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Parklife - 2nd February

It's been great to be able to take students out on school trips again! This week was the turn of some of our Year 7's. They've been up to Liverpool on their KS3 Art trip and we are looking forward to hearing all their stories upon return this evening. Next week we'll be taking some of our Year 8's on the same trip and hope they have equally as good a time checking out the art and culture scene!

With half term fast approaching we are busy preparing our end of term celebration for Spring 1 and look forward to sharing the students successes with you next Friday. They have been working really hard on their social curriculum and many students will receive their Habits for Success and Star badges this term. In the run up to this, we've been hosting some hot chocolate reward get togethers with our Year 9 students that have displayed excellent SPA Habits this term.

In this weeks edition we are pleased to share some detail behind 'Teaching and Learning' at Sewell Park Academy...

As a staff body, we are determined that our students at SPA are exposed to teaching that is research-informed. Rather than using the latest ‘fad’ within education, we aim to make sure we are using strategies and techniques that are based upon the ever-increasing amount of evidence that we have in education.

All staff members use the ‘Great Teaching Toolkit’ as our framework for improving teaching

practice. This is based on an evidence review from June 2020 which reviewed existing

research studies and frameworks linked to the improvement of teacher effectiveness. The

four priorities for teachers who want to help their student learn more are:

1. understand the content they are teaching and how it is learnt

2. create a supportive environment for learning

3. manage the classroom to maximise the opportunity to learn

4. present content, activities and interactions that activate their students’ thinking

As well as all staff attending online courses in these specific areas, they all incorporate

structured collaboration with colleagues, as well as activities to plan, implement and evaluate

pedagogical approaches in our specific context. Student surveys can provide valid measures

of classroom environment and teaching practices (eg Marsh and Roche, 1997; Gates

Foundation, 2012; Spooren et al, 2013). Students can respond to questions relating to their

classroom experiences in each of the four dimensions from the Model for Great Teaching.

The surveys give students a voice in teaching and learning and the feedback they generate

can be a powerful tool for teacher learning – offering additional insight that allows teachers

and leaders to personalise professional development. All feedback about a teacher’s

practice is confidential to that teacher, but allows them to prioritise the areas which they can

learn more about.

If you have any more questions about Teaching and Learning please drop us an email to

We break for half term on Friday 11th February and return for Spring 2

on Monday 21st February.

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