Great teaching is the most important lever schools have to improve outcomes for their pupils.’ 


We believe that by focusing upon quality first teaching (QFT) and utilising the key principles of Rosenshine within this, we will maximise the learning and progress of all children within Merritts Brook Academy.

The key characteristics of QFT are:

  • Highly focused, well sequenced lessons with clear objectives
  • High demands of pupil involvement and engagement with their learning – high expectations of all pupils  – no glass ceiling
  • High levels of interaction for all pupils – creating a variety of opportunities for pupil participation
  • Appropriate use of questioning, modelling and explaining on the part of the teacher – within lessons and through marking and feedback.
  • An emphasis on learning through dialogue, with regular opportunities for pupils to talk both individually and in groups.
  • An expectation that pupils will accept responsibility for their own learning and work independently.
  • No cap on learning
  • Fluidity of grouping and levels of scaffolding
  • Marking / assessment will inform planning and pupil progress – using red marking to consolidate and green marking to extend
  • Regular use of encouragement and authentic praise to engage and motivate pupils – through stickers, stamps and recognition in Friday’s celebration assembly.

We reward with the following certificates

Writer of the week

Mathematician of the week

Question of the week

Star of the week

Resilient learner of the week

Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction

  1. 1.Begin a lesson with a short review of previous learning

This might be a review or questioning of vocabulary, pictures, photographs or a previously learned concept. It may take the form of additional practice to learn facts and skills where overlearning is required to develop automatic recall. Effective teachers review knowledge that is essential for the lesson. At Merritts Brook we use Recall Robin , short quizzes and knowledge organisers to ensure that pupils have regular opportunities to support recall and to develop long term memory. Our learning objective and structure of all lessons ensures that building upon prior learning is an essential feature.

  1. 2. Present new material in small steps with pupil practice after each step: Only present small amounts of new material at any one time, and then assist pupils as they practice this material.

Our working memory can only hold a few pieces of information at once – too much information overloads the working memory. The most effective teachers present only small amounts of new material at one time, and they teach in such a way that each point is mastered before the next point is introduced. They check pupil’s understanding on each point and reteach when necessary.

At Merritts Brook we structure our lessons so that the Learning Objective is broken down into 3 success criteria  – this supports the ‘chunking’ of the learning. 

  1. 3. Ask effective questions and check the responses of ALL pupils: Questions help pupils practise new information and connect new material to their prior learning.

Questions provide necessary practice and allow a teacher to determine how well material has been learned and whether there is a need for additional instruction. This can also help to uncover misconceptions. Teachers at Merritts Brook Academy also ask pupils to explain the process they used to find the answer. Teachers might ask pupils to:

  • tell the answer to their partner;
  • summarise the main idea in one or two sentences or repeat the procedures to their learning partner;
  • write the answer on a mini-whiteboard and hold it up;
  • explain how the answer was worked out
  • raise hands or raise hands if they agree with an answer someone else has given. 
  1. 4. Provide models: Providing pupils with models and worked examples can help them learn to solve problems faster.

Teacher modelling and thinking aloud while demonstrating how to solve a problem are examples of cognitive support. A worked example is a step-by-step demonstration of how to solve a problem or how to perform a task. The presentation of worked examples begins with the teacher modelling and explaining the steps that can be taken to solve a specific problem. The teacher also identifies and explains the underlying principles for these steps.

Modelling forms a significant element to all of our lessons at MBA. Modelling is also used when marking pupils work  – modelled examples are used to consolidate and extend learning.

  1. 5. Guide pupil practice: Successful teachers spend more time guiding pupils’ practice of new material.

After presentation of new material, teachers guide pupil practice. This might consist of the teacher working the first problems on the whiteboard, serving as a model for pupils. Providing additional models, more time for checking for understanding, asking questions and correcting errors and more time having pupils work out problems with teacher guidance supports pupils acquiring new skills and increasing their knowledge . Pupils are then better prepared for independent work. Some pupils might receive further guided practice as part of a guided group.

Guided practice features in all lessons at MBA. Each class has a Teacher and Teaching assistant every morning , this enables groups to be identified that can receive guided practice. A guided session maybe to consolidate or to extend and deepen the learning taking place.

  •  6. Check for pupil understanding: Checking for pupil understanding at each point can help pupils learn the material with fewer errors.

Teachers frequently check to see if all pupils are learning the new material. They check for understanding by asking questions, by asking pupils to summarise the learning up to that point, or to repeat directions or procedures. This helps pupils to make connections with other learning in their long-term memory and to alert the teacher to when parts of the material need to be retaught.

  1. 7. Obtain a high success rate: It is important for pupils to achieve a high success rate during the classroom instruction.

MBA uses low stakes , high frequency checks with pupils in order to support the development of schema and committing knowledge to long term memory. When check ups are low stakes, this enables pupils to feel a sense of success , in addition the frequency of recall in itself enables greater success.

  1. 8. Provide scaffolds: the teacher provides pupils with temporary supports and scaffolds to assist them.

Scaffolds are a form of guided practice. They include modelling the steps by the teacher or tools, such as cue cards, word banks, checklists to guide or evaluate their work, or a model of the completed task against which the pupil can compare their work. Others may be in the form of prompts – such as question stems to help pupils ask questions while they read or the opportunity to ask the teacher to think aloud when solving a problem. Teachers should carefully consider who needs what type of scaffold, rather than regularly provide the same scaffold to all. At Merritts Brook we use pre-tutoring, enable tables , Third Space on line tutoring and small group intervention to scaffold where necessary.

  1. 9. Require and monitor independent practice: Pupils need extensive, successful practice in order for skills and knowledge to become automatic and embedded in long-term memory.

Independent practice is necessary because a good deal of practice (overlearning) is needed in order to become fluent and automatic in the recall of knowledge or a skill. Independent practice should involve the same material as the guided practice and pupils should be fully prepared.

Our learning is structured in such a way that within every lesson all pupils work independently. For instance in mathematics, part of every lesson is for the children to develop fluency which then enables them to access the reasoning and problem solving. The repetition and over learning allows knowledge to become embedded and automatic which in turn enables the children to apply their learning to different learning contexts.

  1. 10. Engage pupils in weekly and monthly review: Pupils need to be involved in extensive practice in order to develop well-connected automatic knowledge.

Pupils need extensive and broad reading and extensive practice in order, to develop well- connected networks of ideas (schema) in their long-term memory. When one’s knowledge on a particular topic is large and well-connected, it is easier to learn new information and prior knowledge is more readily available for use. For this reason, we provide opportunities to retrieve knowledge at the start of lessons, weekly reviews as part of homework, knowledge organisers for revision and end of unit assessments.

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