Quality First Teaching… by @ASTSupportAAli


Here is the PP I went through with my colleagues back in 2015, linking them to this post with the aim of giving them some ideas of how to turn QFT into practice.

(Thanks to people from my Personal Learning Network whose images/ideas I have read and encapsulated into this presentation!)

This blog is to support the post I have written about Pupil Premium students. In it I will discuss some top tips for.. raising the achievement of Disadvantaged Pupils: Naturally, these suggestions/ideas apply for ALL students.


This is a write up of the document I am sending out to all staff to help assist in our major priority in line with our most recent Section 5 Ofsted report. (I blogged about that here.)

Dear Team,

As you are aware our key groups of students are:

  • Pupil Premium & Pupil Premium Plus- PP
  • Free School Meals- FSM
  • Special Educational Needs- K/S

Our big change:

*We have decided to make it clear to all Pupil Premium/FSM students that they will be known as a Premier Pupil here at ___________ School. We will provide a personalised page in their planners. Invite all parents in to explain our support. The students will also become aware of what they are entitled too and what they should expect,*

With this in mind… quality first teaching is what all students need…

Top Tips:

These are based on the Education Endowment Foundations toolkit’s top six areas that make the most impact for secondary schooling are:

  1. Feedback
  2. Meta Cognition
  3. Peer Tutoring
  4. Reading Comprehension Strategies
  5. One to one Tuition
  6. Homework

(Click here for John Hatties Table of Effect Sizes- these differ somewhat to the EEF toolkit.)


The effect of poor teaching is more damaging to a Disadvantaged student.


  • Feedback can be written or talked through with your students.
  • When marking your books, please place your PP/FSM/SEND student’s book at the top of your pile. (Not necessarily an idea I would advocate now.)
  • Always expect excellence in effort. Praise this effort and not only attainment.
  • Check your students can read your writing.
  • Use your student’s name in their feedback.

Make your feedback…

  • Developmental/Specific

Make feedback about how to move the students learning forward.

Do not focus on mistakes as much as what the student needs to do to achieve higher. Acting upon the feedback with DIRT time is also really useful.

Being specific is about using praise and highlighting where/what warranted the praise. It is better to mark one or two pieces of relevant work in detailed than all class work completed.

  • Demonstrates Improvement

When marking ensure you reference the journey of learning the students has been on.

Mention earlier work and how the student has improved.

Use the words ‘Not yet.’

  • Formative

Monitoring student learning to provide ongoing feedback is powerful. Giving regular updates on their progress as opposed to an end of year test is helpful.

Look through their books before lessons.

  • Encouraging

Linking praise to specific outcomes is important.

Always strive to raise the self esteem of these students.

Do not overuse the terms, ‘well done.’ ‘Great work.’

  • SPAG

Teachers should all mark for Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar. It is essential that all teachers highlight and make this a priority in their feedback. Again, focus on how to improve errors rather than isolating mistakes.

Meta Cognition:

Essentially this is about making the process of learning, how to learn explicit in all lessons. It is the ability for students to know what learning means and how best to do it.

We also need to understand the student’s perception of what hard work means to them. Studies should students with more grit; determination and resilience outdo students with higher IQs.

Teaching students about the principles of deferred gratification is also useful.

Make Meta Cognition…

  • Explicit

Teachers should explain and model the strategies being taught so students understand what they are learning.

Skills and knowledge should be taught in an intertwined fashion.

  • Transferable

When teaching these skills of learning how to learn are explained and reinforced in and out of lesson it is most effective; tutor time, extra curricular activities, 1:1 sessions and so on.

When teachers reference how the skills being taught can be applied to other subjects students will engage more with the task. If they do not feel it is an isolated method of learning they are more likely to receive the journey better.

  • Valued

Students will focus more on lessons and their learning when they realise how the skill they are being taught is useful more than in the long term.

By making learning tasks relevant and accessible to every day contexts can prove extremely useful.

  • Relationships/Language

Effective teaching pays attention to motivation and self-esteem.

Understand the background the students bring with them to their lessons is vital in ensuring they achieve.

Creating links with parents/carers is of extreme benefit. Ensure contact is made for positive achievements too.

Reading Comprehension Strategies:

These are strategies that are designed to help students to focus, read, engage, understand and access text. These are both in and out of the classroom. It is fundamental that the work is carried out in tandem.

  • Literacy and Numeracy across the curriculum

Maintain the whole school drive to improve literacy and numeracy access across the curriculum.

Continue the use of the Onion and Purple Pens of Progress.

Ensure the subject audit is completed for Numeracy.

Ensuring students can access text/numbers is a collective responsibility.

  • Extended Writing

Build into your current curriculum extended writing tasks irrespective of your subject. Provide feedback as stated above.

Reduce the number of worksheets students have to complete.

Are you providing enough extended writing

  • Literacy Interventions/Reading/Number Ages

Use the literacy interventions report that are sent out. Use their expertise.

Check the SEND register for the students with these difficulties.

Ensure your activities are relevant to the students reading/number ages.

  • Hand Writing

Expect excellent effort and presentation from all students.

Peer Tutoring

Peer tutoring includes a range of approaches in which learners work in pairs or small groups to provide each other with explicit teaching support.

  • Tutor Groups/Academic Mentoring

Link your PP/FSM/SEND students to ‘other’ students in your vertical tutor groups.

Set up mentors with current PP sixth formers?

Get your students involved in the Cheney Heroes programme with Humanutopia.

Tutors to continue their effective work with tutor time academic mentoring. Log any concerns with attainment and progress on SERCO and let colleges know.

Ensure students know you and others are monitoring their attainment for their benefit.

  • Seating Plans

Where do your disadvantaged students sit? Are they seated next to others? Or Higher Attainers? If so why? Keep your seating plans fluid, keep all updates/changes in your SPOT folders.

  • Responsibilities

If your disadvantaged pupils are not attending your lessons then think about what responsibility you can give them? Make their attendance important.

Provide a role for your disadvantaged students in engaging them/averting poor behaviour.

  • Information Advice and Guidance

Jason Davis is Cheney School’s Careers Advisor- however; make sure all students are given information advice and guidance that is consistent from everybody, which includes you.

Do not pass a student on to somebody else that is need of some advice and somebody to talk to. (Usual safeguarding rules apply.)


Homework refers to tasks given to pupils by their teachers to be completed outside of usual lessons.

Ensure homework is…

  • Well Planned

This is a long-term task; however it is imperative that homework is built into the series of learning.

Homework should be set as per the Cheney Agility Master PowerPoint template. I.E as your third slide in your presentation. Therefore should be set towards the start of the lesson.

Homework should not be seen as a bolt on.

The tasks set for homework should ideally be built into lesson tasks.

Flip the learning. Ask students to use homework as preparation tool for the lesson. Check out www.cheneyre.edublogs.org as an example.

  • Times

Ensure you stick to the homework timetable. Overloading students with more than 1-2 hours of homework a day can cause a detrimental effect on students attainment.

Providing too much time for homework is unhelpful.

Long term projects or homework with choices should be carefully planned for.

  • Feedback/Supports Attainment

Ensure all homework is graded and marks are provided.

Students feel very aggrieved when extended projects are not seen as supporting attainment of their overall summative assessment point level.

  • Barriers Considered

Have you ensured that students can access all the required resources for the homework set?

Do the students have a desk? Quiet space? Internet? Computer? Paper? Colour Pens? If not, provide these. See Amjad for help!

These tips and ideas will have a positive effect on all students, irrespective of their need or disadvantage status. I really hope that we can all be consistent with these.

Quality First Teaching

Follow me on @ASTSupportaali


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