FAQs

Do learning challenges always have to be cross-curricular?

There is no right or wrong way to organise your learning challenges. The approach and the tools have all been designed so that they can be used in an entirely thematic way, an entirely subject specific way or with mixture of both approaches.

How many learning challenges should there be each term?

There is no answer to this – it depends how the school designs their curriculum. It will also depend just how cross-curricular your approach is. Some schools go for shorter learning challenges whilst others prefer an overarching challenge which lasts longer. What matters is that the learning is stimulating and at the right level so that the children make good progress.

Do you have to have one subsidiary learning challenge per week?

No. You need to find the way that best suits the delivery of the curriculum in your school.

How do the subject challenges help me?

They have been designed to help teachers (i) ensure accurate coverage of the national curriculum, and (ii) ensure that work is correctly pitched and differentiated.

What is the best way to assess the foundation subjects?

There is no essential or best way. If you ensure that your planning is well pitched and appropriately differentiated to include stretch for the more able, you should be able to make a professional judgement as to the level the children are working at. This means that not specific assessments are needed, just a best fit professional judgment.

How do I ensure that the curriculum meets the needs of all children?

This can be achieved in a range of ways. Firstly, ensure that you are adequately taking account of the interests and motivations of the children when planning a learning challenge. Can you answer the questions, ‘How does this learning challenge meet the needs of my class?’. Secondly, use the differentiated planning tools to ensure that your plan for outcomes and tasks at the correct level for different children in the class.

When do I do pre-learning tasks?

There is no right or wrong answer to this. What matters is that you plan for them and take good account of where your children are at. Pre-learning can sometimes be undertaken well in advance of a new learning challenge. There are times when children may need a little pre-teaching before you undertake the pre-learning task. This will be especially the case when the learning challenge is presenting a completing new area of learning. The pre-teaching will spark ideas for the children.

Does reflection always have to come at the end of the unit of work?

Quality reflection needs to be woven throughout the unit of work. Remember to try and ensure that children reflect on both the WHAT and HOW of learning?

Why have an outcome for the learning challenge?

The outcome helps children know what they are working towards and gives meaning to the steps along the way.

How do you assess foundation subject skills?

By using the differentiated planning tools (subject challenges) you can be sure of the level you are planning for. By knowing the level in advance, you can easily make a professional best-fit judgment about the level children are working within.

Where do children’s own questions fit in?

Questions raised by children are critical to ensuring that the learning challenges are meaningful. Children will raise questions via a pre-learning task which will be incorporated into the planning sequence. Ideally, teachers also need to find ways of enabling pupils to raise questions throughout the planning sequence. This takes time and is an indicator of the type of learning culture in the classroom and school.

What are the requirements for short term planning?

This is a school-based issue to agree on. The planning templates on this website help teachers plan for long and medium term. We have not included any specific short term examples as we know that in reality these vary hugely from school to school. Just bear in mind that the ultimate test of quality planning is whether it helps the staff meet the needs of the children in order to raise standards.