At Cronk y Berry School, we believe in the concept of lifelong learning, and in the idea that both adults and children learn new things every day. We maintain that learning should be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for everyone; in short, it should be fun. Through our teaching, we equip children with the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to be able to make informed choices about the important things in their lives. We believe that appropriate teaching and learning experiences help children to lead happy and rewarding lives.
Research tells us that people learn in many different ways, and respond best to different types of input (visual, auditory and kinaesthetic); we must therefore deliver teaching in different ways to address the needs of all our learners. We take into account the different forms of intelligence (e.g. mathematical/logical, visual/spatial, interpersonal, musical) when planning our teaching. We ensure the best possible environment for learning by developing a positive atmosphere in which pupils feel safe and feel they belong, in which they enjoy being challenged, but in which they enjoy learning, and know that they will succeed (because they know the challenge will have been set at the right level). All teaching will be structured to maximise learning opportunities, and lessons will be planned in accordance with the following principles:
the teaching should build on previous learning;
it should give pupils the 'big picture' of the lesson;
the teacher should explain the learning objectives, and why the lesson is important;
the lesson should be presented in a range of styles;
it should allow opportunities for the pupils to build up their own understanding through various activities;
it should allow opportunities for the children to review what has been learnt;
it should have built-in opportunities for feedback to the children, celebrating success and reviewing learning strategies;
the teaching should indicate what the next step in the learning will be.
We offer opportunities for children to learn in different ways. These include:
investigation and problem-solving;
research and discovery;
asking and answering questions;
use of ICT;
fieldwork and visits to places of educational interest;
watching film material and responding to music;
debates, role-plays and oral presentations;
designing and making things;
participation in athletic or physical activity.
We encourage children to take responsibility for their own learning, to be involved as far as possible in reviewing the way in which they learn, and to reflect on how they learn – what helps them learn, and what makes it difficult for them to learn.
At Cronk y Berry School, we design our curriculum and learning experiences to promote the following life skills which we call the six R’s:
Readiness - positive self-esteem and concentration
Relationships which are positive
Resourcefulness - using initiative
Resilience - solving problems, being flexible
Remembering skills - learning from experience
Reflectiveness - having a sense of pride.
When we are teaching, we focus on motivating all the children, and building on their skills, knowledge and understanding of the curriculum, so that they reach the highest level of personal achievement. We use the school curriculum plan to guide our teaching. This sets out the aims, objectives and values of the school, and details what is to be taught to each year group.
Teachers make ongoing assessments of each child's progress, and they use this information when planning their lessons. It enables them to take into account the abilities of all their children. Our prime focus is to develop further the knowledge and skills of all our children. We strive to ensure that all tasks set are appropriate to each child's level of ability. When planning work for children with special educational needs, we give due regard to information and targets contained in the childrens’ Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Teachers modify teaching and learning as appropriate for children with different learning needs. We value each child as a unique individual, and teachers are familiar with the relevant equal opportunities legislation covering race, gender and disability. We will strive to meet the needs of all our children, and to ensure that we meet all statutory requirements related to matters of inclusion.
We plan our lessons with clear learning objectives. We take these objectives from the Manx National Curriculum or the national literacy or numeracy strategies. Our lesson plans contain information about the tasks to be set, the resources needed, and the way in which we assess the children's work. We evaluate all lessons, so that we can modify and improve our future teaching.
Each of our teachers makes a special effort to establish good working relationships with all the children in the class. We treat the children with kindness and respect. We recognise that they are all individuals with different needs, but we treat them fairly, and give them equal opportunity to take part in class activities. All of our teachers follow the school policy with regard to discipline and classroom management. We set and agree with children the class code of conduct, and we expect all children to comply with the rules that we jointly devise to promote the best learning opportunities for all. We praise children for their efforts and, by so doing, we help to build positive attitudes towards school and learning in general. We insist on good order and behaviour at all times. When children misbehave, we follow the guidelines for sanctions as outlined in our policy on positive self-discipline.
We ensure that all tasks and activities that the children perform are safe. When we plan to take children out of school, we follow a strict set of procedures to ensure safety: the venue is visited, risk assessments are completed, and various permissions are obtained. We inform parents, and obtain their permission, before the visit takes place.
We deploy Educational Support Officers and other adult helpers as effectively as possible. Sometimes, they work with individual children, and sometimes they work with small groups. Our adult helpers also assist with the preparation and storage of classroom equipment.
Our classrooms are attractive learning environments. We change displays at least once a term, so that the classroom reflects the topics studied by the children. We ensure that all children have the opportunity to display their best work at some time during the year. All classrooms have a range of both fiction and non-fiction books, as well as displays relating to literacy and numeracy. We also use displays as learning prompts for the children. We believe that a stimulating environment sets the climate for learning, and that an exciting classroom promotes independent use of resources, which results in high-quality work by the children.
All of our teachers reflect on their strengths and weaknesses, and plan their professional development accordingly. We do all we can to support our teachers in developing their skills, so that they can continually improve their practice.