Teaching & Learning

Current Position & Thinking


Teaching and Learning is Priority One on the 2014/15 School improvement plan.

The areas for development that we have identified are based on an assessment of perceived need, and the process is informed by current thinking in educational research. We draw extensively on the work of John Hattie, Carol Dweck, Shirley Clarke and Michael Fullan amongst others.

In the course of session 2014/15 we will hold whole school professional development sessions on:

  • The four phase model
  • Revisiting the key principles of AiFl
  • Effective Feedback
  • Critical Skills and collaborative learning
  • VCOP & Big Writing
  • Active Maths
  • SEAL Training
  • 1+2 Languages
  • Learning Walls and Talking & Thinking Floorbooks

We will work in partnership with all schools in the Balerno Community High School Cluster to develop our confidence and practice in the assessment and moderation of Literacy. We believe that this will allow us to achieve the right level of challenge for all pupils, ensure consistency of expectation at periods of transition, and raise standards. We will review our homework policy in consultation with all staff, pupils and parents, with the aim of developing a framework that will best enhance and build on the learning that takes place in school.

We will engage with the Confident Staff Confident Children programme, which will give us the opportunity to explore a range of social and emotional factors that impact on children’s learning.

Click HERE for an overview of the Development Programme, together with many of the resources and presentations accessed in the course of the year.

Involving Children


Our aim is that children are more engaged and articulate in using the language of learning. To that end, we have timetabled a series of Learning and Teaching assemblies to address and reflect some of the areas of development. The intention is to achieve joined-up thinking, with teachers, children, support staff and parents developing a common focus on learning about learning.

Members of the senior management team will meet with children on a regular basis for learning chats. The new reporting format that was introduced in Session 2013/14 will facilitate this process, as well as giving children the opportunity to have more focused conversations about their learning with their teachers and parents.

Involving Parents


We are holding a series of discussion evenings for parents in Session 2014/15 on themes such as Curriculum Rationale, Teaching & Learning Approaches, and Homework. A link to forthcoming events, together with summaries of presentations that have already taken place, can be found on the school website.


Next Steps


  • We have received over 200 responses from parents to our homework survey. The vast majority of responses were in favour of homework, and there were many constructive suggestions made as to how we can target homework more effectively. We are currently analysing those responses and they will inform our new policy.
  • The Pupil Council have made significant contributions to the development process, however meetings will have to be more rigorously timetabled to ensure that there is a greater opportunity for pupil voice to be heard throughout the 2014/15 session.
  • We are planning for the development of assessment and moderation of Maths and Numeracy in session 2015/16.
  • Develop commonality in the language of feedback and common marking signposts in literacy and numeracy.
  • The SMT will continue to develop robust systems for monitoring attainment & achievement so that the impact on pupils of the developments can be evaluated.




Clarke, S. (2001). Unlocking Formative Assessment in the Classroom. Oxon: Hodder Murray

Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset. New York: Random House.

Hattie, J. (2012). Visible Learning for Teachers. Oxon: Routledge.

Hattie, J., & Yates, G. (2014). Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn. Oxon: Routledge.


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