear modelling of the essential reading strategies. For example, Kelly asked questions about the text to show her class what she as thinking as she read to help her comprehend. Additionally, Kelly had previously asked the class to make predictions about what might happen and now referred back to these in order to clarify the section just read. Finally, Kelly stopped to check what they might not have understood very well, and went back to the text to clear up any confusion. It is the explicit modelling of these strategies that can open up the world of reading to those who find it more challenging, and therefore helps to create inclusive classrooms.

Sarah Dedman’s Year 8 history class were busy tackling an extended writing piece in silent conditions. However, Sarah was not resting easy and took the opportunity to challenge her students on an individual basis. What was particularly impressive in this lesson was Sarah’s use of elaborative questioning as she pushed a student to keep developing his response using tier 2 and 3 terminology, for example alliance. The student showed many signs of reluctance to continue (he was in the struggle zone) but Sarah’s persistence and support paid off and enabled him to produce a very complex verbal response which he was then able to put into writing.

Finally, in geography Hannah Townsend was tackling misconceptions with potentially very serious outcomes not just in the classroom but far beyond. Hannah had used a graph to demonstrate the effect of immigration into the UK, and was openly challenging the perception that immigrant groups contribute less than they gain from UK systems. This was a very high-challenge and potentially contentious lesson, but Hannah’s approach using geographical methods to explain the facts meant that the students had a secure and valid basis from which to form their ideas. Hannah also exemplified Durrington’s literacy focus on using tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary during a questioning sequence. A student gave an answer using the word ‘make’ and Hannah asked them to upgrade to another word they had been practising – manufacture. This instantly lifted the response to a more geographically accurate explanation, and enabled to class to better understand the word by using it in a different context.

It is clear that Durrington students continue to enjoy and benefit from the diligence, expertise and care of a fantastic teaching team.

Fran Haynes.






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