Teaching and Learning

Huntingdon Academy’s Teaching and Learning Principles:

At Huntingdon, we believe that, for the children to get the best possible provision, the provision that they deserve, the following at the very least needs to be delivered by our professionals with the commitment to build on these foundations and try new approaches to achieve the best possible outcomes for all.

A theme based display

In the learning environment you will see:

• Reading areas that are inviting, neat and well organised

• Surfaces that are clutter free, including pupils tables and teaching spaces, such as under the whiteboard
• Equipment around the classroom that is labelled, well organised and easily accessible
• The wider Curriculum display book on an easel on the entry to the classroom.

• Displays that are of a high quality
• Theme displays that are ready for start of each term and include photos of the children
• Work that is single mounted neatly
• Display borders that are double mounted

Working walls
• That are up kept up to date and reflect the current learning in the classroom
• That provide useful scaffolding, generated in response to the class, to support learning. (not printed from generic educational websites)
• That showcase examples of WAGOLL
• Handwriting that is in line with Nelson Handwriting scheme
• Learning supports are well positioned in the class so all pupils can access them
• Washing lines that are used to display sequences of learning (English)
• Vocabulary bullseyes for Maths, English and Wider curriculum.
• Walls are plain (allow pupils to focus on working walls) and avoid cognitive overload.

Maths Working Wall
English Working Wall

The working walls are updated so that they are a ‘live’ resource used by the pupils during their learning.

Optimum performance learning is a result of highly effective teaching

The following models provide a useful scaffold on which we base our teaching principles:

Model of meaningful engagement and the pupil teacher relationship

Meaningful engagement supports effective learning and depends very heavily on the relationship between the pupil and the teacher. A teacher that has a good understanding of the students they teach including their interests, personality and perceived strengths and areas for development will be able to accurately pitch learning content and ensure that there is some relevance to the students.

Facilitative model of teaching and learning
  • Pupil talk is a prominent feature of all lessons. Pupils work collaboratively and are given opportunity to discuss, question and share thinking.
  • We take a ‘Talk less teaching’ approach where the pupils are talking more than the teacher does.
  • Teacher led discussion may take place at any place in the room not only at the front. 
  • All students are expected to be active in their learning. Lesson design enables and encourages this through variation and employing different techniques and strategies in each stage of the lesson (see model)
Model of challenge, effort and participation on the part of the learner.

It is known that learning must take effort on the part of the learner and if learning requires no effort, it will not stick. Therefore, if learning is easy, it probably is not worthwhile.

Learning is challenging and tasks encourage a deep level of thinking and opportunity for the raising of questions by the children.

  • Flashbacks, consisting of past learning and key knowledge, take place at the start of all lessons and again must be presented in a variety of ways to ensure learning is engaging. This will help to consolidate learning and allow pupils to commit learning to the long-term memory.
  • Each year group has identified the ‘Little and Often’ facts that are rehearsed throughout each term and must be embedded by the end of each term.
The Wider Curriculum board outside classroom.

The learning for each half term is displayed for each year group outside of the classroom. This highlights the key enquiry question that leads the learning for that half term, based around a theme. This stimulates an interest and curiosity about what they are learning. It helps them to see the links between subjects too.

Effective use of teaching assistants

  • Teaching assistants should be impacting on learning at every moment of the day, from as soon as pupils enter the classroom. This includes the moments in the lesson where the pupils are required to listen to input from the teacher.
  • Teaching assistants must be fully briefed about lesson outcomes. They must know whom they might support, how they will support and what the outcomes should be.
  • TA support may be in small groups or one to one and should very much depend on the needs of the individuals in that particular session.
  • The aim of all teaching staff is to empower the learner so that they understand what helps them learn best and how they can help themselves if they are ‘stuck’.

Classroom Climate

A classroom climate where pupils feel, safe, happy and valued will ensure that a learner is in the best frame of mind to learn. The expectations at Huntingdon Academy are high but fair and are shared by all. At Huntingdon, our teachers and colleagues lead by example in the way that we conduct ourselves, communicate, and work with others. 

School Values board
  • A calm, focused climate where expectations are clear is important. Classroom expectations are clearly communicated and all children know the class expectations.  
  • Children are clear about the school learning values, know exactly what behaviours that they need to show in order to receive a value stamp.
  • The teacher refers specifically to the learning values that the class are working on during a lesson and throughout the day.
  • The learning value of the lesson is displayed on the values board using the stars.
  • Children’s learning passports are out on desks.
‘Stop, start’ charter written with the pupils is displayed.
  • The teacher has agreed with the class a set of ‘stop, start’ behaviours, which are clearly displayed for children to refer to.
  • The teacher sets high expectations in terms of behaviour. Children are respectful of one another and demonstrate a level of independence and self-discipline.
  • The teacher is pre-emptive in avoiding disruption to the lesson and is able to deal calmly and effectively with conflict or disruption in the class.
  • The teacher uses the consequence system effectively to remind the children of their choices and praises them when they self-regulate and bring their choices in line with expectations.
  • The teacher has set up effective systems that allow the children to be independent and make choices so that they do not pause to ask questions such as ‘What do I do next?’ or ‘Shall I stick that here? Or, ‘Can I get a dictionary?’
  • Pupils know what to do if they are stuck and when they are finished.
  • Clear Teacher modelling of handwriting, spellings and general presentation both on displays and on the interactive white board.

