We hope you'll use this page of the website to view the school through our lens. Following a rigorous review of Teaching and Learning at City Academy Whitehawk, this document has been produced to explain how we achieve excellence for our children. These themes and statements have been drawn out of open discussions with all stakeholders: students, families, staff and our Local Academy Board.
Positive, communication-rich relationships at the heart of the school community
- Children are happy to attend school and look forward to engaging in the safe, respectful relationships they have with their peers and their trusted adults.
- All staff understand the background of all children and their families; our structures and systems are designed to nurture potential and mitigate state-defined disadvantage.
- Children feel safe at school and engage proactively with the structures in place to promote their safety through our Welfare and Inclusion provision.
- We have a team of specialists on site who COLLABORATE effectively to keep all children and families in the CAW community safe. Families and their children feel that there is always someone to talk to and that these highly trained professionals listen.
- The skilful allocation of roles and responsibilities promotes communication with the school as families understand that are quality professionals in specific posts and we nominating a key professional as a single point of contact in many cases.
- Supportive and robust communication is evident on all levels; transparent and supportive dialogue enables all stakeholders to feel informed and involved. Home/school dialogue is maintained through an accessible fortnightly newsletter, daily phone calls to families when behaviour thresholds are met and letters tracking attendance concerns.
- We hold 3 Parent/Carer Consultations a year to make sure families understand their children’s performance. Families are invited to 5 additional Parent Engagement Events to celebrate their children’s EXCELLENT learning, engage in activities and build relationships within the community.
Achieving A Culture of Excellence
All children are supported and challenged to achieve ‘personal excellence’
- A weekly assembly is held on a Monday morning to foster ‘highest expectations for all’ - a CAW Quality is launched, defined and children and staff agree “what it looks like” and Quality certificates are awarded the following week.
- A shared pursuit of EXCELLENCE motivates children to achieve our many incentives and rewards: weekly CAW Quality Certificates, Maths Fluency Badges, Word Millionaire Awards, Reading Raffle Tickets, Shiny Pencils, Pen Licences.
- We instil leadership and responsibility through rewarding EXCELLENCE by appointing children to the roles of librarians and prefects. Annually, children from Year 5 and 6 are democratically appointed to the position of CAW Ambassador, wearing a different uniform, visibly setting the standard for their peers in all aspects of school life.
- Our stunning learning environment promotes EXCELLENCE - our corridor displays showcase ‘best ever’ outcomes through high quality, published writing from all children.
- Children are taught to identify ASPIRATIONAL personal targets and are supported to track their progress and reach their ‘personal best’, for example in planned weekly assessments. Children are challenged to achieve their personal best in all subjects - a school-wide understanding of our CAW quality ASPIRATION and planned opportunities for children to reflect on their own progress provides them with a good understanding of ‘what’s next?’ (for example a higher score in a weekly quiz).
- Excellent Attendance is expected and is celebrated by a weekly awarded class trophy and a half termly reward party; personalised awards are given when goals are achieved. Where attendance is of a concern, it is meticulously tracked and action is taken to ensure the family feels well supported in making improvements in order that their children are safely in school and engaging in learning.
A Respectful Environment
A culture of positive behaviour for learning is promoted
- All children understand the importance of demonstrating exemplary behaviour and are motivated by success and praise that this leads to. In line with school protocols, extrinsic motivators such as certificates, learning tickets (awarded with explicit praise of the CAW Quality in evidence), Reading Raffles, weekly class celebrations and half termly house celebrations incentivise modelling our CAW Qualities.
- Clear, consistent behaviour systems are in place and to good effect, therefore the vast majority of children demonstrate EXCELLENCE and high engagement in their learning. Reasonable adjustments are in place so that the vast majority of children can access whole class teaching successfully.
- All staff receive expert training, and specialists are appointed, to ensure that children access learning in the classroom with their peers. Rigorous assessments are used to identify whether learners with SEMH needs are eligible for Nurture Provision at the start of KS1 to develop classroom readiness.
- We have achieved a ‘Culture of Error’ in classes through highly effective whole class teaching; all children are valued and are supported to participate actively with a feeling of security, confident that their contributions will be respected by everyone. This is achieved through teachers using pedagogical devices such as ‘cold calling’, ‘control the game’, ‘probing’, ‘no opt out’, ‘say it again better’ and then using our Behaviour for Learning protocols to challenge any behaviour that discourages the participation of another learner.
- Positive Mental Well-being is promoted through the mutually respectful relationships we foster with children and their families, and well-being is reinforced through assemblies, PSHE curriculum, our KM a Day run, use of our well-equipped Inclusion Room, Sensory Rooms, Nurture Classroom, SEND Base and personalised ‘Zones of Regulation’ protocols.
Highly Effective Teaching
School staff are deeply invested in achieving the highest possible standards of teaching for all children
- Skilled adults have been trained to teach extremely effectively and they learn how to apply strategies that enable them to understand ‘who needs what when’. Our teaching is underpinned by the principles of challenge, engagement and feedback.
