Mastery Approach to Teaching and Learning

The Mastery-learning model forms the basis of our approach to teaching the National curriculum (implemented in 2014). This allows us to spend more time going into depth about a subject instead of rushing through the objectives. Previously Primary Schools had too many objectives to cover. This meant that some children were left with large gaps in subject knowledge because the concept they had just learnt was not consolidated.

At Glenfrome we focus on ensuring that children have an absolutely solid, concrete understanding of subject knowledge and skills. We have the confidence to take learning at a steadier and deeper pace, ensuring that no child is left behind, as well as providing deeper and richer experiences for children who are working above the national expectation for their age.

The National Curriculum puts the focus on all children achieving what is expected of their age group and not going beyond this. Evidence shows that children need to be able to understand a concept, apply it in a range of situations and then be creative to really understand it. Simply going beyond their age group does not guarantee they understand something, it just means they have heard it.

Mastery-led learning means that no child is taught content from the year group above them. Instead they will spend time becoming really confident with the objectives for their age, applying and being creative with new knowledge and skills in multiple ways. 

While we continue to make the transition from the old curriculum to the new national curriculum there will be some children who need to be taught objectives from a previous year group in order to access the learning for their own year group. This may also be necessary for any new arrivals to our school. Teachers and learning support assistants will use pre-teaching sessions in the morning and afternoon to do this in order for us to quickly close the gaps and ensure that your child can learn the objectives for their year group.

In short, this means working towards:

  • Teach less, learn more: less teacher talk and more evidencing of learning and progress
  • No child left behind: all children are enabled to keep up every day.
  • Space and time to experience and apply, with all children entitled to additional support to ensure they do not fall behind or to go deeper
  • Understanding real life applications wherever possible to make learning relevant and not abstract; nothing should be taught without a purpose.
  • Catch up: some children will be given additional time and support to learn concepts that they have not yet grasped from previous year groups

All of this means that you may see a change in the way we teach and assess your child, most notably will be in how we organise your child’s learning and how we report their progress to you.

We will be doing more of this:

  • Teaching all children in class, together, most of the time
  • More verbal feedback during lessons, shorter comments in books and more ticking of correct concepts
  • Spending longer on one idea
  • Giving children who need it, additional support over shorter, more intense periods, like a day or week.
  • Daily or weekly mini assessments with a few formal tests over the year

And in mathematics lessons the mastery approach means we will:

  • Allow more time for discussion and pair work
  • continually assess children’s understanding using multiple hinge questions
  • provide support or scaffolding when needed
  • present challenges through ‘Star Questions’ and develop understanding through expert questioning

There will be less of this:

  • Formal marking with lots of written feedback and highlighting
  • Covering lots of ideas in one week
  • Formal, long-term interventions to boost them out of class
  • Separating children into ability groups
  • Formal testing of children weekly or termly

The structure of the school day has changed to further support the use of the mastery approach to teaching.

The timings for our school day are now as follows:

8.45am: School gates open and children can go into class.

8.55am: School day begins. 

8.55am - 9.20am: During early morning work children will be responding to feedback on their work or reading with an adult. Interventions also take place during this time to prepare groups of children for the learning that day. We call this pre-teaching.

9.20am - 10.00am: Maths

10.00am - 10.20am – Assembly and Collective Worship. On Wednesdays we do whole school singing. 

10.20am -10.35am: Break time. 

10.35am - 11.00am: Maths

11.00 – 11.10am: Handwriting or phonics

11:10 – 12:10 English with a writing focus

12.10 - 1.10pm: Lunch time. A number of clubs are run at this time. 

1.15pm - 3.15pm: A daily reading lesson followed by Glenfrome Topic work - cross curricular lessons including PE and Computing. A range of interventions also take place in the afternoon e.g. Speech and Language, additional support for children whose first language is not English. 

3.15pm: End of the school day. Some after school clubs run at this time

This approach to teaching and learning is seen as excellent practice. It is promoted by the government and is seen as the best way to deliver the new national curriculum. For your child to maximise all the learning opportunities that are offered in this approach please make sure they are at school every day and that they are sat in their classroom ready to learn at 8:45.

Further details about our curriculum, assessment and marking can be found on this website.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to talk to your child’s class teacher or Phase Leader.

School Office

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Tel 0117 377 2247
Email: glenfromep@bristol-schools.uk

Glenfrome Primary School, Cottisford Road, Eastville
Bristol, BS5 6TY

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