Effective use of time


  • Learning follows a timetable that is displayed in the classroom. This ensures that both teacher and learner are ready for learning and have the appropriate resources prepared.
  • To make every second of learning time count (time is not wasted handing out books, waiting for resources, organising places, photocopying etc.
  • Resources are well presented, trimmed effectively and organised before the start of the lesson.
  • Well-organised systems ensure that resources, book and manipulatives can be easily accessed and not being given out during the lesson.

Morning Work

  • Children of all ages are quickly in the habit of independently entering the classroom, settling down and getting on or ready for their first task.
  • An effective use of time might include responding to feedback in their books or completing a flashback or ‘morning’ task. A task that enables them to revisit or revise learning or prepare themselves for learning that will be taking place.
  • Children should be engaged in this work whilst the teacher takes the register.
  • Once the teacher has taken the register they can then talk through the morning work
  • It is essential that a small amount of time is spent reviewing the morning work and addressing any misconceptions.

Feedback and Marking

‘We don’t learn from experiences we learn from reflecting on the experiences.’ John Dewey

Peer and self-assessment is used constantly in conjunction with teacher assessment to form targets, next steps and interventions. Feedback must be, done with and not done too! Pupils should know what their targets are and be able to ascertain for themselves whether they feel that they have met the learning objectives. This occurs throughout the lesson not just at the end.

               Feedback model:  Johari’s window
  • The teacher should give marking and verbal feedback during the lesson (following the LIVE marking guidance), to individuals, group or class but under no circumstances, should there be children passively waiting to have their work marked before they can continue with the learning.
  • Pupils should always know what to do next in order to deepen their understanding.

Marking protocol (see marking policy for further guidance)

  • The marking process should evidence the learning journey of the pupil.
  • It should be clear to see where teacher intervention has impacted the learning and where pupils have responded to feedback.
  • ‘Live marking’ enables the teacher to give direct verbal feedback and instruction to pupils. This is known to be the most effective way of developing learning. This will be visible in books.
  • All work in English, maths and wider curriculum must be marked/reflected upon by the teacher following the lesson. 
English marking example

The story of the marking (English)

The teacher has marked in the margin using the symbols in the marking code where the pupil needs to correct their work.  The marking is thorough, picking up appropriate spellings for the age group but not necessarily every spelling in the piece of work. The pupil has been able to respond (in purple) putting capital letters and full stops in and has even been challenged to correct their speech marks.  There is minimal marking, however the impact the teacher has had on this piece of work is clear. Following the lesson, the teacher has marked a double tick by the learning objective as it has been fully achieved and the child has POG green to indicate that they feel they have fully met the objective too.

  • The marking of pupils work should show the impact of the teaching.
  • Marking may be to help a pupil correct the accuracy of their work, to address a misconception or to challenge their thinking and move their learning on further.
  • This should be apparent through ‘the story of the marking’
  • Evidence shows that feedback is more effective where it is given ‘live’ or in the moment.
  • In addition to ‘live’ marking, the teacher will need to review the work completed at the end of the lesson to ensure an accurate and in depth understanding of class’s response to the lesson.
Maths marking example

The story of the marking (Maths)

The pupil has made a mistake when sequencing the numbers. The teacher has spotted during ‘live marking’ the pupil has not understood that they are descending. The teacher has marked ‘f’ where facilitation has been given to the pupil and the pupil has corrected their work in purple pen.  Following the lesson, the teacher has marked a double tick by the learning objective as it has been fully achieved and the child has POG green to indicate that they feel they have fully met the objective too.

Children’s books

  • Children take pride in their books, taking care not to crease or mark the covers.
  • Handwriting is neat and in line with the policy.
  • Children use pencil to write in EYFS to year 4 and pen in years 5 and 6.
  • Pencil is used in maths books.
  • Pupils are encouraged to show their thinking using jottings, which are neat and clearly represented.
  • Pupils should use a ruler to underline and to draw straight lines in their books.


  • Curriculum overview boards in each year group classroom clearly display the enquiry question for the main topic and for the other curriculum subjects being covered each half term.
  • Planning documents are stored on the Dashboard by the end of the first week back after half term. This includes, cover sheet, Newsletter and the Medium Term Planning for English, Maths and Wider curriculum.
  • The curriculum subjects are planned and taught as a block rather than weekly (with the exception of French, PSHE and RE, PE)
  • A coloured band at the top of the instruction slips demarcates the subjects.
  • Smart Notebooks are prepared and follow the agreed lesson structure- Flashback, Discover, Share and think, Practice and Apply and Reflect. However, the structure of the lesson should not be restrictive in terms of responding to the needs of the learner. A creative lesson may require a less structured approach.
  • The pupil’s ability to deepen their learning is encouraged by the inclusion of challenge activities or questions on work slips.  
  • A pupils ability to express their thinking should not inhibited by worksheets that encourage responses in boxes.                       

We are aiming for children to be the creators of the questions rather than the ones that can respond to them. Questions must be crafted to challenge the thinking of the pupils in this way.

Teaching and Learning Principles In Action