Proud to be an FMAT Academy

Parental Letter – 11/03/2024

11 March 2024

Dear Parents/Guardians,

We wanted to write to you to share the focus of the Teaching and Learning assemblies this week, so that you also receive the key messages that are delivered to your children.

In previous communication, we have informed both yourselves and the students at Erdington Academy that we have adopted Direct Instructional teaching as the basis for our approach to teaching and learning across school, which we refer to as the ‘Teaching for Excellence’ model.

We were really interested in looking at the Science of how students learn and wanted to ensure that we incorporate this in our teaching, so that students are learning in the most effective way. The diagram below shows how we learn:

The key principles we have adopted are as follows: a Do Now task; an effectively planned explanation; modelling to ‘make sense’ of the learning; questioning – to check for understanding; and deliberate practice followed by an element of ‘feedback’.

This week the focus of the assemblies was to: revisit the Science of learning; remind students the reason why they complete ‘Do Nows’ at the start of the lesson; and explain how they help to improve their long term memory. The ‘Do Now’ task is the first thing students will be asked to complete whenever they enter a lesson, it is usually a retention test, or an activity based on prior learning to encourage knowledge retention over time.

We started the assembly looking at how we learn and the importance of prior knowledge: ‘The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows.’ Ausubel, 1968, we explained that:

  • Prior knowledge is a key determiner of what we can learn.
  • We make sense of new information by connecting it with what we already know.
  • When new information enters long-term memory, it needs to be connected to existing knowledge in order to securely build mental models.


So, in other words, for us to move information to our long-term memory, revisiting learning helps us to remember.

We then looked at how this links to ‘Do Nows’ and why we do them:

  1. It allows their teacher to check students’ prior knowledge and understanding.
  2. It allows students to practice retrieving information.

We then considered the research shows us that ‘Memory is the residue of thought.’ Daniel T. Willingham – this means that the more students practice the more likely they are to recall knowledge more quickly and retain it for longer.

We finished the assembly by linking how poor punctuality to lessons impacts on attainment – we have been analysing our data and we can see that there is noticeable correlation between outcomes and punctuality – if a student is late to the lesson, they miss out on the Do Now activity which is essential element in the Science of learning and are therefore more likely to make less progress and achieve lower grades. Furthermore, students were reminded that if they were late to lessons then their Ethos card would be signed, and every third signature results in a 20-minute detention after school. You can further support your child by having conversations with them about the importance of punctuality both to school, and lessons to ensure that they get the best possible experience at the Academy during their time here.

Thank you for all the support you give to us as an Academy.

Yours sincerely,

Simone Mabbett

Assistant Principal

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Easter - April 2022