Impactful Teaching

At Castle Phoenix Trust, learning is at the heart of everything that we do and we are passionate about making a positive difference to the lives of the learners in our care through our Trust Ambition of Impactful Teaching.

There are dedicated professionals within the Trust, and in each of our schools, with responsibility for ensuring that Learning and Teaching is effective and impactful. They are further supported by Learning and Teaching leaders who role model and champion innovative teaching in every classroom.

In both our primary and secondary schools, we have high expectations of our learners, encouraging them to aim high and strive relentlessly to be the best version of themselves that they can be. Our vision is to raise the achievement and self-esteem of our learners, through fostering their curiosity in a supportive, co-operative environment.

As a learning community, we aim to develop critical thinkers who are resilient and independent, preparing them effectively for life beyond our schools. Key to this success is a relentless focus on raising standards of reading and oracy across the curriculum and key stages for all of our learners. We aim to make our school environments talk rich; places where all students have a voice and value the views of others. “Proficiency in reading, writing and spoken language is vital for pupils’ success. Through these, they develop communication skills for education and for working with others: in school, in training and in work” (p6. The Reading Framework, DFE, 2021).

The 4 Principles of Great Learning

Our teaching staff help remove barriers to learning and encourage learners to fly through the Four Principles of Great Learning below which are increasingly being woven into all aspects of school life as the next steps to our journey.  These focus on what we expect to see in our lessons in order for them to fully succeed.  Teachers plan to ensure that these are in place and adjust their teaching accordingly based on what the learning reveals.  A shared understanding of what is being learnt, how and why makes sense of learning with learners being encouraged to reflect honestly, question to clarify and see the value in the mistakes that they make.  Learners and staff work as a team in a safe yet challenging environment.

Learners understand what they are learning and why they are learning it

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Learners use literacy and language rigorously, fluently and precisely to communicate effectively

Learners are engaged in essential learning activities to build, extend, apply and remember their knowledge, skills and understanding

Learners self-assess and reflect on their learning and understanding

To support and challenge our learners in classrooms, all of our schools champion the Six Principles of Great Teaching to ensure that learning and teaching is effective and brings about positive change. We place enormous importance on the impact of classroom teaching, ensuring that learning and teaching is of the highest standard for the benefits of the young people in our community. Within lessons, teaching staff focus on the principles below, continuously adjusting their practice and tailoring it to meet the needs of their groups and individuals within them.

Our 6 Principles of Great Teaching are:

Challenge

So learners have high expectations of what they can achieve.

Explanation

So learners acquire new knowledge and skills.

Modelling

So learners are able to apply their new knowledge and skills.

Questioning

So learners think hard with depth, breadth and accuracy

Feedback

So learners think about and further develop their knowledge and skills.

Practice

So learners engage in the deliberate practice and application of their knowledge and skills.

Learning For All

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

Eric Hoffer

We pride ourselves in the fact that all members of our Trust community see themselves as lifelong learners continuously seeking opportunities to develop further.

In our quest for excellence, we believe in developing each individual member of staff through a personalised CPD approach.  Staff development programmes focus on the individual at all career stages, supporting school improvement and our Trust Ambitions.  We do not believe in a “one size fits all” approach to CPD offering many development routes.

In order to support this vision we have developed our online learning model which allows staff to develop their pedagogical practice through CPD, research, collaborating with other professionals and individual reflection.  Staff are able to build their professional competencies as learning and teaching practitioners and leaders.  One example of this is The Great Teacher Programme which guides identified staff through the Six Principles of Great Teaching, allowing them to reflect on their own practice and developing them to be able to then support and lead others in their schools.

One of the many benefits of belonging to a Trust of schools is the opportunity to share good practice, successes and workload between our schools.  It is a privilege to be able to visit each others’ schools and work across the Trust to celebrate and strengthen our approach to Learning and Teaching and raise standards together.  Cross Trust groups, peer reviews and annual Learning and Teaching Conferences are examples of the exciting professional development on offer at Castle Phoenix. As a Trust we also enjoy partnerships with external agencies such as Challenge Partners, to broaden our thinking beyond our schools and remain at the forefront of new initiatives.

New staff and Early Careers Teachers are well supported in our schools through our commitment to attracting and holding onto the next generation of teachers to our profession.  Induction programmes smooth the transition for our staff at all levels and we work closely with local schools and Universities to recruit and train teachers at the beginning of their careers.

It is an exciting time to belong to Castle Phoenix Trust and be part of something special.  Learning and Teaching is an ever changing landscape which needs passionate, dedicated and enthusiastic professionals who thrive on change and have a thirst for new knowledge.  Teachers at Castle Phoenix Trust open their doors to others, sharing good practice, ideas and resources.  They have a genuine desire to be the best that they can be and we are proud of the learning ethos that is apparent in our staff body.  This is just a snapshot of Learning and Teaching within our Trust.  If you are interested in finding out more, please visit the websites of individual schools.