Teaching & Learning
In October 2013, Ofsted visited the school; the subsequent report stated:
The quality of teaching over time is good and improving, with an increasing proportion of teaching which is outstanding.
Teachers use their good subject knowledge to plan varied activities which stimulate interest and engage students.
There are positive relationships between staff and students based on mutual respect.
Scrutiny of students’ books indicates that work is presented to a high standard. Marking is
regular and gives students helpful feedback.
One year on, in October 2014, St Gregory’s had a diocesan (section 48) inspection which found:
The quality of teaching is outstanding. A collaborative and supportive approach, in addition to robust monitoring and evaluation, all contribute to sustaining teaching that is consistently of the highest standards. High expectations, challenging tasks, effective differentiation and a consistent focus on progress made, encourage pupils and students to reflect independently on their faith and to think critically.
Ensuring that all teaching is outstanding, across the school, is the shared goal of all of St Gregory’s staff. All teachers are committed to this aim and regularly meet in groups (this is called our Teacher Learning Community) to share good practice, taking opportunities for reflection and embed CPD in the classroom. Other opportunities for teacher development arise from a continuing coaching programme and regular inset days.
“For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right.... Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realise his or her full potential.”
At St Gregory’s Catholic Science College, all teachers are responsible for developing pupils’ literacy skills. Cross-curricular strategies are in place to promote reading for pleasure, such as a weekly school-wide silent reading slot, themed days and a reading buddy scheme. Progress in literacy in written work is assessed in all subjects at least termly and focused intervention is subsequently put in place for pupils who are not making rapid progress. The development of sophisticated communication skills is also a key focus at St Gregory’s and is encouraged through a whole-school speaking policy and a ‘speaking advocate’ scheme.
It is critical that pupils continue to advance their literacy skills beyond the classroom. There are links to useful websites below that outline ways that parents and carers can help to nurture pupils’ reading, writing and communication skills.
Mathematical knowledge and skills
At St Gregory’s Catholic Science College, all teachers share the responsibility of raising pupils’ mathematical knowledge and skills. Through the support of colleagues in the mathematics department, the whole teaching staff develops pupils’ techniques in: representing data, averages, numerical methods and accuracy of measurement.
Statement of Intent
To enable all students to be make excellent progress through the effective use of Assessment for Learning. Through accurate assessment, teachers will recognise success and enable pupils, as assessors, to personalise their learning and identify how to improve further.
Rationale for Effective Assessment
Ofsted (2011) state the purpose of assessment is to improve achievement, not just measure attainment, and develop systematically the teaching and learning skills that drive pupils’ progress in lessons.
Practice and procedures
Assessment is a key feature of learning at St Gregory’s. During lessons, pupils participate in self and/or peer-assessment and are given opportunities to reflect on their work and how they could make further progress. Students use green pens (whole school policy) to mark and write formative comments on their own or their peers’ classwork and homework.
Teachers assess pupils’ understanding throughout lessons using questioning techniques and give verbal feedback and praise. Written comments are mapped against skills, are focused and subject specific, in order to advance pupil progress and outcomes. Tests are used as and when appropriate, providing pupils with knowledge of their current level/grade and ways to improve.
Pupils in Year 8 and 9, who were awarded National Curriculum levels at the end of primary school, continue to be tracked using National Curriculum levels.
Year 7 pupils are assessed against the National Curriculum strands for each subject (or the Curriculum Directory in RE); parents will receive termly reports detailing whether their child is emerging, developing, secure or mastering the Year 7 curriculum.
Homework is an integral part of teaching and learning at St Gregory’s; pupils are expected to work independently outside the classroom.
Homework is set on a weekly basis (or fortnightly for some subjects which have less contact time in KS3: IT, Music, Art, Drama, History, and Geography). PE does not set homework. Each week, homework is checked by the teacher. Guidelines for the amount of homework are:
KS3 30-45 minutes per subject
KS4 45-60 minutes per subject
KS5 no specific time allocation, but weekly
Each student has received a copy of their homework timetable to stick into their diary; electronic copies are available via the links below.
The SEN department identify pupils who require extra support for homework and provide assistance through homework club; they liaise with departments regarding homework for these students.
Parents and carers can help their children to make progress by providing a reasonably peaceful, suitable place where they can do their homework, to check their homework diary and sign it weekly, and to monitor the standard of their child’s homework. For further ideas on how parents can offer support, please click on the link to ’10 top tips for homework survival’ below.