- We insist upon the consistent, frequent, effective use of evidence informed teaching approaches such as ‘my turn, your turn’, ‘think, pair, share’, ‘cold calling’, ‘control the game’, ‘probing’, ‘no opt out’, ‘thinking aloud’ and ‘say it again better’ to ensure that all children participate actively in every lesson, many drawing on the skills they have developed through our effective Speech and Language provision since joining the school in EYFS.
- Through studying our most effective teaching, we have created Pedagogy Guides for every subject area; these enable all teachers to emulate ‘teaching that is as strong as the school’s best’ (Ofsted, 2018). Shared, highly effective, evidence based teaching approaches are used by all teachers consistently across all subjects and this enables all children to focus on what is being learned, not how it is being taught. Staff value the opportunity to learn from these documents and evaluate their impact on children’s progress.
- Teachers structure their lessons skilfully, effectively sequencing ‘lesson components’ (eg. Teacher led phase / independent learning time) to ensure all children get what they need from the teacher when they need it. Teachers use attainment information accurately and formative assessment skillfully to ensure that groupings within lessons are fluid.
- Modelling from highly effective teachers, who plan with challenge and support for all attainment bands, ensures that children emulate strategies successfully using our ‘First, Next, Last’ approach. This approach is the vehicle for everything our teachers do and say - it is prominently displayed on interactive whiteboard slides, flipcharts, washinglines, resources and personalised timetables.
- Lesson phases are timed effectively so that children understand what’s expected of them and it is clear what they need to do to be successful. Through structuring lessons effectively, teachers can adopt our ‘splits’ methodology – providing focussed teaching for some children whilst others practice independently.
- Teachers design a range of learning tasks for every lesson, catering for all attainment bands and learning needs. Scaffolding is reduced as the level of challenge increases and children develop the CAW Quality of RESILIENCE and EFFORT. Children are taught how to access and use resources and tasks independently during the appropriate phase of the lesson.
- Classrooms are filled with ‘live’ displays and flipchart-washing lines that demonstrate the expected learning strategies, enabling children to achieve excellence in their exercise books, making rapid progress.
- Children develop RESILIENCE and achieve EXCELLENCE by being taught to respond to feedback. Assessment opportunities in every lesson enable children to ‘reflect and perfect’, using a Purple Pen to improve or extend their learning.
- Provision for children who require additional support is highly effective and they are well supported by well trained, caring staff who understand their needs.
A Rigorous and Broad Curriculum
Our ambitious and rigorously planned curriculum is taught effectively and leads to exciting learning opportunities
- A broad, balanced, rigorous curriculum that is sequenced deliberately and delivered effectively provides opportunities for children to achieve new knowledge, skills and understanding. Curriculum design in every subject demonstrates deliberate knowledge sequencing to ensure progression in taught knowledge, skills and understanding. Curriculum progression has been skilfully mapped out in Yearly Overviews, Medium Term Plans and Weekly Plans. Children feel pride in their success across all subjects, knowing and remembering more and producing work that is ‘better than my best’.
- The school prioritises the effective teaching of reading and therefore children in every year group are supported and challenged to make rapid progress; a high-fidelity approach to Read Write Inc practices is embedded from Nursery to Year 2 and in Key Stage 2 children study one novel per term, with teachers skilfully designing opportunities for daily reading and daily comprehension. All subjects are equally important but if you learn to read excellently, you can read to learn anything.
- Through our Reading Curriculum and Speaking and Listening Provision, there is a strong daily emphasis on developing language. Vocabulary is explicitly and implicitly taught in every curriculum area through consistent use of strategies such as ‘my turn, your turn’.
- Effective ‘pre and post’ assessment practice enables teachers and subject leaders to ensure that children are making rapid progress from their starting points, achieving ‘personal EXCELLENCE’.
- The breadth of our curriculum is prominent in classrooms with display boards allocated to ensure the prominence of all subjects.
- We are proud of our multi-sensory teaching: in order to achieve meaningful engagement rich with curiosity and excitement for all children in all curriculum areas, teachers skilfully design or select stimuli, ranging from immersive ‘stunning starts’ to high quality CAW-crafted texts.
- Educational Visits are planned with links to our curriculum and with a view to exploring and understanding our locality, East Brighton and the South Downs.
- We focus on ‘Next Phase Readiness’ and therefore we plan meticulously for children’s progress between not only curriculum units but key stage and life after CAW.
- Sports Premium Funding is skilfully allocated to enhance the quality of the school day, ensuring that a wide range of extra-curricular activities support children to develop skills within their specialism and develop new skills and interests in other disciplines.
- Our amazingly well-resourced school enables us to ensure effective Personal Development for all children; they have access to a superb curriculum which is designed with our premises in mind. Our children have planned use of our gym, stage, music room, forest school, sensory garden, environmental area with pond, two running tracks and a superbly stocked library. The school delivers an effective computing curriculum, taught through the use of 100 Chromebooks. Every year group, Y1-6, has access to 50-60 iPads and children are taught to use these as a resource to support themselves with their classroom learning in other subject areas (these are also used to take quizzes on their home reading and multiplication tables).