Teaching and Learning

Teaching and Learning

Our curriculum is carefully planned to ensure pupils have access to a broad range of learning experiences whilst enabling them to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to progress to their next stage in education, training or employment. It is sequenced to build upon and extend prior learning, and to ensure that, over time, pupils can remember what they have been taught and apply that learning to new contexts. To support this, we have implemented some learning principles across the academy.

The Learning Journey

Provided at the beginning of each unit of work, the Learning Journey makes explicit to pupils what will be learned, why it is important and what will come next. It makes explicit to pupils the sequence of learning and the skills which will be developed. This also provides pupils with an aide-memoire, enabling them to quickly find work they have completed on a particular topic should they want to apply it to a new concept.

The Drill

This is an activity we use at the beginning of every lesson, revisiting prior learning to check pupils can remember what has been previously taught and focuses on key learning points identified within each subject’s curriculum plan.


We use both formative and summative assessment that supports learning by: testing the knowledge at each identified point in a sequential manner that allows progress to be made and informs planning.

Demonstrate and Connect

Lessons regularly end with a “Demonstrate” formative assessment activity which pupils complete independently. This enables teachers to check pupils’ understanding and identify misconceptions. The following lesson begins with a “Connect” activity, where, in response to the “Demonstrate” task, pupils improve their knowledge and understanding by completing one of three differentiated activities.

Summative Assessment

Pupils in Years 7-10 are formally assessed in the core curriculum subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, Spanish, French, History and Geography in the Autumn and Summer terms. These results are reported to pupils and parents and are used to identify gaps in knowledge which must be closed.


To support our staff at Darton Academy to deliver consistently effective lessons we use evidence based strategies proven to successfully improve student knowledge, understanding and skills. Our staff are regularly given opportunities to share best practice. Colleagues disseminate ideas during Tuesday briefings and the focus is always on practical ideas to engage students and develop pedagogy. We have a rich and diverse training programme for staff development and teaching and learning is always at the forefront.

We are committed to working collaboratively across and beyond the Trust to develop our approach.

Quality Assurance

We have a rigorous quality assurance programme involving leaders at all levels.  Included in the process are lesson drop-ins, teacher voice, student voice and book sampling alongside formal lesson observations.