Teaching and Learning


JWA Teaching & learning bulletin

Half term 4 - 2018

Outstanding Teaching and learning at JWA


Last term Mr. Spendlow reminded us of the importance of setting homework in order to support the progress and attainment of all of our learners; so we thought we’d spend a little time focusing on good practice with homework…

Homework is seemingly most effective when it involves practice or rehearsal of subject matter already taught. Students should not typically be exposed to new material for their home learning, unless they are judged more expert learners. Complex, open-ended homework is often completed least effectively; whereas, short, frequent homework, closely monitored by teachers is more likely to have more impact. This could include summarising notes; using graphic organisers to recast classroom materials; guided research; exam question practice; guided revision etc.

Home learning is proven to be more effective with older students than their younger counterparts. This is typically because they are more able to self-regulate their learning and they have more background knowledge to draw upon. For similar reasons, high ability students typically benefit more from home learning than low ability students.

Teacher scaffolding is essential to guide effective home learning. Parental involvement is desirable, but it should not be essential, otherwise the nature of the task is likely too complex for successful completion.

Cathy Vatterott (2010) identified five fundamental characteristics of good homework:

Purpose, efficiency, ownership, competence, and aesthetic appeal.

1. Purpose: all homework assignments are meaningful & students must also understand the purpose of the assignment and why it is important in the context of their academic experience (Xu, 2011).

2. Efficiency: homework should not take an inordinate amount of time and should require some hard thinking.

3. Ownership: students who feel connected to the content and assignment learn more and are more motivated. Providing students with choice in their assignments is one way to create ownership.

4. Competence: students should feel competent in completing homework. In order to achieve this, it’s beneficial to abandon the one-size-fits-all model. Homework that students can’t do without help is not good homework.

5. Inspiring: A well-considered & clearly designed resource and task impacts positively upon student motivation.

Give it a go!

  Learning Structures

We know you’re including a range of learning structures into your teaching, but if you’ve not used ‘Be a great coach’ before, or you haven’t used it for a while, here are a few of our thoughts for you to consider…

  1. Split a class into groups, each group working on different but linkable topics and tasks.
  2. Use ‘move and synergise’ to change up the teams when you’re happy that the team have learnt / prepared enough.
  3. The learners that move take their topic and tasks with them to get their new team to begin them.
  4. Once you’ve completed some AfL to ensure that the material has been covered with enough depth, direct the whole class to complete an ‘outfox the class’ activity.


As punctuation is one of our key literacy focuses, please try the challenge below. Complete and send to S.Clark and correct entries will receive a prize!

  1. Are you playing football tonight
  2. Our dog which is really stupid chases its tail
  3. At school I study English Maths IT and PE
  4. The teacher screamed STOP
  5. Dont eat that shouted Tom
  6. To survive in camp we need the following a roof clean water a fire and a comfy bed


Common misconception with students is that when multiplying numbers by powers of 10 we ‘move the decimal’ or ‘add a zero’.

In actual fact the numbers move up the columns for every power of 10 we multiply by, or down the columns for every power of 10 we divide by, filling in any gaps with a zero.

The decimal never moves, it’s always between the units and the tenths column


Student Voice – A review of our learners' experiences and thoughts over this last year.

New Teachers Special – We’ll take a look at our NQTs / RQTs and see how they have been getting on over the last year.


If you have any ideas/strategies/websites you would like to suggest please email: clarks@johnwhitgift.org.uk or brights@johnwhitgift.org.uk