Teaching and Learning at Firs

Teaching and Learning at Firs Primary School

Developing and investing in reflective practitioners to deliver excellence in the classroom.

At Firs Primary School we believe that effective classroom practice is an art form utilising key techniques to enhance and deliver outstanding lessons. Teachers at Firs Primary School will require different tools and techniques to ensure children enjoy their learning, understand what they are learning about and ultimately make expected or better progress. 

The job of leaders at Firs Primary School is to further develop these teaching techniques; provide guidance on new and effective strategies and further guide a teacher on how to use these techniques and strategies more effectively in the classroom – ultimately improving the culture and climate for learning within the classroom and the school. 


  • Improve the quality of Teaching and Learning at Firs to ensure we can effectively deliver and embed our curriculum vision.
  • Provide high quality CPD to develop the skills and knowledge of our teachers; providing a consistent approach to staff development.
  • To ensure staff have access to resources deeply rooted in an evidence based research approach.
  • To use an instructional coaching model to avoid teachers ‘wasting their time’ in trying to reinvent the wheel.


Our vision for Teaching and Learning is rooted in high expectations and an unconditional belief that every child can achieve and succeed according to their unique abilities. We believe in challenge, engagement and deep learning (mastery). This is promoted through careful curriculum planning, modelled examples of practice and the use of responsive teaching through planned and purposeful checking for understanding. A positive and stimulating learning environment ensures behaviour for learning is central to our vision, as we strive for a warm and productive classroom climate. We carefully plan assessment to ensure we develop retrieval and schema to build on learning and make connections between subjects.  Finally, we explicitly plan for the delivery of Reading, Talking and Vocabulary in all subjects and this underpins our approach to teaching and learning at Firs.


Firs Foundations of Effective Practice

Firs Foundation of Effective Practice ensures we have a whole school approach to delivering our curriculum vision.  The Foundations provide staff with a learning model to ensure we deliver lessons based on research evidence, the Foundations we model our Teaching and Learning on:

Foundation 1: Culture and Climate.

Foundation 2: Checking For Understanding.

Foundation 3: Explaining and Modelling.

Foundation 4: Reading, Talking and Vocabulary.

Foundation 5: Curriculum Planning.

Foundation 6: Retrieval and Schema building. 

Please click here to access Firs Foundations of Effective Practice.



Firs Primary Teaching and Learning Growth Model

The WHMAT places improving and maintaining the highest quality of teaching at the very heart of providing a good education. Firs Primary School prioritses continuous professional development for all teachers.  To support and develop staff we are committed to the WHMAT career pledge and ensure Professional Growth targets are effective and purposeful.

Firs coaching structure.

See it – identify the gap in practice.

Name it – name the change in practice.

Do it – study and practise over and over.

To support this structure:

1. Pre reading material on identified practice. When teachers read up on content, prior to trialling this in the classroom, they will make stronger connections and strengthen the learning. The WALKTHRUs PDF documents and video links will further support staff to understand the research.

2.Coach support and reflection. Teachers will have the opportunity to share their initial research with their designated coach – to reflect and then develop next steps. Teachers will work through the PDF resources and video links to identify how they will adapt the five steps approach into the classroom.


– Attempt: run through the approach within the classroom.

– Develop: add any additional details or changes to improve this practice.

– Adapt: spend longer on key steps and do not worry if it doesn’t always work.

– Practise: put the adapted practice into the classroom again.  If this is going to be embedded in the classroom teachers will need to review and evaluate the success and ultimately the impact on improved learning.

– Test: the designated coach will review and reflect with the teacher.   


Firs coaching focus:

The coaching focus at Firs will cover a range of activities teachers need to develop their pedagogy.  This is not an exhaustive or definitive list, however, all areas will be supported by evidence based research to support a teacher to develop key areas:

  1. Behaviour and Relationships.
  2. Curriculum Planning.
  3. Explaining and Modelling.
  4. Questioning and Feedback.
  5. Retrieval Practice – building schema.

The school provides staff with CPD resources using the WALKTHRUs package (Tom Sherrington).  The resource pack provides staff with research presentations, videos, trainer notes and a book tailored to the development areas identified above. 

Providing time and space:

All staff will be provided with additional time to research, develop, practise and review.  The development points will never be more than two points during a Half Term period to ensure staff are not overwhelmed.  All staff will be provided with a designated coach to support them further and allow for reflection and professional dialogue. 


Providing networking opportunities:

All staff will be provided with the opportunity to work with other teachers within the school to share and develop practice.  Staff at Firs have the opportunity to work with WHMAT Leaders for Teaching and Learning, alongside other teachers within the WHMAT Academies.


Please click here to view the Teaching and Learning Guidance Document


If you wish to find out more about Teaching and Learning at Firs please contact Miss S Hartshorn – DHT.