St.Ambrose High School

North Lanarkshire Council

Learning & Teaching


An improving school is one, which accepts that Learning and Teaching is at its heart and is its core business. For the Catholic school these guiding principles are the cornerstone of a holistic approach to education, which values the development and formation of the child, in partnership with parents and other agencies. With this in mind learners can achieve their potential intellectually, socially and spiritually as active participants in our society.


Colleagues would agree that the characteristics, which underpin the philosophy outlined above, should form the key features of our school’s policy on Learning and Teaching. These characteristics should include generic approaches to Learning and Teaching such as:
· Good planning and preparation
· Varied approaches to learning and teaching which stimulate students to learn
· Inclusion and flexibility
· The encouragement and promotion of enthusiasm for learning
· The implementation of strategies to promote positive teacher-pupil interactions
· The encouragement of students in taking responsibility for their own learning
· Assessment to enhance learning

While this list is not exhaustive it is self-evident that inherent in these characteristics is the need to establish a school ethos which values Learning and Teaching and the self-evaluation process as a means to improving effectiveness. Such an ethos is based on the fact that we value our pupils and believe that we can assist them in their journey of success. We believe that we can help them become better human beings, better citizens and better learners. We seek to achieve these targets through the development of positive relationships within and out with the classroom. Specifically in the classroom our task is to enhance the knowledge, which our children have, to nurture the understandings, which are part of their being, and to help them grow in wisdom, which they will need throughout the rest of their lives.

Learning and Teaching are the bricks upon which success in education is built. By achieving excellence in Learning and Teaching we can be assured that our relationships in St Ambrose will be characterised by respect and fairness. We can be further assured that our pupils will achieve the success of which they are capable. Moreover, we can be optimistic that our pupils will develop as individuals whose maturity is obvious in their self-confidence, in their pride in the school and in their own achievements.
One of the guiding principles in updating our Learning and Teaching policy is to ensure that it will be of practical assistance in the classroom and that it will prove to be a valuable asset in meeting the stated aims.

The aims of our policy on Learning and Teaching in St Ambrose should be consistent with the aims of A Curriculum for Excellence.
Therefore, our task is to:

1. Provide the highest quality of education and promote high expectations of achievement

2. Provide active learning experiences

3. Adopt a consistent approach to support attitudes and policies in
keeping with the school’s ethos

4. Produce problem solvers who are ICT efficient

5. Produce cooperative, collaborative citizens

6. Encourage all pupils to develop their abilities to the full

7. Encourage our pupils to take responsibility for their own learning

8. Encourage social awareness and respect for different cultures and beliefs

9. Develop in our pupils an understanding of the teaching of the church

10. Nurture the development of the whole person

11. Meet the needs and aspirations of all pupils

12. Recognise and celebrate success

So that ultimately we produce:

· Successful learners
· Confident individuals
· Responsible citizens
· Effective contributors

Working with Partners

Where learning and teaching is excellent, all partners work together to apply key aims outlined in the rationale. But teachers have a pivotal role. When pupils are asked they tend to focus on how teachers treat them. Teachers and pupils should have high expectations of one another in order to maximize the opportunities within the learning environment. Parents have a central role to play in supporting key aspects of the learning process and ensuring their children consistently work towards achieving their potential.


Successful Learners are those who:

· Are aware of how they learn and take responsibility for their own learning both in class and at home
· Are prepared for their lessons
· Set high but realistic targets and regularly review their progress to strive for improvement and raise achievement
· Use all resources available and recognise opportunities to extend their knowledge and skills
· Are self-motivated, enthusiastic and acknowledge that better behaviour leads to better learning
· Interact with peers and teachers


Successful teachers are those who:

· Plan and evaluate their lessons and ensure that all learners are challenged at an appropriate level
· Create a classroom atmosphere which promotes high standards of attainment and behaviour
· Have high but realistic expectations of all learners
· Use a range of methodologies
· Effectively manage resources (including ICT), in catering for the learning and individual needs of the pupils
· Support pupils to devise their own learning targets
· Promote social interaction and good manners
· Promote mutual respect to ensure a positive learning experience for all
· Communicate and share information regularly with all partners
· Use all means of assessment
· Encourage, praise and value the contributions of all learners and regularly recognise success


As partners they:
· Support efforts to ensure quality educational experiences within a positive learning environment
· Cooperate with all other partners in encouraging their children to achieve their potential
· Communicate freely with key members of staff to discuss all aspects of their child’s progress in learning and pastoral needs
· Acknowledge that the behaviour of their children can influence the learning environment

Principal Teachers (Curriculum):

· Ensure effective learning and teaching takes place within the department
· Support the professional development of all teachers within the department and include them in the process of development planning
· Through self evaluation, continue to improve standards
· Monitor classroom practice and identify development needs in order to support the changing role of the teacher

Pupil Support staff

will increase pupils’ engagement with learning by:
· Monitoring attendance and timekeeping
· Cultivating a positive ethos as regards discipline, effort and attitude
· Developing the PSHE programme which promotes target setting, the value of homework and the importance of study skills
· Working with the home to achieve positive outcomes in all aspects of the pupils’ development

Additional support staff

Will work in cooperation with teachers to:
· Extend support in a number of areas to support pupils in the classroom
· Tailor resources
· Cultivate a network of support
· Provide feedback as required

The Senior Management Team

will manage learning and teaching by:
· Supporting staff and developing positive working relationships
· Monitoring the work of staff and encouraging high standards
· Highlighting examples of good practice and recognising achievement


Self-evaluation of the quality of learning and teaching is a fundamental responsibility of all teaching staff. The section below should be consistently used by all of us and kept in our planners, [possibly one for each class], to reflect on how we teach and how learners learn. We need to record, evaluate and discuss the impact of the following with colleagues and learners to highlight both good practice and development needs.

In Learning…….

· Our key learning aim is to improve the quality of learning experiences for all pupils in the school
· Young people who are motivated, enthusiastic and well behaved will benefit from their classroom experiences
· Opportunities to work independently, in pairs and in groups will result in pupils taking responsibility for their own learning and enable them to co-operate effectively
· Learners need to be working on tasks which match their needs, and learning at an appropriate pace
· A learning environment which builds on pupils’ prior attainment and abilities and leads to improvements in learning
· Resources, including the use of ICT, should be used to stimulate pupils
· Learners need to be challenged and supported as the need arises

When Teaching…….

· Teachers share the content, aims and purposes of lessons with pupils.
· Explanations, instructions and directions are expressed clearly
· A range of teaching approaches is used including the skilful use of questioning
· Opportunities for pupils to learn from one another are planned
· Interactions involving teacher and pupils are evident
· Praise and feedback are used effectively
· Teachers and pupils have high expectations
· Pupils are actively involved in learning
· Homework is regular and appropriate
· Teachers differentiate effectively
· Staff show care and concern for individuals
· The criteria for success is shared with learners

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