We are committed to ensuring that all teaching at Townley provides our students with the highest quality learning experiences. Our learners are fully engaged with and constantly challenging themselves to discover more about the world around them. At Townley, we wish to instil a love of learning in our students from the moment they arrive at the school and for this to continue for the rest of their lives.
We have a dedicated Learning Team who support academic staff with professional development and provide advice and feedback on learning and teaching. The Team also encourage collegiate sharing of best practice as well as providing information on current educational issues and practices.
We introduced the Outstanding Teacher Programme (OTP) at Townley during academic year 2013/14, and since then it has grown to accommodate newly qualified teachers with our Building The Capacity To Be Outstanding Programme. Over 36 members of academic staff have completed the programme which enable teaching staff to reflect on their practice and find ways to become consistently outstanding practitioners.
As a top performing Grammar school, our High Achievers policy is supported by current academic research and an absolute commitment to promoting scholastic endeavour to every student in our school community at every stage of their learning.
The research of Carol Dweck supports our belief that every student, adopting the right mindset and in a challenging, stimulating environment, has the ability to go beyond their best:
“Study skills and learning skills are inert until they’re powered by an active ingredient: belief. If you target that belief, you can see more benefit than you have reason to hope for.” (Dweck: The Effort Effect, Stanford Magazine)
We have therefore adopted the term ‘High Achiever’ rather than using ‘Gifted and Talented’, to support our promotion of the philosophy of Growth Mindset; we believe that ‘potential’ for every student is limitless rather than determined by an innate ability. We recognise and celebrate the fact that, as a grammar school, all of our students are highly able and as such we have adopted a whole school strategy for acknowledging and supporting High Achievers. High Achievers at Townley are therefore identified on two levels: academic success and progress made through effort and commitment.
An important element of the work of the Learning Team is ensuring that students’ voices are heard with regards to their experiences in the school.
Every tutor group from Year 7-13 are invited to send 2 representatives to the Teaching and Learning Committee where any concerns they have with regards to teaching and learning are raised, discussed and any relevant action taken.
The group also meet when the school scrutinises specific areas, such as departmental reviews. The group discuss the issues with their forms and complete questionnaires before coming together to debate good practice and any areas for development that falls within the scope of the review. Their findings form a vital element of the review process.
Townley is committed to ensuring all staff have personalised and high quality professional development to enhance the teaching and learning in the school and beyond. There are weekly opportunities available for staff to lead and participate in training. The Learning Team provide up to date information on educational developments and innovations through the Learning bulletin, as well as providing a forum for staff to share best practice. The Townley Learning Conferences allow opportunities for educational experts and colleagues from other schools and educational backgrounds to meet with Townley staff and share ideas.
The Research Team are a team of teachers from a variety of departments who meet for one term every year and focus on an area for development within teaching. Past projects have included changes to Ofsted inspections and growth mind-set. The focus for 2015 has been on the Team researching and delivering a 10 minute CPD training session on an area of their choice. Session focus have included topics from assessment to mindfulness.
A new initiative that has been introduced to support sharing of best practice and staff development is the introduction of Open Classrooms where academic staff are encouraged to visit each other’s lessons and feedback on excellent teaching.
Townley Grammar offers the highest quality teacher training programme to all student teachers. We have worked closely with a number of University Providers for many years and as a result, all Subject Mentors are highly experienced and fully qualified ensuring trainees find their experience enriched by the support of a dedicated team who can offer guidance in specialised fields. As a school we have mentored students from Kings, Goldsmiths, Christchurch, UEL and Greenwich Universities and have recently secured links with the Institute of Education. We currently train approximately 12 PGCE and Schools Direct students each year. Townley Grammar offers trainee teachers the chance to work in a friendly and innovative school where they are able to learn the rigors of being a successful teacher. The Teaching & Learning team oversee the training of all student teachers and NQTs and ensure that the training offered is of the highest standard. Full NQT and student teacher training programmes are offered both at Townley and various other schools within the consortium; these sessions run alongside the training offered in-house and prove fundamental as students prepare for Qualified Teacher Status.