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Teaching and Learning at Stafford Grammar School

At Stafford Grammar School we believe in ‘encouraging excellence’. That means finding the best in every child. It means helping them to find out what they are really passionate about and then giving them the tools to pursue it.

As Director of Teaching and Learning at Stafford Grammar School, the usual assumption is that my main focus is on examination results. As important as examination results are, my passion is making sure that students are enriched by high-quality learning experiences and leave Stafford Grammar School with the ability to think for themselves. I do not want our students to leave us with a set of impressive A-levels but without the thinking skills and confidence to make a real success of their time at university and beyond.

Knowledge expands so rapidly that, as educators, we must equip our students with the skills to cope with the pace of change. We want our students to develop the confidence and study skills to master new material and ideas. We want to teach them to manage information. A modern school leaver is likely to change jobs several times. Much of the knowledge taught in first year technology degrees is often out-of-date by the third year. We are preparing our students for careers that do not yet exist.

We place great significance on the importance of feedback because it is the most significant way of moving learning forward. Students are expected to engage with their teachers’ feedback and to act upon it. For us, responding to feedback is about setting a standard of excellence. We value students’ mistakes: mistakes are not only permissible but desirable. Students need to make mistakes - they are the most effective way to learn.

The quality of teaching at Stafford Grammar School is of a consistently high standard and we aim to foster a spirit of enquiry in our students. Teachers take teaching seriously and we spend time sharing great practice with each other. We employ both effective traditional methods and keep up-to-date with the latest thinking about teaching and learning. We encourage students to participate fully in lessons and share ideas. The ability to talk about difficult concepts is such a powerful tool in gaining access to the best universities.

There can be a wide range of needs and learning preferences within any Year group. That is why we introduced a student forum with the Director of Teaching and Learning to explore learning issues and ideas with students.

We encourage our VI Form students to read around their A-level subjects. In order to access the best courses at the best universities, students need to explore their subjects beyond the limits of an A-level syllabus. As a start, we have provided a booklet called ‘Books…every student should read’, which you can access on this page.

Stafford Grammar School aims to provide a real education for life. Part of this is the foundation of excellent examination results. In addition to examination success we want our students to develop a genuine passion for learning and be equipped with the tools to continue the learning journey throughout their adult life. We strive to help our students to learn about learning and develop effective study habits through our ‘Life Skills’ and VI Form tutorial programmes. By developing an understanding of how to think, research, evaluate and criticize, Stafford Grammar School students will be in a strong position to make the most of every opportunity in their lives beyond school.

Mr L H Thomas

Senior Teacher – Director of Teaching and Learning