The Fallibroome Academy > Teaching and Learning


What students like in lessons:
Areas we are developing

Personal Learning and Thinking Skills These skills are already embedded in our programmes of study and our extra-curricular activities but we want to make them more explicit to students and their parents.

Starting point

We want to make Fallibroome Academy an exciting place in which to learn for our students and our staff. To achieve this, we are committed to seeking out the best ideas from around the world to help us to improve and refine our practice and create an effective learning culture. Our aim is realise a sense of self-worth and personal growth in every member of the learning community which underpins our values of Trust, Respect, Optimism, Service and Creativity.

The school has a very strong commitment to engaging in action research and is a member of the Campaign for Learning and the SSAT’s System Redesign group. Professor David Hargreaves describes how we should be aspiring to creating the conditions for deep learning which has three components:

  • Learning to Learn (for us this is Cooperative Learning)
  • Assessment for Learning
  • Student Voice

He lists the following as the characteristics of the deep learner and our work has focused on developing these skills in our students and our staff.

The Deep Learner
  Independent Self-directed
Critically reflective Characteristics of the Deep Learner Highly developed decision-making skills
Self-motivated Collaborative Self-aware

Things that have inspired us

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

TED Talks forum.

Cooperative Learning

Cooperative Learning is an approach which has a proven track record of improving the attainment and engagement of all students and narrowing the attainment gap between the most and least able. It is based on the use of a number of structures suitable for any content which incorporate cooperative student to student interaction as an integral part of the learning process. It supports much of our other work in Assessment for Learning and Behaviour for Learning.

For more information about Dr Spencer Kagan and cooperative learning, click here.
For more on the link between Cooperative Learning and AfL, click here.

Assessment for Learning

Our approach to Assessment for Learning has been greatly influenced by our review of the international research on how best to assess students and how best to use that data. Our philosophy is summarised below:

  • Feedback should avoid using grades whenever possible.
  • Feedback must give clear guidance as to where improvement is needed. Opportunity must also be given to make these improvements
  • Students need to know the assessment criteria and be given the opportunity to work with them.
  • Praise the effort or process, not the innate ability or talent.

For more on how we use AfL, click here.
To download a pdf of Inside the Black Box, click here.

Wild Tasks

Professor Guy Claxton defines wild tasks as being rich, extended, challenging, relevant, real, responsible, collaborative and reflective.  We are using these criteria to inspire curriculum change.

For more information, click here.

Professor Charles Desforges

In his NCSL paper, On Learning and Teaching, Desforges discusses the major drivers of attainment, the characteristics of successful learning settings and lost learning opportunities.  He poses the questions below:

  • How can we promote maximum learning progression at points of transitions in schooling?
  • How can we fashion teachers’ assessments of pupils’ work so that it makes maximum impact on their progress?
  • How can we better teach pupils to use and apply the knowledge and skills we inculcate in them?
  • How can we avoid the metaphor of ‘work’ for classroom activity and ensure that more engagement with the curriculum is about learning and demands cognitive and metacognitive activity?’

To download a copy of Desforges’ paper, click here.

Behaviour for Learning

Our work on behaviour for learning has been influenced by the philosophy and teachings of Bill Rogers which we have personalised to meet the school’s individual needs. It is designed to equip staff with the framework for maximising teaching and learning and minimising disruptive and unacceptable behaviour.

For more on Behaviour for Learning, click here.

Professor Carol Dweck

Carol Dweck has done a lot of very influential research about student motivation focusing particularly on the idea of belief in a fixed or growth mindset and the implications this has for encouraging or hindering learning.  She also investigates the how to give effective praise to promote the growth mindset. 

For an article about her work, click here.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.  The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).  Their website makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free and its mission is spreading ideas.  We especially like the Sir Ken Robinson clip on creativity and the Benjamin Zander, Shining Eyes clip but there are so many to see.

For more information, click here.

For information about the TEDx conference held at Fallibroome, click here.

Dr Jonathan Sharples

Dr Sharples gave a really interesting presentation to staff about how we continue to learn throughout life because of brain plasticity and also discussed the role of executive function and neuroscience discoveries in learning.

To download an article about executive function, click here.
This clip from is a useful source of ideas on how the science of the brain can influence learning.  To view School Matters - Neuroscience, Schools and the Future, click here.

Investors in Excellence

Investors in Excellence is a professional development programme aimed at releasing and maximising potential. There are specific programmes aimed at teachers and students.

For more information, click here.

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