Our approach

Our definition of learning


We believe that learning has been achieved when a permanent change in long term memory has taken place. This acquired knowledge then becomes prior knowledge and, once activated, can be used to support and connect to new learning.


In our daily lessons, teachers and teaching assistants use formative assessment and the principles of cognitive science as tools to improve student learning and achievement. We use formative assessment to help students understand their work. We use the principles of cognitive science to help children develop deep and long lasting memory of their learning.


Cognitive science


We take advantage of the cognitive benefits that

  • Explicit instruction
  • Retrieval practice
  • Interleaved learning
  • Spaced practice
  • Cognitive Load Theory
  • Dual Coding

can bring to learning. We use insights and best bets gained from robust research evidence to inform our long, medium and short term planning, together with delivery of lessons.

Professional learning for staff is also planned and delivered using the same principles.


Formative assessment


To help children make sustained progress in their learning, practitioners at HBJS use five key strategies sourced directly from the research findings of Professor Dylan William and Paul Black:


1. Clarifying, sharing and understanding learning intentions and criteria for success.

We help the students to understand their learning and share with them how they can be successful in each lesson.


2. Engineering effective classroom discussions, activities and learning tasks that elicit evidence of learning.

We use a range of effective techniques to find out what the pupils know and how deep their understanding is.


3. Providing feedback that moves learning forward.

We work with pupils to provide them with the information they need to better understand problems and solutions. We believe that effective feedback not only improves a learning task, but also develops the learner.  


4. Activating learners as instructional resources for one another.

We ensure that pupils get involved with each other in discussions and working groups to help improve everyone's learning.


5. Activating learners as owners of their own learning.

Pupils are taught how to evaluate the impact of their work, act on feedback and to reflect on their successes.