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Teaching and Learning

Teaching and Learning at Astrea Academy Dearne

Teaching and Learning at Astrea Academy Dearne is evidence informed, responsive to needs of the Academy, and develops teachers in highly effective teaching practices such as retrieval practice, cognitive load, means of participation and high quality questioning to name a few. The aim of our teacher development is for teachers to thrive, and for scholars to succeed.

Practitioners and experts from which we are highly influenced include Doug Lemov (Teach Like A Champion 3.0), Tom Sherrington (Teaching Walkthrus), and Barak Rosenshine (Principles of Instruction).

Our understanding of the learning process is applied in both pedagogical practice in the classroom and in Whole-school CPD for our teachers. It is important that working memory is not overwhelmed, that content is relevant and building upon prior knowledge, and is broken down into manageable learning chunks.

A model for the learning process. And why it helps to have one. – teacherhead

”Creating a common language and vocabulary for key teaching and leadership practices is of fundamental importance in making the most of professional development. […] if framing is not used correctly, there can be multiple understandings of a single topic. Moreover, we cannot talk to each other effectively.”

                                             Bambrick-Santoyo, Leverage Leadership, 2012, p. 148

Our Pedagogical Principles provide clarity, common language, and persistent foci:

Pedagogical Principles – Vid.mp4

Lessons at Astrea Academy Dearne

Lesson planning at Astrea Academy Dearne considers cognitive science, Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction and Teach Like A Champion 3.0 delivery and participation techniques.

The cognitive science behind Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction (

A typical Astrea Academy Dearne lesson consists of:

  • A ‘Do Now’ activity to retrieve prior knowledge – ensuring scholars know, and remember, more.
  • Explicit teacher instruction – with the teacher as the expert, demonstrating and modelling the intended learning to scholars through making connections and building on prior knowledge.
  • A structured handover process – through carefully considered teacher explanation and modelling, guided practice, followed by independent practice (I do/ We do/ You do).
  • Regular checks for understanding – using techniques such as mini-whiteboards, cold calling, and quizzing.
  • Independent practice with instant feedback that moves learning forward.

“Changes don’t become habits overnight: staff need time to build new techniques into their current mental model of teaching so they can become a permanent aspect of their practice.”

A. Robbins, Middle Leadership Mastery

Our CPD programme has been carefully designed in response to the needs of the Academy, providing purposeful, meaningful and specific foci, to bring immediate impact to our context. Implementation is gradual, ensuring sustainable change and allowing teachers the time to develop automaticity. The intention is for the principles to become a typicality of daily practice across the Academy, rather than one-off low impact CPD sessions.

Our Pedagogy CPD is booklet-led creating a shared language amongst colleagues and codifying the importance of the points and techniques explored. There is time within each session dedicated to practice, refinement, and reflection.

Our Pedagogy CPD alternates with Intellectual Preparation sessions. Intellectual Preparation (IP) sessions aim to reduce teacher workload through developing subject knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge. During the fortnightly IP sessions, teachers focus on collaborative planning, lesson sequencing, effective explanations, modelling and delivery, and scholar misconceptions.

Codification and training on principles of highly effective teaching ensures teachers are aligned in what constitutes as highly effective practice and delivery.

Principals of highly effective teaching – vid.mp4

To provide teachers with further development opportunities and support independent research, a Padlet has been created of leading blogs, websites and research relating to the Academy CPD priorities, as well as wider Teaching and Learning Principles.

Teaching & Learning at Astrea Academy Dearne (

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