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St Thomas More Catholic Secondary School

St Thomas More
Catholic Secondary School

Learning questions:

All lessons will usually start with a question to get the students thinking and to establish that we are embarking on a quest for new knowledge either of new subject content or deepen our knowledge of how to successfully apply skills within a subject.

The learning scientist’s metacognitive approaches to learning 

All of our teachers have received extensive CPD on applying the theories of the learning scientists within their lessons.

The approaches are:

  • Spaced practice
  • Interleaving
  • Retrieval
  • Concrete examples
  • Dual coding
  • elaboration

Reading protocols 

All teachers have received training on reading protocols pioneered by the English department. These research based approaches are designed to maximise the impact of reading in class.

  • Any extended writing to be read out loud by the teacher only;
  • Pupils are encouraged to follow with their finger or a pen;
  • Pupils could be given something to think about while reading, but shouldn’t be expected to record anything on first reading;
  • Re-read key parts or words;
  • Pause between key ideas for students to process;
  • Use prosodic features to “performance read”;
  • Gloss tier-2 vocabulary on first reading;
  • Gloss tier-3 vocabulary on a repeated or second reading of the whole passage;
  • Allow students time to respond to what they’ve written verbally or written (can be questions);
  • Re-read where possible.  This can be by students in the class;
  • It is effective when students reading stand up;
  • Reading for a whole lesson is worthwhile and valuable- not all learning requires a written outcome.

EEF Five–a-day approach to quality first teaching to support students with SEND, but good practice for all students 

All teachers have received training on the evidence based EEF Five-a-day approach to teaching and the principles that underpin quality first teaching for all students, but are known to be particularly effective for students with SEND

  1. Explicit instruction
  2. Cognitive and metacognitive strategies
  3. Scaffolding
  4. Flexible grouping
  5. Using technology


All teachers have been trained on how to build oracy activities into their lessons and how these support reading and writing development.

Teachers have been encouraged to use the ABC approach:

  • Agree
  • Build
  • Challenge


All teachers have received training on narrowing the vocabulary gap in their lessons. The research that explains the central importance of extending students’ vocabulary has been explained and some practical approaches have been shared.


At STM we are conscious that one size does not fit all when it comes to marking policies and effective feedback. Therefore each department has the agency to develop their own marking and feedback policies and to monitor their effectiveness and adapt as necessary. Some whole school training on effective strategies, such as whole class marking, have been offered and these approaches have been adopted by some departments.