How we approach Teaching and Learning

How we approach Teaching and Learning

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 At St Johns Junior School we are designing a thematic, learning challenge  curriculum which both supports attainment and progression in the vital skills of speaking and listening, reading and writing and mathematics as well as developing a rich and creative holistic model which encompasses RE the Arts, Science, Computing, the humanities, PE, citizenship and well being.


This concept is built around the principles of active learning, exploring, creating and thinking critically. This results in a rich and meaningful curriculum which promotes higher standards and empowers the skills for life-long learning, contributing to preparing our children for life in modern Britain.


What drives our Learning approach?

  • Curriculum planned around the distinctive needs of the children
  • Enquiry based learning which promotes curiosity
  • Emphasis on the application of basic skills
  • English and maths skills embedded across all areas of the curriculum
  • Interesting  and intriguing learning for all
  • Integrates Empowering Learning (‘learning how to learn’)


What does the learning journey look like?

Each term every year group has  a topic or theme to explore. Some year groups choose two, one for each half term.  The teachers try to link as many subjects into this theme as possible – although we recognise that this is not always possible and some subjects may need to be taught discreetly

Learning Challenges hold the key to the format of this curriculum.The design of the curriculum is based around a series of challenges – expressed as questions. The main aim is to deepen learners’ thinking and encourage them to be more involved in their learning. Teachers questioning and tasks incorporate higher order challenges and thinking. For example, in addition to the skills of acquiring knowledge and understanding, we actively encourage the skills of application, analysis and evaluation.


Pre-Learning Tasks

Pre Learning activities, tasks or challenges are an important part of the Learning Challenge Curriculum because they ensure that learners are involved in the planning process.They can take many different forms. In some cases they will be class discussions with the teacher acting as a scribe. In other cases learners may engage in a pre-learning activity or homework.

The idea is that teachers who plan for a learning challenge can take account of learners’ previous knowledge, misconceptions and areas of interest. In this way our teachers are able to plan the learning at just the right level for the various learners’ needs and skill level.


The WOW Effect - Excite, Enhance, Celebrate

To ensure that learners are immediately ‘hooked’ by the theme they are exploring, the learning challenge curriculum considers that the introduction to each new theme be given careful consideration. The idea is to create a very powerful stimulus that immediately grabs the learner. For example - a visit to a special place of interest is one way of achieving this. Another way is to involve visitors coming into the classroom. Both these have been used very successfully to introduce a new theme. The idea is that learners are immediately ‘grabbed’ by the topic being studied.


Outcome and Reflection

A critical part of the learning  is ensuring that children understand what they are working towards, i.e. knowing the bigger picture. Reflection helps to cement the learning. i.e  WHAT have I learnt and HOW have I learnt it? We think this is critical to developing the child as a reflective individual who can engage in thinking about their own learning.


Applying Basic Skills

Our thematic curriculum  promotes high standards across the curriculum. Feedback from evidence tells us that the most successful schools ensure that children practice their basic skills in many contexts. At St John’s Junior School  our teachers endeavor to build in opportunities to meaningfully practice basic skills across the curriculum.